After working professionally with WPC for roughly about 2 and a half months, I feel that I have gained an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in terms of dealing with people in a professional manner. School is considered to be the training ground where you cultivate the skills that you will eventually use in professional settings. An internship provides you with a safety net that allows you to make the initial professional mistakes that are corrected early– especially concerning future professional endeavors so that you’re adequately prepared for beginning your career. In the time spent at WPC, I’ve learned how to communicate with clients and teach them some of the tips and tools behind designing. I’ve also gained basic phoning skills and the ability to adapt to talking to people on the phone and in person when trying to pitch effectively. A new routine that took me a bit of time to adjust to is now a routine that I gained confidence in completing and skills that I can utilize when promoting myself and creating a quick pitch on the spot to grab attention. I still have a lot to learn, because that’s what life is about, learning but the more time I spend with WPC the more I know I will pick up skills that will benefit me in the long run.
Author: Odalys Punch
One of my projects at WPC required me to work with a partner on her personal project of creating a website that was a self started web zine and also doubled as a portfolio site for her because she wants to start a career in interface design. This website was supposed to feature up and coming artists of all mediums and have a user interface that was aesthetically pleasing as well as user friendly. This collaboration was a little hard to manage, since I had to take into consideration that this was dealing with another person’s project, so I had to explain why certain design choices did not work as well as others but she was very stuck in specific ideas that normally as a client I would just agree with, but because this would also technically double as her portfolio, I knew that she would eventually need to be aware of certain design elements and how they work with each other. Working so closely with her personality was more difficult than figuring out the site with her, but the site has progressed in a very attractive and functional design. Despite the struggles I felt in working with her, I did gain a method of talking and communicating in a professional way, instead of getting angry or saying anything that may be out of place in a professional setting.
In the small amount of time at WPC I feel like I’ve grown not only as a designer but also as a person. I feel that while I am lucky enough that my supervisor allows me to work on projects that play up my strengths as an Illustrator. She also gives me assignments in basic typographical design as well, which I am not ashamed to say that it happens to be one of my weaker areas in design.
Because this is a professional setting, I adhere to very strict guidelines in terms of communication and deadlines and figuring out the best ways to work on projects with my full attention. I tend to have bad habits during the process of productive work. But I haven’t displayed these tendencies while working for WPC.
Normally, I procrastinate heavily when I don’t like a certain project I’m assigned to or if I don’t feel confident in what I’m doing I avoid it intensely as well until the last minute. Because these assignments are no longer on just my time, I’m much stricter with my deadlines and I’m eager to learn what I don’t know to become a better designer with a well rounded skill set.
I tend to be very hard on myself and deny myself the idea that I’m still learning and that this is only my stepping stone to better things, as long as I allow myself to grow and push myself to do things out of my comfort zone. The work I do a WPC is powerful in the sense that it helps to spread a message of change in society for the unsavory parts of life but also that it’s teaching me that change doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process and I’m learning along the way and changing as long I keep it up and stay motivated. Also it’s just important to take as many breaks needed to stay productive. Nothing good comes from burning myself out, which I tend to do when I leave things up to the last minute.
My time here at Women’s Press Collective is not only helping me create good designing habits but also good attitude toward trying to handle my personal responsibilities in tandem with my professional.
As holiday season arrives closer, the spirit of Christmas has not excluded WPC from its plans. Because for a few specific days in November and December, WPC will be doing their annual gift wrapping table event with Barnes and Noble. It is a sweet event in which volunteers sign up to table at Barnes and Nobles with Women’s Press Collective and wrap the presents the customers have bought at the store for free. This event of course accepts donations of any denomination from the people who wish to donate to WPC but it also gives us a chance to explain to people the mission of WPC and spread our networks by word of mouth.
For this event, we needed really eye-popping sign up lists for people to look at and feel compelled to volunteer for gift wrapping or for talking to the customers about WPC. My project was to create a way for the sign up sheets to be very attractive and cute. By working with limited supplies such as colored card stock and markers, I made lists that I felt would put people in the Christmas spirit.
I will admit that the crafts I did were simple and akin to the projects that you would see in elementary school arts and crafts classes, however that did not make it any less fun and it was a bonding experience for us as my designs for the lists had everyone in the office recalling their sweetest and favorite Christmas traditions. Design isn’t always about elaborate and competitive branding and logos, which I feel that we tend to forget when in the process of design. Sometimes, if a design is simple enough to reach the target audience, that’s how you know whether your design was successful or not
At WPC I’m not always learning designing skills or skills pertaining to what I want to do in terms of my long term career goal. Sometimes I’m asked to help with clerical work such as organizing, jotting down notes and filing certain information regarding volunteers at WPC.
I did recently learn how to help out with phoning at WPC and the process of contacting people who signed up to be potential volunteers and financial sponsors. The way to learning a new skill set is to just be thrown into it but with a firm support to help you feel comfortable and to build the foundation that will later help you to utilize a newly acquired skill. Phoning is an important skill because it allows you to make connections and practice professional interactions with other people as well as help you become more aware of your speech habits when talking.
I learned how to read from a specific pitch tailored for talking to potential volunteers and how to spot adjust, which is being able to improvise the pitch on the spot when the receiver on the other side of the phone may deviate from the predicted responses or how to deal with a person that may speak for longer than expected. There is a term called parity, which explains that a certain number of calls should be made in half an hour because out of 2/3rds of people called only 1/3rd will confirm to the purpose of the call and then they still may not confirm even after that. That is why it is important to achieve a high number of parity- but most importantly, this also shows why it’s important to have a professional and hospitable behavior when dealing with people and networking, because without a trustworthy and intelligent demeanor, people will not agree to helping you out if you don’t know what you’re doing.
One of the projects I received recently at WPC was right up my alley and in the programs I happen to be the strongest in. The task for this job was to create a flyer for an event that was taking place in in St. Francis College in Brooklyn. The event would be a lecture that speaks about the misrepresentation of Latin America in the media. During this project because it played up my strongest skills, I was very confident in the creative process of this project.
I primarily used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in tandem to create a consistent design for the flyer. During this process, I explained to my supervisor the reason for my choices as well as the little tips and tricks to create certain images and effects in the programs. The process behind this design enabled me to think about the color choices, the composition and the typography of the poster— how the color relates to the images and the message, the choice of font and how well the layout makes an interesting composition.
My projects that I received at Women’s Press Collective are related well to activism and bringing attention to the media misrepresentation of countries and events outside of the United States. At Women’s Press Collective we utilize the Adobe Creative Cloud to create content that helps with spreading the political message that people should have a voice to represent the truth in media. Because of this attitude, WPC receives clients that have a strong message that needs equally strong design.
WPC’s information carries through physical print publications and the predominately used program in the office is Adobe Indesign to create the proper layouts for the publication. As primarily an illustrator, my skillset in Indesign still developing and while I can create very basic layouts, I am not very familiar with the interface of the program. My supervisor comes from a background of art, as she had attended the School of Visual Arts based in NYC and has a very good working knowledge of Indesign. She takes the time to teach me and support me as I work through my understanding of Indesign to make it stronger.
One of the projects that I worked on was editing, proofreading and editing stylesheets for one of the two publications — The Guide to Patrons— which was something I had learned but never really expanded upon. This process was a little tedious and tiring as typographical design is something I am not normally used to creating or editing, but my supervisor walked me through everything and my skillset in Indesign became a little bit stronger.
So far my time here at WPC has been so enjoyable. I know that the work culture at WPC contributes to my comfort levels. Since the dress code is pretty lax, I can come and work in easy, breathable clothing such as sweatshirts, which in turn makes it very easy for me to focus on my tasks at hand. I switch my wardrobe up depending on the kind of day it happens to be and that kind of flexibility is great to have, because some days you want to go all out and present your very best and some days it’s more about feeling comfortable with your attire.
The office is in the basement of a residential building. It’s open space with two rooms—one room has all the paperwork and member information while the second room has the kitchen area, bathroom and a large space for the Mac computers. There are wooden bookshelves in both rooms that have the organizations publications, Collective Endeavor and Guide to Patrons, that serves as reference images and information about WPC’s archives.
Lunch is my favorite time during the workday, since typically my supervisor or the supervisor of the day, in case our main supervisor isn’t here, would prepare a lunch for everyone that is always on the healthier side. We have a dining table that is in the larger room and for lunch we would grab a plate, fix our lunch from the options presented for the day and then we would all sit at the table and have casual conversation for an hour. It’s very uplifting because we can all get to know each other in a very informal way that also isn’t intrusive and is respectful of each other’s space. It feels very warm and forms a wonderful feeling of camaraderie, which isn’t a feeling that is often felt in many professional settings. I appreciate the positive energy at WPC and it only encourages me to keep going at full speed and power.
My position here at Women’s Press Collective is considered a design consultant. The reason why I am called that is because of the workflow at WPC,
which is teaching me to partner up with “clients” and explain to them the basic process of how to start designing. This role allows me to not only create design but to teach and present it as well so that I can also review the skills I’ve learned and the process to understand what works and what doesn’t work.
My supervisor’s name is Lisa and her title is Operations Manager, she came up with the partnership process of having me team up with clients and teach them how to operate the basics in the various Adobe programs. This concept was very interesting to me because instead of it becoming the normal relationship between the designer and client, it’s a relationship that allows me to actually fully explain why a specific element in design doesn’t work and to provide alternatives that can teach them an alternative that works for a more functional yet beautiful design.
I found out about WPC through a friend that had previously interned here. She mentioned my name to Lisa and when I called to ask about interning at WPC, I was on the phone with Lisa on the first call. After a brief conversation about what it was that I would be doing at WPC, I was asked if it sounded like a position I would be interested in and I took it in a heartbeat. I was instantly scheduled for an orientation two days later. At the orientation, I was given the extensive history of WPC and how it later became the non profit organization it is today.
In this day and age, design plays a strong role in delivering messages to people and bringing certain topics to light. Design can bring attention to commercial products, events and political statements and agendas. The relationship between design and politics and activism is a strong relationship because without press and media, how will the message be delivered?
Women’s Press Collective, also known as WPC, utilizes the relationship between political activism and design, and also happens to be where I am interning at in order to strengthen my design skills and obtain real world knowledge in a professional setting. It is a relatively small non profit grassroots organization based in New York City. Women’s Press Collective is a private collective organization funded primarily on the donations of sponsors and members with no connections to government owned facilities and/or government funding. Although WPC’s initial influence stems back to the 1800s and protesting the mistreatment of women and low income families who were primarily agricultural and labor workers, the organization was officially founded and named Women’s Press Collective in 1982.
Women’s Press Collective runs an independent printing media, that uses the medium of printing to advertise and spread the message of equal rights for women and misrepresented populations of peoples. The organization does not use social media or big news companies as their medium or strategies to connect as that can grossly misinterpret or censor the true meaning behind the mission of promoting equal rights.
Their client demographic consists of mostly low income workers that have a message to spread but no way or means to send it. By providing education of printing and design to those who wish to spread their message to reach a target audience, they leave WPC with the skillset to continue designing on their own and are also invited to come back to work on their individual projects as well as pass on their knowledge to the next client so that the passage of knowledge is continuous.
My position at WPC is a design consultant, as my tasks are not only towards graphic design but also to teach it to clients in what is called a “design session.” This session allows me to design and explain to the client how to achieve the same results, so that the client is now empowered and given the necessary information to share with others and to continue the design process independently. This of course includes the same process of research, drafting, thumbnails and execution. But adds the element of teaching as well, which helps with explaining design choices and reasons for choosing a specific element to the design.
Because Women’s Press Collective tends to stay out of the spotlight in terms of news reporting and relies mostly on community outreach, word of mouth and publications, they are not mainstream or well known on the internet or in newspapers. There is one event that they are always known for and it garners the most attention, which is their International Women’s Day event. Every year a theme is picked to discuss and an organized speaking event is held to bring attention to the topic. The event is normally held in March and features musical performances, literature recitals and provides a space for women and supporters to show their appreciation and support for Women’s Rights.
For anyone who would like to read more about the international Women’s Day event held by WPC, here is an approved article: http://ourbksocial.com/14133-2/