Senior Proposal

Fall 2016


01_Belief Statement

JJay | Recognizing, Deciding, Being

As I become a designer, I realize I always have been. I habitually designed my handwriting to be more or less legible. I designed how I arrange my clothes to interact with them every morning. I designed a daily work routine to be most efficient. Now that I’m almost done at school, I wouldn’t say I’ve been going to school to become a designer; rather, I’ve been going to school to realize I am a designer.

Along with this recognition that I am a designer, comes the recognition that everything has been designed. Whether an item or a space or anything has been knowingly designed or not, decisions had to be made in order for it to make its way to reality. Take for instance the piece of crap, generic, wooden pencil I used to develop handwriting in elementary school. It probably didn’t have a five-star designer agonizing over every detail, but someone had to decide to act on the idea of creating it. They simply thought it would be a good idea to have a cheap option to write with, sure, but it’s not likely they cared about how the wood would react upon sharpening or how effective the eraser was. It’s similar to the sticky situation Cinderalla experienced in the musical Into the Woods “Wait, though, thinking it through, things don’t have to collide, I know what my decision is, which is not to decide.” Not deciding is a decision (albeit a poor one).

Poor decisions lead to poor design and that’s not why I’m recognizing myself as a designer. I want to design well because I have been well-designed. If the Master Creator cares enough to agonize over every detail, why shouldn’t I at least care a little about what I’m creating? I want everything I do to be well-done out of respect to Him.

In order to do this, in order to design well, I need to be vulnerable and put myself out there. It may be scary, difficult, or even seemingly impossible, but it’s a part of Design. Sharing with others (my work, my opinions, myself) it’s all a part of Design. Not everyone – maybe not anyone – is going to like what they see, but that’s okay becasue maybe I can learn from their feedback. Vulnerable Design can be infinitely more effective and impacting than reserved Design. By sharing a part of me that experienced something, I have the ability to touch someone’s life in ways I couldn’t have imagined because maybe they’ve gone through the same situation. It could change their life forever! This is why vulnerability is so important to Design.

In Daring Greatly, Brenée Brown’s book about vulnerability, she says “There will be failures and mistakes and criticism… [But] we can’t equate defeat with being unworthy of love, belonging, and joy. If we do, we’ll never show up and try again.” She’s referring to vulnerability in life in general, but this is so very true in Design as well. If I receive critique on my work and let it impact me as an individual instead of seeing it as a growth moment, it impacts my design, I won’t be able to get back on the horse.

Fear of the horse won’t get me anywhere. I’ll be stuck in one spot, held captive by fear, looking at a horse. I won’t be able to impact others. I won’t be able to repay Him who designed me well with well-designed Design. I’d be a poor designer that didn’t make any decisions. It’s so easy to fall into this trap that I must stay vigilant in how I accept feedback to my vulnerable Design.

Belief Statement

See Things Differently.
See what others do not. Explore beyond the obvious. Look where others haven’t. Use new perspectives.


Be Bold/Take Risks.

Break boundaries. Break rules if it will better your concept. Do not play anything safe. Say what you’re really thinking, portray what you really want to portray. Go there.


Be Passionate.

No work or project will ever be incredible if it is not done passionately. It is obvious when a designer creates without passion and strictly for the sake of accomplishing a task. Never lack passion, but also do not do things you’re not passionate about. It will show.


Keep Learning.

Never believe you have learned enough/everything. There is always more to know! Have an open to learn and to grow. We can always do better; it is simply an act of desiring to learn or desiring to stay complacent.


Take Charge.

Do not wait for instruction each time. Be willing to initiate, to develop, to create on your own. When you have an idea, act!


Be In Community.

Surrounding ourselves with intelligent thinkers and creative designers will only better us, not harm us. The challenge is to use this community for good and improvement, but not for comparison and fear of “losing” to others, so to speak.

KC_Manifesto/Belief Statement

Graphic design plays such a big part in today’s world. Without it the world would be much less colorful. It is everywhere a person looks and is powerful in that it can sway them to do or not do something, buy a new product, check out a website, etc. Design can provide useful information or tell a story in an interesting way. The list of ways graphic design can be applied is huge and because of that I know there are so many possiblities for what I can do with design. I want to be able to contribute good design to the world. I’m not too sure what constitutes as good design but for right now it means design that is honest, useful, eye-catching, and impactful.

Creative Drive

From Bridge to Wonder by Cecilia González-Andrieu “It is in the work of creating that the human person, made in the image of the Creator, is more faithfully living out the promise inherent in the ‘visible world as a vast field in which human inventiveness might assert itself.’’ God is Creator and He created me, therefore I want to create. I love being creative and the process of starting with an idea and ending with something beautiful to show the world. It’s one of the main reasons I love doing what I do.

Intentionality/Power of design

I feel that design is a powerful tool that can be used to change people’s lives especially when I’m intentional with what I do. From Bridge to Wonder by Cecilia González-Andrieu: “Artists must discern the role within the human community as one that is vocation and a mission. Idea that ‘beauty saves’ because it is the ‘visible form of the good’ gives artists the obligation to put their talent at the service of communicating and evolving such beauty for ‘humanity as a whole.’”


I want to create design that can help to people in some way. This can be either drawing attention to an issue in order to help people’s wellbeing, designing for an organization that helps people, or designing something in a way that allows a person to easily use the product. I care about others and design is one of the ways I feel I can give back.


I value integrity in what I do, whether it is in relationships or in work, and in doing so maintaining my moral principles. There is also trust that can be built in relationships when people know you are being authentic with them and genuinely care about them.

Embrace process/Take chances

I’ve learned that it works well for me if I work through a process. It may take awhile but it is good to use this time to research, explore, try things out and take chances. Even if the risks I take don’t work at least take them so they are out there and not bouncing around in my head, distracting me from other things. It’s okay to try things out in this time, even if they are out of my comfort zone or I feel like they will horribly fail.

Learn from mistakes

Take opportunities to examine failures or mistakes and learn from them because it’s one of the best things that can be done to grow in design. It’s okay to look back, but don’t stay there too long.

Explore and continue to learn

It’s not possible to know everything there is to know about graphic design from the how to do the who is who. Therefore, it is important for me to keep broadening my horizons by learning about other designers, firms, areas of design, ways to do design, and examples of great design. Learning about what others have done can only make me a better designer because it can give me ideas and inspiration about how to go about solving a design problem.


If I’m not challenged by a project or the environment, I will not grow. This doesn’t mean I have to take on the most challenging project that I can find and may not be qualified for. It means taking on a project that may be something I have never done before but do have the skills to accomplish. The challenge will allow me to utilize my skills and even grow them, and also will challenge me to think creatively while also producing good design.


I want to be a good steward of all the resources available to me. Print design can use a large amount of paper and I want to be conscious of how much paper I am using and wasting. Printers are used by people other than me so I do not want to misuse it and leave it in poor condition for the next person.

Multiple interests

Keep doors open to other interests other than graphic design and work. When things pile up and get really busy it can be difficult to focus on anything else but it is important to have a variety of interests in life and to have a life outside of the school or office. Keeping these outside interests alive may also help me in terms of skills I can use in design projects or that I can be inspired by.


Belief statement

For as long as I can remember I have always had the desire to be artistic and creative. Something that I think has kept me pursuing a creative career is the idea that I have these gifts and God is Creator and He created me, therefore I want to create. From Cecilia González- Andrieu’s book Bridge to Wonder, she writes “It is in the work of creating that the human person, made in the image of the Creator, is more faithfully living out the promise inherent in the visible world as a vast field in which human inventiveness might assert itself.”

The task of creating good design is a serious one because graphic design has the power to influence a person. This power is enhanced if I am intentional about the decisions
I make when I am designing. From González- Andrieu’s book, she writes “Artists must discern the role within the human community as one that is vocation and a mission. Idea that ‘beauty saves’ because it is the ‘visible form of the good’ gives artists the obligation to put their talent at the service of communicating and evolving such beauty for ‘humanity as a whole.’” Since design can touch people, I would like to be aware of projects that may allow me to help people, whether that project is from an organization that helps people, draws attention to an issue in order to help people’s well-being, or is designing a product that is helpful and easy for a person to use.

I believe graphic design as an area that I can always be growing in whether it is skill or knowledge of the subject. Based off of past experiences, I know I learn a great
deal from embracing the creative process. I am able to dive into a project, research and learn, experiment, and take chances. Even though some of the things I do
during the creative process may not be  good, it is still good to take those chances
and learn from them. Looking back at mistakes or failures may be tough to think
about, but if I take the opportunity to learn from them then that is so much more valuable then spending the time making the same mistakes. In order to keep
growing as a designer, I should keep the desire for knowledge bright and look at the history of the field, firms, and famous designers. This way I broaden my horizons
and can learn from designs that have been created or by what the designers have to say about design. Another way that I can keep myself growing is accepting challenging projects or working in an environment that will challenge me. It could be easy to want to take an easier project, and at times it may be smart depending on how much I
have going on, but if I’m not challenging myself creatively I’m not going to grow much. Without being challenged to push my limits and the creative envelope, the work
could get boring and I might lose interest in the project.

There are some personal aspects that I want to keep in mind as I go on designing. I believe that having integrity in all that I do, whether it is in what I do or with who I meet
in life, is key to building trust. Trust can be built in relationships when people know that I am being authentic with them and genuinely care about them or a project. Stewardship is another important aspect of design to me. Design can have a serious impact on people and
the environment. I desire to be a good steward with the materials I am given.
Intentionality comes into play here as well since it is important for me to think about how much material am I using or wasting. Balance is another key aspect for me.

While it is important to be working on my professional skills, I believe it is also important to balance that aspect of my life with other areas. I tend to get caught up in the world
of design or in my projects and in order for me to not get burned out, I need to take breaks and take time to dive into my other interests. Keeping these outside interests alive may also help me in terms of skills I can use in design projects or that I can be inspired by.


Designers are secretly some of the most influential people in the world. We shape the reality in which we live in by creating and controlling the visual aspect of our surroundings. Advertisements, graffitis, shirt designs, brand logos, whatever it is, if it’s a visual element of a product, or an idea, there is a designer sitting at a desk behind it, bringing concepts to life, materializing the intangible.

As designers we must not take this power lightly, and must therefore understand the responsibility that comes intrinsically with such power. We not only have a skill, but also a duty to everyone around us.


Care about everything. Care about what’s happening in America, care about what’s happening in Venezuela, Haiti, France, Togo, Kenya, China, and everywhere in the world. Care about your neighbor, care about your client, care about any person that has less than you do, and anyone in need. Care about your profession, about your reputation, your health and the product you present at the end. Care about the leading, kerning and tracking, about the shape, form and texture. But most importantly, care about yourself. Can’t do anything good if you don’t value your own self.


Never stop. Read, ask, question, seek, wonder! Be curious about anything. Read about art, learn how to cook, a different language, documentaries, articles, seek knowledge and you’ll find it. Don’t ever think you know enough; there will always be something new to learn.


Go places, meet new people, take photographs. Always be on the look for colors, patterns, textures, faces, shapes. No two places are alike. The culture in the place you live could be dramatically different two hours north, or south from your location. Create a mental library of different visual elements you find wherever you go. Learn about other cultures as you go, their way of looking at the world will be much more different than yours…Use this new knowledge, take advantage of it, break the mould, create your own perspective.


Respect your profession, your peers, your work. Respect your clients, and their needs. Respect your job, and the people you portray. Respect other’s rights and their works. Having an unshakable sense of honor, is a must in a designer.


Remember where you’re from, who you are, what you do. How far you’ve gotten since day one. Who was there, and who was not. Remember every person that helped you get to where you are, and why you do what you do.


Make sure every project will be a new one. Be creative. No recycling projects, or none of that bullshit. Anything you create will be unique, and special. If there is no soul in it, then why do it at all?


Speak your mind. Always.

Manifesto / Belief Statement


Design is not easily definable for me.  Aside from its qualities, I know that it is a tool.  It’s a technique, way of thinking, manifesting itself in the form of an idea, a piece of paper, an application– the list goes on. Honestly, I think there are endless ways of defining, describing, and identifying design.  I see it all around me.  I see it in the way information is spoken to me, through written words or an audible voice.  I see it in my day to day schedule.  I see it in the aisles of the grocery store.  I see it on the road, the highways, and the traffic signals of intersections.  I see it all around me, through experience, taste, work, play.  

I know that it is important.  Much like water to man.  There are many uses, and we need it, whether we acknowledge it or not. We enjoy it, whether we acknowledge it or not.   

Now for the things I keep telling myself.  Things that I look back to.  Things that press me. 

Grow up.  

A good amount of time is spent growing up and developing into a fully grown human.  I feel like that part of life is all about learning, observing, and absorbing information, and that process should never stop.

Know what you believe.

It is crucial to develop a personal belief standard.  What you believe reflects much onto what you do and who you are.

Feel it out.  

There are times when my mind wanders from design, in discovery of other facets of life.  Let it happen.  Those facets are important too.  

Get comfortable.

I love comfort.  What I have found to be necessary is redefining my comfort.  Forcing myself to get comfortable in what I’m not.  It’s unnatural at first, but becomes crucial in growth.  

Own it.  

I am not, and have never considered myself a confident person.  In fact, it’s the lack that I hate most about myself. However, just embracing your work as your own is enough confidence to start.

Belief Statement

Mankind’s search for truth is dominant.  A search for reality.  Design is being human. Embracing our humanity and branching off of it.  There is life all around us.  Love, joy, laughter, sadness, illness, disaster, death— all around us.  

Why we work, talk to each other, laugh, have families has to do with the enjoyment and discovery of truth. I believe good design is unadulterated truth. It should be what drives us, what grows us, what ignites our passion to fulfill our purpose. It should apply appropriately to all of mankind. Although often unnoticed, it either speaks truth, or intentional lies.  

I believe bad design is the glorification of all things wrong. Allowing the mind to decide its own truth. Forsaking structure and order, and embracing the over-abundance of freedom we have in making our own decisions. Augustine says, “The punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder.”

I believe we were born into sin, and are faulty at our core.  What is design if it originates from fault?  That’s why action is required.  I believe I must discover truth, believe it, before I design.  If I do not, I mislead.  I lie. I believe we were created in the image of God, with a certain complexity in our intelligence that has potential for good design.  To see it, to create it, to make it prevalent.  

If what I do is a reflection of who I am, I must define and concentrate on the latter before anything else.  I must design myself.  I must refine myself to be better, continually and fervently.  Not selfishly, but in a way that emphasizes my work, to glorify what I believe in.

I know my negatives.  

I am not confident.  I tend to shy away from things I should take ownership of, in fear of failure or embarrassment.  I often see the future with pessimism.  I am often overcome by my anxiety, and feel unable and disheartened in stabilizing my mentality.  I like being comfortable.  I like knowing the future, and being in control of my own.  

I know that it is good to define personal weak points, but a mistake that I have made plenty of times is sitting in my mistakes.  Just sitting and contemplating it and not acting on it.  I feel like it is a natural tendency to crave communal pity, often in religious settings. The past is meant to be resolved, but not glorified.  

I feel motivated to be better, do better.  I want to fulfill my purpose in life, do what I love, and act upon the information I have been absorbing for years.  I cannot succeed in all that I do, but I can succeed in my part of contributing to society.  I have learned that developing a standard of truth is a necessary part of life.  It gives a foundation for all else.  I believe faith is what drives me.  The truth keeps me sane.  The truth gives me desire to chase design, and allow design to make life better.   

What I’m About – NW


Design is purposeful communication. It’s about how a message or idea is portrayed. Design is powerful because it can control how the viewer/user receives an idea or message, so for me, design must be honest.

Get to the truth of things.
Design can remove obstacles for the viewer/user. Sometimes design is seemingly invisible. My work will represent no more and no less than what a product, message, or idea truly is.

Tell a story.
Getting to the truth involves exploring the context of a thing. Anyone or any group or anything made by these has one, so dig it out and shore it up. Jesus never told anyone anything without telling a story, and he is the best truth-teller.

Create beautifully, not decoratively.
“Design is like a bat: half bird and half mouse.” My work will be both functional and aesthetic, without becoming decorative.

Keep moving forward.
Don’t stay stuck in the same thing. Try new processes with new materials for new ends.


Belief Statement

“Lord, I believe; Help my unbelief!” Matthew 9:24

These things I believe in represent influential people and significant periods of time in my life.

I believe in education. I am doing what I am doing today because of the opportunity to learn, and because of the encouragement I’ve received from teachers. When I was in grade school, I wasn’t into sports or music. I wanted to write and draw, so my teachers showed me how combine those elements into a book. Every year, I wrote and illustrated a book for the Young Authors competition, and every year I won. This early affirmation that I was good at something I loved to do pushed me to pursue art and English classes through high school, until I decided to major in graphic design in college. Therefore, I think communities should always invest in teaching the young and caring for the old. Bob Goff once said, “There’s nothing more scary to a terrorist than a girl with a book.”

I believe in change of setting. Living in another culture was a goal I wanted to experience before I graduated college. When I left for Italy I didn’t know why I set this goal for myself, only that I hoped I could experience the Italian way of life. Although it began with culture shock, I did spend the semester learning about my surroundings, and surprisingly, learning about myself. When everything else around you has completely shifted, who are you then? What about you remains true? These are the formative questions that I embraced because of traveling, and so I believe in placing yourself outside your comfortable environment.

I believe in change of pace. While I do some of my best work under pressure, I know how easily I can become burnt out. This summer, I returned to the job I do every summer, expecting the minor challenges of adjusting to a promotion. However, the challenges I encountered were the daily, exhausting problems of understaffing, customer complaints, and ill-equipped leadership. By my end-of-summer family vacation, I had no energy for the creative projects I’d put on hold, and it took me a week of idleness before I could pick up a pencil to sketch. While a change of pace mended my burnout, it was needed long before it came. Just as rest is essential for life, creative rest, or “wasted time,” is necessary in my process.

I believe people are more important than ideas. People say an idea can change the world, but I know that an idea has to be grown up and dressed and introduced to the world by a person or a group of people. And lastly, I believe in love. God commanded us to love Him and love other people, and so it is God and people I hope to serve through my work.

Be-leaf Statement

Believing is hard.

Believing in anything at the core of your being is difficult. It isn’t until we are provoked by competitive edge that we are entirely sure how strongly we support what we “believe”. Complacency and apathy are easy while believing in a movement, an era, or a hope requires whole hearted devotion.

Good design is a healthy balance of useful and profound. It advances some kind of social agenda but it is meek and patient.

I believe…

… that people matter, that they should be at the forefront of all that we do. That who they are as people, their social and psychological capabilities are not the only things that they have to offer society.

… that the worth of human beings stems directly from story who they are rather than being exploited for their marketable skills.

… that human understanding exists beyond yes and no, that understanding is the deepest and most vulnerable form of community that we have.

… that impoverished communities are the most exploited and yet still in need of genuine care.

… that international travel is the most important and the most rewarding investment. New perspective and greater level of understanding and appreciation that is gained from traveling abroad is wildly refreshing. The appreciation and new found knowledge is something that can not be taught through text books and can be only taught through doing.

… that vulnerability is the greatest thing that human beings have to offer one another. That in vulnerability and in community there is no way for the group to advance as a whole if one portion of the group is not dedicated to the  entire truth.

… that community is the most important environment, society and group that we as humans can exist and participate in. Dedication is not only a commitment to others but a commitment to self, fostering growth in one another through accountability and intimate relationships.

… that mindfulness is a spiritual duty. That as humans we are spiritually obligated to discover more about how christ made us in order to serve others better. The best leaders and the best creative are the ones that are fully aware of not only how they are made by why they are made. These decisions, in turn, help them better understand the communities that they lead and design for.

… that truth, like vulnerability, is at the forefront of what we have to offer one another. This never resonated with me until I had a horrible roommate freshman year and when I asked my professor what I should so he looked at me and said, “just tell the truth”. That was four years ago and it still startles me to think about. At first it was so jarring to realize how simple freedom from that situation was. Freedom was the truth and truth was my freedom.

… that chaos teaches balance. That we are not able to be who we want to be or be who we are meant to be before we can embrace the chaos that life hands. us. That we are incapable as creative if we are only afraid of making mistakes that are supposedly “unrecoverable”. Make mistake, create chaos then reign it in.

… that after this chaos has been reigned in and settled there is a need for and a proper way to find rest. Most of my beliefs about this stem mostly from reading Brene Brown and Shauna Niequist. When rested properly, in a way that is mindful, genuine and self respectful it allows an immense amount of breathing room that is overall beneficial.

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