Learning On The Job

Learning on the Job

My first bigĀ collaborative project has been the companies Annual Report. This document is about 28-32 pages long, which will be produced as a booklet (brochure). The full color document will encapsulate the pastĀ  year, as well as speak to what is coming next. I have been working with the theme to make sure the design conveys it’s idea.

I last shared how the project was going along and where I was. I’m happy to report that I’ve learned some new animation techniques which have been crucial to my workflow improvement!

After creating a few alternative lower thirds, I found a way to create a mask that scales with text! This has been a huge help as I have been manually tweeking and resizing shapes in order to mask text. I can totally skip that now and just type what I want (like a name and/or title), and the mask automatically scales up or down with it.

I discovered this while learning with a coworker. He thought it was possible, but didn’t know how to do it. I did some research and using what I already knew, I figured it out within a couple hours. Now all of my lower thirds have been completed for the project. My coworkers and boss are really happy about that. I hope to use this technique/idea in other aspects within this very project. Learning on the job is very fun, and I can’t wait to learn more.

Collaborative Project

Puzzle Team


My first bigĀ collaborative project has been the companies Annual Report. This document is about 28-32 pages long, which will be produced as a booklet (brochure). The full color document will encapsulate the pastĀ  year, as well as speak to what is coming next. I have been working with the theme to make sure the design conveys it’s idea.

While I will help with the design and layout, I am responsible for video portion that will accompany the online version of the document. I have already begun to film. I am in the process of filming and assembling all the data. I have already worked on some motion graphics and continue to contribute to the layout and design of the overall document.

I’ve created many sample layouts and design. I started off with a mood board, which they loved, and have since moved on to layout. working in a group has been good so far. A few hiccups, but I think that is to be expected. the entire team (4) have been involved, and we normally communicate though email and in-person. We sit very close to one another, so it is easy to just talk in-person, which has mad things very easy.

We’ve been successful as far as timeline goes. We are a full week ahead of schedule so far. We could have been a bit further ahead, but differences of ideas and miscommunication have slowed us down. We have been good on the creative front so far, and hope to stay out ahead. I’ll post updates as to when this is completed.

Video Project Number 2

As promised, here is a drafty of the video.

So, I was finally task to do a semi fun project. This video project will involve some animation, and some film. I will start filming in a few days, and hope to have the project finished by the end of April!

This video will highlight options that are available to qualified members. It’s not only meant to be informational, but will also be used as a selling piece to get members to bring in new accounts/money. I’ll be filming,editing, and animating the project myself. I wish I had other lenses to work with since I’m stuck using a 2.8 18-55mm EFS lens on a Canon 60D, but It’ll be just fine. I’ll be fixing up my workspace on the programs to be as efficient as possible. I also have a small amount of space to work with, so I’ll plan as much as I can to get a decent looking backdrop going. Photography classes are definitely paying off!

To better manage this project, I’ll get started creating the Intro animation along with researching some background music. I’ll hopefully be able to gather some audio effects as well. I’ll then move on to some of the more nuanced animation/graphics, as well as lower thirds. I want everything to be as cohesive as possible.

I’ll update as soon as I can, I’ll be able to post the video once complete, as soon as I get approval to do so. In the meantime, I still have to finish up one of my other projects like creating forms (yes, a drag, but it pays)!

New Project!

So I recently pitched a new project to my employer. It seems as though I have to create my own web projects, so I suggested that I can do an online version of the companies annual report.

My manager liked the idea, but the company is currently giving precedence to print version and some videos. I am allowed to create a prototype for now, and if we have enough time and resources, they will go through with the project!

As for the project itself, I think I’ll be going with a one-page design. I want to keep it simple and highlight important milestones and numbers. I’ll being using bootstrap, maybe v4, but most likely v3 since I’m most comfortable with it. I’ve been getting more hands on with Javascript lately and so will be incorporating some more functionality to my projects.

I’ve been learning some more Javascript and actually some Python programming. I think I’ll be picking up the language sometime soon, but for now I’ll continue with Javascript + jQuery. I’ll hopefully use some AJAX and JSON with some of the data that I might end up using. I can’t wait to do more. I’ll update this blog soon with where this project ends up going.

Self Evaluation

In evaluating myself, I thought I’d take into consideration the following: Work Ethic, Collaboration, Skills, Organization, and Time Management/Efficiency.

Work Ethic
I believe my work ethic has been on point so far. I have not strayed away from my projects, and have been productive despite having to work in a less than optimal work environment. With construction going on and having to move to various places, I don’t feel very comfortable. I also am located in a very hot former conference room.

I’ve worked well with others. The team is small and I mostly am in contact with them, nobody else. We send emails out and I have even contributed to our weekly department meetings and in other meetings with project stakeholders.

I have kept up with what’s been thrown at me so far. Outside of having to get a few peeks at my design/code books from time to time, I’ve been on top of everything.

The projects I’ve worked on so far have not required much in organization. What has been kept organized have been my projects. Mainly, prioritization with the checklist of tasks I have. My plate hasn’t gotten too big as of yet.

Time Management/Efficiency
I believe this category goes hand-in-hand with the last. Outside of being on time, I have completed every task according to my deadlines. I’ve been efficient even with all these snow days we’ve had in the last few weeks. I have cut it close on a few occasions, but I’ve managed to get things out on time.

Overall, I do have room for improvement. I can do more, and better, once I get “comfortable”. I feel awkward at times. It could be because I’m slightly introverted. Group collaboration can be better as well, as I think I do come off rather “straight-forward”. I’ll try to turn it down a bit. I give myself a A- so far.

Self evaluation is very helpful. You can keep yourself in check. Taking a look at yourself with a critical eye is probably normal for most designer, but you have to look past just your design skills. Your soft skills are just as important as your hard ones. In doing so, you’ll present the best version of yourself at all times.

First Web Project/Interaction pt 2

Project complete!

So, my last post about working on the intranet of the company I intern at, is “complete”. It’s complete in the sense that the tasked I was asked to do was completed: I gave the front page a face lift.

I was also able to add some javascript in the form of a jQuery accordion interaction piece. I added a read more link to cut down articles posted to the front page. Once clicked, the rest of the articles appears and everything below it slides down. I had to go back to one of my old books, luckily I normally keep them all.

Javascript & jQuery

Javascript & jQuery

That book, Javascript & jQuery by Jon Duckett, had a few little code snippets I modified and overhauled. I also use it from time to time to freshen up on code. I really like that book and totally recommend it to anyone working on front-end web development.

I want to and can add more interactivity to the intranet after I work on another upcoming project. I think I’ll continue to work on the theme/design of the intranet before playing around with more Javascript. I’ll update you guys soon once I get more info on the upcoming project!

First Web Project/Interaction

So I’ve finally got my hands on a web project!

Granted, it’s for the intranet which I am told I cannot share images of, but it is fun! I definitely enjoy it. I had to redesign a clock that appears in the upper right hand side of the web page. The old one looks very cheesy and old, and I got permission to spice it up a little bit. While I won’t share any images of the clock, I can say that I have correctly redesigned it with pure CSS3.

I did want to implement a Javascript solution, but that meant more security loopholes I had to jump through. The IT department does take security here very seriously. I will try to work with them on implementing some Javascript in future projects. Hopefully I will be allowed to do it, and I will even come back to this project and see if I could add a bit of Javascript to it.

I feel as though the longer I am here that I will get a bit more leash to play with. I guess being an intern is putting me at a disadvantage, but nevertheless I will push as much as I can to show that I can do much more than what they have seen so far.

Workplace Environment

So far, everything up to this point as been swell. I’m constantly learning about the actual work that is being done, but also about the culture of the workplace. As I stated in an earlier post, my hours are from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. with an half hour of lunch sometime between 12 and 2 pm. Monday through Thursday everything is a very formal, full on business manner. I wear slacks and a button up shirt on most days. Ties are optional and a bit overkill here unless you’re a director or have an important meeting.

Friday’s seem a bit more relaxed, with everyone allowed to dress down, although the work and the meetings are still business like. Every once in a while you’ll have a very casual meeting about a specific project. I guess that really depends on the people conducting/leading the meeting. Everyone has a cubicle except Directors and some managers; they have offices. Construction is currently taking place and is making things seem more transparent: glass doors are being installed everywhere.

Everyone seems a bit relaxed and down to earth. When I have lunch mostly everyone acknowledges me, and quite a few actually talk to me. It has been really fun and interesting listening to what people have to say about the place, and each other! Lunch time is relaxing and offers me the time to get acclimated to the people around me. I will hope to learn much more about the place in the coming weeks.

My Job Role(s)

For my duties during my internship, I have to create digital assets in terms of PDF documents that are available internal (intranet, meetings) and external (website). My supervisor is the Rev. Martha Cruz, Director of Communications/Public Relations.

I’ve known Martha, and the Senior Designer at the company for several years now. I didn’t have to interview for the position, but I did have to show up and do my best from day one. My background in design helped me to quickly and efficiently perform the job duties assigned to me, With the company at a very busy stretch of the year, I’ve been having to crank out work all the time. It’s a really fun place to learn as well since the senior designer helps out as well.

I ask questions all the time, and I also have to give my input whenever possible. I feel as though they are lenient enough to facilitate learning, but also to help you push through any boundaries you may have. I can not wait to see what’s in store for us in the near future!

Internship Background

PBUCC Company Logo

The company I intern at is The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Inc. (PBUCC). The non-profit company has about 60-80 employees in two locations: New York (UWS), and Cleveland (Downtown).

UCC HQ PBUCC NY: Interchurch Cneter

PBUCC invests and manages the financial assets of clergy and lay-employees of the UCC. Within the past 20 years, the Pension Boards was busy making major upgrades to it’s technology infrastructure and more recently, celebrated over 100 years of service in 2014.

Being an in-house graphic designer, I work within the Communications/PR team. The team consists of 4 individuals including the Director of Communications/PR. I get to work on print materials and digital media. Web related work will be coming soon I’m told, and I can’t wait!