I was thrilled to once again be invited to help the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) in St. Louis by participation in their annual portfolio review. Students came together with examples of their work and put it on display at Maryville University and also subjected themselves to multiple one-on-one presentations. They seek input and reactions. They hope to make connections that will allow them to begin their careers as artist, designers and creative leaders.
Having started my own career as a graphic artist, I always hope the emerging designers will have a passion for type, color, composition and style that I still have today. But, for their sake, I also hope they will work on sharpening their presentation and selling skills. After all, the world is a competitive place and the best doesn’t always win.
“It’s Not Creative Unless It Sells” was a philosophy promoted by Benton & Bowles, an advertising agency founded in 1929 that eventually merged to become part of D’Arcy. (An agency St. Louisans may remember.) The designers and artists entering the market would do well to consider that point of view. They need to understand it is important to be able to persuade others and articulate the rationale behind their choices. Furthermore, they will need to understand that the design and innovation they create will only be marketable commercially if they understand basic salesmanship and find a way to be marketable as business people.
Like many students, I was first attracted to graphic design because I felt a career based on the wonderful prospect of being involved in work that for me meant being where art meets commerce. These kids are ready and willing. Their work is great.
Amanda Kilwin, a design student form University of Kansas drove across the State of Missouri with a fellow student from Kansas. There were students from Missouri State, Washington University/St. Louis, University of Missouri at St. Louis (UMSL) and of course Maryville University.
To Amanda and all of those portfolio creators as they enter the workforce: We look forward to your enthusiasm and creative energy!