One thing has remained constant during my busy and exciting transition from recent graduate of NC State University’s Industrial Design program to new hire in a Creative Strategy internship here at Red Hat: ambiguity.
Expressing creative work with enough relatability to a broad audience is difficult!
Most of my graduation weekend was spent trying to make sense of the newness while in hot-seat mode, answering family members’ questions: “What do ‘creativity’ and ‘strategy’ even have in common?” “How will you apply a product-focused degree to enterprise IT marketing?”
Fast-forward a couple of whirlwind months of absorbing unfamiliar information, learning by doing, and drawing inspiration from an abundance of talented folks, and I was ready to welcome the challenge of another explanation extravaganza, aka: the Red Hat intern expo.
One of the most impactful takeaways from my collegiate projects and studio experiences was the importance of acting with intention. The presentation I prepared for my first project critique as a freshman was titled “A lesson in failure” because I became so caught up in iteration that I didn’t inform my choices with enough research and proactive thought to build a successful finished product.
Weaving this lesson into a vibrant tapestry of interdisciplinary projects to follow taught me that no matter the details of the creative subject, strategy is an ingredient that cannot be omitted. Tactical planning and deliberate, ongoing research became ingrained in my creative process and have only become more top-of-mind during my time in this creative strategy internship at Red Hat.
To tell the story of some standout projects I worked on this Summer, I chose to take a visual route. The rationale for this decision was that attendees of the expo would be from many different departments and that, no matter the levels of people’s self-determined creativity, almost everyone is a visual learner to some degree.
Bonus motivation: I’d get to keep my Adobe skills fresh and have a little illustration fun.
The three projects I chose to feature in my presentation were:
1. A redesign of the Creative Strategy + Design team Mojo presence
This was a great way to meet members of the team by having conversations around workflow and impactful past projects. We moved from a widget-based page with broken links and outdated organizational charts to a fresh tile-based representation of the team’s best work.
2. A competitive creative audit
The creative audit consists of a manual search plus contributions from our social media partners to understand some market trends around technology portfolio messaging This project helped me understand how Red Hat stands out in a market of IT providers because of our foundation of open source technology and the unique work of our in-house design team.
3. The development of an evolved Open Studio identity
As this creative group grows, it’s important to maintain an inclusive message with a visual presence that speaks to the great work Red Hatters are doing. Work on this visual identity is just getting started, and I’m excited to see where it goes!
I have so much gratitude for those who shared their expertise with me along the way and came out to support me at the expo. They all have taught me so much, and I’m thrilled with the recent news of my internship extension through the fall.