Spring 2016: End of Semester Reflection

Have you accomplished your Mid-Semester goals? How have you accomplished those goals?
Since I work until June 30th, I am still working towards my Mid-semester goals. They are on the way!

Have you completed your work with your clients and closed all loops? Are you happy with your results with the work you completed this semester?
I have completed my work with several clients who I’ve worked with for some short term projects and closed the loop. One particular client who I worked with recently was extremely happy! It really made my day to find her appreciation letter in my inbox.

But, for my long term project with Professor Williams for the Liberal Arts branding, we have not closed the loop yet. We will work until the end of June!

How are you going to prepare for next semester during the Summer Break?
I will not be returning to college for the next semester, but I will prepare for my career/job search during the summer break. I believe it’s crucial for me (and everyone else) to enjoy a short vacation before going back to work. Thus I will travel a little bit BUT still have some time to work on my portfolio. The summer time is the perfect time! So don’t take it for granted!

Spring 2016: Mid-Semester Reflection

Any skills or techniques you have learned during the first 6 weeks?

Since I have graduated and will leave Faculty Commons in June, I will talk about my takeaway from working here. Aside from the technical stuff, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of building relationships. In the past month, three of my clients from Faculty Commons actually contacted me for freelance work. One of these projects is working with Professors Liou-Mark and Blake on a new website design for REU-CREST. This design project will be funded by the National Science Foundation.

In addition to that, I keep in contact with many of my professors. In COMD, the professors are usually really good in encouraging us to apply for internships and attend industry events. One professor had asked me to do a demo/workshop in the beginning of his class about a month ago. Of course I said yes; I felt so honored! Just a week after, he offered me the opportunity to have an interview/meeting with a UX lead from Google!

Thus, I encourage my fellow student designers to always keep a good relationship with their professors and clients. You never know what they could do for you in the future and vice versa. Building a network is important!

Here’s my advice:

  • be professional in communicating and your work as well
    (email etiquette, in-person meetings, creative process, etc.)
  • be organized and realistic with project plans/schedule
  • be reliable so you can build trust in the relationship
  • be patient and understanding–clients are usually not designers!
  • be sure to close the loop and say thank you

–Mandy Mei


Training Day 5

Wednesday, January 12, 2016

What did I Learn?

Today was mentally my toughest day. I think its because it started with me running out of my house frantically in order to get here on time. Meeting with the Dr. Ferrell and Professor Lundstrem was a great opportunity for me to introduce myself professionally to clients and to speak in a manner where I was eager to work with them. This to me was the most important lesson today; being ready for everything.

What were my challenges?

Time management is becoming evident in my life now especially because I have multiple projects waiting on me this coming semester. Learning how to work on projects while sending emails and meeting with clients isn’t easy. I commend Ms. Jordan and all the other members here at FC who’s doing this with ease.

How did we help each other?

Arianna and Mandy had to read a few of my emails before I sent them to make sure they were professional and clear. They are well appreciated!


Training Day 4

Wednesday, January 11, 2016

What did I Learn?

Today I learned how to use the Sketch app which was taught by Mandy. I’m really excited to use the app because of its user friendliness. I also learned, after many revisions, that proofreading copy is VERY important. When I was designing the Guidebook I focused more on the design part, rather than the entire finished piece which includes copy. I learned that its also my job to make sure the copy makes sense.

What were my challenges?

To be honest, today was challenge free. My jitters were absent from me!

How did we help each other?

Today we communicated very well. I not only listened to critique, I also gave critique. In a design team, each voice counts, friendly critique makes good designs.

Training Day 3

Wednesday, January 7, 2016

What did I Learn?

Today I learned how to do follow ups with clients. I had to thoroughly reply to them and ask questions about previous emails. I was introduced to websites that will inspire my creativity and I also learned how to pick up print jobs and do deliveries.

What were my challenges?

Today was pretty steady and not too difficult, but if I had to name something challenging, I would go with communication via email. I believe that I’m getting better at it, but I still need practice.

How did we help each other?

Arianna and Mandy again helped me to compose emails and taught me little shortcuts in InDesign.

Training Day 2

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What did I Learn?

Today I was given my first project and was invited to meet with the client to discuss the problem and the solutions. I’ve worked on freelance projects before where I met with clients but in informal settings. Today, I experienced a more formal setting where I had to approach the client in a professional manner. Although I wasn’t hesitant to ask questions, I was conscious of what to ask and when to ask.

What were my challenges?

My challenges today was writing emails as professional as possible. I used to think I knew how to write emails until today. I’m aware that every word matters, as well as the details. This was probably the toughest thing today.

How did we help each other?

Mandy and Arianna was by my side all day and they helped me write emails, gather data in our client meeting and prepare the project contract for the client. We assisted each other in coming up with the creative process for todays project.

Fall 2015: Reflection

1.  Project Management 
Besides a few mini projects, I mainly worked with Dr. Julian Williams (program director of the Liberal Arts and Sciences) to design a brand identity for the program’s students. We had an initial meeting to discuss this brand new project that has never been done before. Then, I established the deliverables of the project, made drafts, and did numerous edits to perfect the content and user experience. Now it is being presented to student leaders, at the Honors Scholars Poster Presentation, and to the GenEd committee. This project is in its beginning stages and will continue on to the next semester (Spring 2016).
Because I had to manage many elements/parts and different disciplines in this project, I believe that it improved my project management skills.
2. Design Skills/Techniques 
A. When I started designing mock ups for the web application, I was planning to use Adobe Illustrator, which was very difficult and was not designed for that purpose. Kevin (FC webmaster) advised me on using the program Sketch. I learned the ins and outs of Sketch in no time, and it has made web design much more easier. This program is definitely something I could take away with me when I graduate and work in the industry.
B. I’ve learned Sketch this semester and I am putting it to use in my projects for portfolio class. Also I practiced making presentations, and used the same template to present my other classes’ projects.
3. Work Relationships 
Explain how you communicate and build relationships with the following:
A. Design Team
The design team is here to always support each other. When William needed to put the Honors Scholars Poster Presentation brochure to print, the team (me, Kevin and Professor Jordan) helped to proofread, edit and properly export files for print. As we go through the process, we constantly communicate via text message/email to make sure everyone involved is in the loop and know what’s going on. I am sure if I ever need a favor, any team member would not hesitate to assist me.
B. Clients
Professor Williams and I worked closely together for the Liberal Arts branding project to happen, whether it’s via text, email or in-person. I just made buttons with the logo on it, and decided to surprise him by putting it in his mailbox without telling him what it is. It never hurts to give your clients a little surprise now and then, or say thank you when you appreciate something they’ve done for you.
C. Coworkers in other FC offices (Grants office, AIR, etc.)
Ms. Burke needed something designed the same day for the Holiday Breakfast recently and it was time sensitive. She reached out and I put my current work aside and quickly made some designs to send to print. Whenever possible, I try to help the other offices with technical/design work.

Spring 2015: Community Support

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I had a difficult time this semester. I had multiple projects on my plate including classwork, freelance jobs, extracurricular projects, and client work at Faculty Commons. I will be graduating this June so I decided to take all the Senior classes–Senior Project, Internship, Portfolio, and 2 others. Half way through the semester, I found out that it was a big mistake because I couldn’t cope with the stress and I ended up dropping 2 of these classes. In the end, I learned 2 important lessons–say “no” when you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’d like to thank all my friends, especially those in the Faculty Commons Design Team. Professor Jordan and the design team students would constantly give me advice and feedback, and the mental support I needed (whether I decided to continue on with my Senior Project or to drop it).

This semester at Faculty Commons I had the opportunity to work with the English department to brand their courses, workshops, and their hallway displays. I was lucky to get the opportunity and freedom to be creative with the display case designs. So I went with paper art. All the projects before this one required the use of the computer, but this one didn’t. I was able to go hands-on. Cutting the script letters that I drew was probably the most challenging. Second was having to carry all the materials, go back and forth, and putting all the large paper up. I couldn’t have done it without physical assistance and mental support of my design team. All I had to do was just ask for help. Not only that, but I also found a new passion/hobby.


–Mandy Mei