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de•sign as com•mu•ni•ca•tion

Alyssa Najm

Three years ago I was awarded my diploma in Graphic Design from the School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut. After my time in farm country, I immersed myself in the retail world at a modern furniture company where I gushed over collectible eye candy and gained valuable knowledge in eCommerce and marketing. That experience then paved the way to an acclaimed design studio where I quickly learned to trust my judgement as a full-time designer. Little did I know, however, that the summer I spent interning for a financial investment firm would ultimately lead me to Prosek in January 2016. It’s safe to say that I like a good challenge and since my start at Prosek I have encountered many. On a macro level, it’s exciting to be part of an industry that truly impacts everyone in one way or another, and being afforded a job that takes notoriously complex information and makes it digestible for the masses is extremely gratifying – it’s exactly why I chose design as my profession to begin with.

In art school, I was trained to think critically about form and function, and was encouraged to experiment, observe, test – keep a sense of play. As a designer in the “real” world, it’s easy to lose that “sense of play” as pressing deadlines loom over you like a white fluffy cloud that suddenly turns to grey. Still, I often find myself obsessing over the nuances of beautifully set typography, a fitting color palette, and the weight of different paper stocks between my fingers. These elements and details are things that I feel distinguish designers from non-designers.

The accompanying image is a poster I created when I studied abroad at Central Saint Martins. To this day, I still feel that my response to “what is design interaction?” holds merit. Designers constantly mind the details by obsessing over every element down to the smallest pixel. By the time the end user engages with it, it should work effortlessly. From a distance, the poster is comprised of 150 different dots, but as you look closer, each dot is a unique font. It’s meant to highlight the significance in something insignificant because as an attuned problem solver, everything is considered. 

I am coming up on my one-year mark at Prosek and these few months have made me realize that the world of finance might benefit from further insights into the world of creative services. Although a small team in comparison to the PR side of things, our design team's scope of work is vast and we deliver high-quality work comparable to larger branding agencies. Like any healthy relationship, communication is key and I hope that my blog series, de•sign as com•muni•ca•tion, is able to bridge the gap between a designer’s vision and a writer’s words. Over the course of this series –I hope– you will learn about strategy and ideation, typography, hierarchy, color theory, white space and content creation. As an avenue for inspiration, I will also share the learnings from any design lectures and exhibitions I’m able to attend.

As the nun and pop artist, Sister Corita Kent once said, “Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time, they are different processes”. Stay tuned for my next post as I dissect the multi-layered, complex yet exciting design process. 

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