Tag Archive: University of North Texas

Two of my favorite things in the world come together in one talented designer: Leslie Ligon.

Leslie's Braille Alphabet bracelet could be up for a People's Design Award!

Her art (jewelry) and advocacy (Braille literacy) come together to poignant results. And at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (part of the Smithsonian), Leslie could be up for a People’s Design Award with your help. Please vote here to show your support.

Voting ends at 6pm EST on Tuesday, October 12, so please click soon!

The need for Braille literacy is startling.

  • Unemployment among blind individuals: about 70%
  • Percentage of blind individuals in the workforce who read Braille: 95
  • Percentage of the blind who read Braille: 10

Visit Leslie’s blog to see additional designs. A percentage of the profits from the sale of Leslie’s “At First Sight” braille jewelry are donated to organizations that promote Braille literacy.

[Sure, I’m a little biased because her husband Eric was one of my foremost design professors at the University of North Texas. But no way – I’d be impressed anyway. In fact, this bracelet is officially on my Christmas list.]

When I first felt like a writer

Recent conversations have gotten me thinking about my origins as a writer. A real-on-the-page, take-your-five-paragraph-essay-and-shove-it writer.

As I’d mentioned in my post on revising my latest work-in-progress, I started journaling in my single-digit years. Yes, gaps of time crept in, and the content split all too cleanly by the boy of the moment. The good news is that I kept going. I knew I’d have an audience of one – my future self. So I wrote. But no – I wasn’t a writer then.

In college, I studied design at the University of North Texas. Students in their Communication Design program follow two ultimate paths: graphic design and art direction. Graphic designers create logos, corporate identities, and artful printed pieces – lovelies that define the term “pored-over.” Art directors take an ad from concept through production – more like a flash burn, yet no less intense in its creativity.

It was sophomore year, and it felt almost accidental. I discovered then that I’d start every design project with writing. That’s how my brain found its way around the assignments. Soon, my professors would introduce me to a little something called the “target market profile,” an essential part of market research. Some call it a “persona.” Whatever. I was in love.

Here was a chance to create a person, as living-and-breathing relatable as you could make them, by which to measure your ad concepts. If your “persona” wouldn’t give two hoots, you had it wrong. I made a sport of creating the most realistic person to talk to with my work. That’s how I want advertising to relate to me – so it only seemed natural.

Here’s an excerpt from a persona I wrote for a spec ad campaign in college (leading to the sketch at left). It’s no masterpiece, but rather a snapshot of a new love affair:

I get so interested in other lifestyles that I forget my own. (I’m 29 and getting less self-centered by the year.) If you could only see my furniture… my stuff is very 867-5309 and it sickens me. Most of my friends say I have a cool place. I agree, sort of, but I could use some updating. It makes a difference when your home is your office. It’s got to be beyond livable, with an extra degree of comfort that only sometimes happens in a living space. I don’t know – with all this new “huggable technology,” it’s hard to believe that advances are still being made beyond “will this Bondi blue plastic influence our consumers?” Maybe I have a strange generational take on computers. I’m web-savvy now, but I’m also from the Weird Science generation. I can remember wishing those kids could have made a nice cross between Tom Cruise and Richard Gere instead of what’s-her-name…

Looking up from that printout years ago, my college professor asked, “You ever considered being a writer?” Right then, my audience doubled. Why stop there?

When did you first feel like a writer? There are as many right answers as there are writers. Let me know yours in a comment below.

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