Taking on the Challenge of Design

Taking on the Challenge of Design

By: Samit Bariana
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Throughout a co-op work term, there are usually many instances where you have to tackle a difficult project. In my personal case, design has always been the most challenging aspect of working in communications. That is why one of my biggest triumphs in my co-op work term involved completing a design-related project, an area that I used to be very reluctant to delve into.

One of my manager's at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada came to me one day with a project that she had received from one of the other province's offices. The colleague was struggling to turn one of her PowerPoint slides into an eye-catching infographic that she was hoping to use in a separate presentation. So, seeking my manager's counsel, she was hoping to get some design help. My manager then approached me since one of my work term goals was to improve my design skills. This was scary at first, but at the same time, I couldn't help but feel honoured that she would place the weight of such a difficult out-of-province project on my shoulders.

In starting this project, creativity was going to be essential. Now, creative writing is more of my forté, but design and creativity is usually the bane of my existence. This project initially frightened me, but after taking a look at the PowerPoint slide that needed to be moulded into an infographic, I began to visualize the graphic. Although I had the ideas of what I wanted the finished product to look like, I was unsure I could create what my mind had thought up. Instead of panicking, I went for it. The PowerPoint slide showed percentages of certain figures, so I decided to do the best I could with a program that I was comfortable with, Microsoft Word (my thought was: let’s start low-tech and see what happens).

What conspired after working on it for about a half-hour was actually something I, shockingly enough, was proud of. For the first time in my minimal design experience, I was impressed with something I cooked up. But what really filled me with pride was how I had not seen this anywhere else. All of the Google images of potential infographics dealing with similar information showed nothing that resembled anything close to what I had designed.

After sending it to my manager, she was very pleased with it and sent it directly to her colleague who had originally requested the infographic. It just so happened that my colleague absolutely loved it!

This whole experience challenged me to overcome an immense personal obstacle. Now I know that this wasn't at all like climbing Mount Everest, but it's winning these little battles that slowly builds your confidence as a student, employee and an individual. This showed me for the first time that I could do something I was truly uncomfortable with. So, if I could conquer my fear of design, then you can also overcome something you dread doing. Don't be afraid; don't get nervous, just go for it! Trust me, it will pay heavy dividends in the end and could be the first step in making a severe weakness an area of strength. 

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Posted on September 03, 2015