Archive for July, 2011

Words of an Intern: Week 9 The Finale

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

I end each week at MediumFour writing this, a reflection of what I accomplished and experienced that week. Since this is my last day at MediumFour, I thought I would reflect back on this week as well as the past eight weeks.

I very much enjoyed my last week at MediumFour, experiencing the intensity that only comes around when work is at its peak. I spent a whole day in a room writing, rewriting and analyzing that writing to make sure it contained the right tone and message. Quite honestly – it was probably one of my favorite days. It is so interesting seeing people come together, all with the motivation of accomplishing a task and not stopping until it was achieved.

What I have noticed throughout my time here, is that each week when I write my reflection my focus was always on something different. No two weeks were the same, and my experiences went in all directions. I’m leaving this internship with an understanding for certain aspects of this business that you can only comprehend once you’ve seen it for yourself – client interactions. While I have learned a lot while at MediumFour, that aspect was perhaps the most surprising; clients range dramatically, from the people who trust you to the people who know more then you (but still hire you). As I’ve said before, patience is a key characteristic to survival in this industry.

When I first started at MediumFour, I was asked to make a list of internship goals; looking over that list on my last day, I can confidently say that I received everything I wanted from this internship. I received a well-rounded view of how the agency-side of the business works; I interacted with clients in meetings and observed the process of client acquisition; and I experienced what branding really entails. As I prepare myself for my future endeavors, I feel as though I am prepared with the experiences I gained at MediumFour along with a database of references for design that I can use to learn, self-motivate and appreciate.

Thank you, MediumFour.

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Words on an Intern #8

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

The focus of my work this past week has been on developing much of the language and copy for different aspects of the EAR Card. To me, writing is as much a creative process as anything else; it’s difficult to force the right words to come to you (I always feel like you need to be in the right frame of mind).

What I noticed from my experience this week was the difficulty in writing information you are extremely familiar with, with the intention that it will be read by a person who is entirely unfamiliar with the subject. It requires a lot of rewriting that entails shortening and simplification, while still providing an “intriguing” factor and a call to action. It can be an increasingly frustrating and long process, but with valuable results. What I can say is how valuable editors and the editing process is; this is vital to making sure that the writer is not the only person walking away understanding the material, but that a complete stranger will become as knowledgeable with the topic as the writer.

While what I have already explained is especially true for marketing and advertising (as well as the obvious – journalism and literature), in truth it can be applied to all professions (albeit in a different way). Lawyers and doctors may not write so that the general population can understand it, but they still need to explain themselves in a way that their colleagues, unfamiliar with the particular topic, can understand it.

Writing is a valuable tool; knowing how to write so that others may understand is priceless.

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Words on an Intern: 7

Friday, July 15th, 2011

This was a slightly busy week, as my focus was primarily on moving forward with the EAR Card project. After the successful meeting last week, I was doing research on new avenues and writing new materials to complement the direction we have decided to go in. However, my favorite part of the week came from a different source – a client meeting I sat in on. I truly enjoyed the meeting itself and the discussion that took place. The client is interested in rebranding herself, and started by showing us her current branding. The meeting progressed in a manner that I hadn’t quite seen before, where the client told us what she thought of her branding, what she liked and areas she knew needed to be updated/improved; we provided feedback and gave ideas of how the branding could evolve as well as ways she herself could grow. At this point, it may not be completely clear to you why I said I have never seen a meeting progress this way before. Quite simply, it truly felt like collaboration (which is how I always believed the most successful branding could take place). What made this a rare and enjoyable experience was how the client was very open to ideas, but also not afraid to provide input. By the end of the meeting, all parties were in agreement of how to move forward, the elements that would be used, etc. Most importantly, we will be moving forward with the rebranding using the client’s input and personality executed with a touch of brand psychology. This is what made the meeting my favorite thing of the week; I got to witness an uncommon event – a client with an idea, but maintaining trust in the expertise of the people they hire.

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M4 Spotlight: Young Elected Officials Network

Friday, July 8th, 2011

1. What is the name of your organization?

Young Elected Officials Network

2. How would you describe your organization?

We are a program of People for the American Way Foundation. Going by our mission statement, we focus on young elected officials under the age of 35 from all around the country that are looking to bring the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity to their communities.

In my own words, I see YEO as a safe-haven for young elected leaders to share with each other, get policy support and receive the encouragement they need to go back to their communities to fight the good fight.

3. How many years has your organization been established?

We just had our 6th national convening and have 650 members. Our very first convening, when we were established, was in January 2005 with only 65 members.

4. Why did you choose to work for your organization?

I actually started at People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) itself. I was there for almost a year when I volunteered at the first Young Elected Officials (YEO) national convening. After that experience, I went to the then program director of PFAWF, Sharon Lettman, and the director of the YEO Network, Andrew Gillum, and asked what I could do to continue to volunteer for the program. I found the YEO’s to be very inspiring and I wanted to be a part of it. After a few months, I was hired. The young elected officials are extremely admirable and if I can help them, then it’s worth it.

5. Why did you use MediumFour?

For this year’s convening we wanted a new look, and we really needed something that was different than what was used to in the past because we were starting to look dated. It was a little too much “elected officials” and not enough “young”; we were forgetting the young part of Young Elected Officials. After seeing Michael’s work, I liked what he could do. While talking to him, he picked up on what we were looking for and the “freshness” we wanted to add. I knew we were trained by the same people, had the same work ethic and they [MediumFour] would get the work done well and wouldn’t stop until it was finished. We needed the image to be a mix, not catering entirely to an old-fashioned look, but also not too young looking because it is still representing elected officials. They knew how to do that, they figured it out and we couldn’t be happier with the final product.

6. In what ways has your organization changed?

The look Michael gave us for the Convening, with the use of fonts, gave us a lot of freedom to be more creative. I was able to use the elements he designed for us in other ways because they were so simple and clean. The clean, crisp look also helped energize our material and because we went with a different color scheme it was noticeable and it gave us a different liveliness. We were able to do things with our designs that we had never done before because Michael specifically changed the look for our entire conference. For the first time ever, we didn’t do the typical red, white and blue event; even the lighting for the evening reception was in purple!

7. How was MediumFour compatible with your needs?

They understood what we needed and were flexible enough to work with us because we have bizarre deadlines – fast turnarounds, last minute changes and odd requests. It’s not easy for designers to deal with people who think they are designers too, and they were patient with me. As an internal team, we brainstormed before even approaching MediumFour, coming up with color ideas, words, needs etc. Our goal was to help them and to convey our ideas so they wouldn’t start with a blank canvas. They were very patient with us and the feedback we gave them.
8. What four things stand out in your mind from working with MediumFour?

Professional, amazingly accurate on their deadlines, patient and willing to teach. Their willingness to teach was in and of itself the most valuable to me because they didn’t just design and say “take it or leave it”, they explained why they chose certain things and the decisions behind design choices. This helped me to better understand and then pitch it to the decision-makers accordingly. Personally, it was also a great learning experience for a design-geek like me.

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