April 11, 2010

screw up once…..

Feeling refreshed from the Easter weekend, Randy started Monday with a brief office meeting. On Friday of the previous week, Randy held an open discussion meeting with the website engineers and together came up with some ideas/deadlines for the website. One of the ideas taken from the meeting was to create our own custom backgrounds for each page of the website.  My task for Monday was to gather various charcoal and graphite drawings Randy made years back, scan them into the computer, and experiment in Photoshop to create possible background options.

This is a design element you won’t see when you look at other websites. Everything about the new website is taken into consideration; from how the background appears to what happens when you click on the RBA logo. To me, this is essential if you want to be taken seriously. When I visit another architectural firm’s website, I automatically form opinions about the firm and even about their work just from how the website is displayed. At RBA, we are aware that visitors do this so we want to make sure the first impression is nothing less than a remarkable one.

After a few hours and numerous options later for possible background ideas, I discussed them with Randy. He pointed out that zooming in on certain areas of the charcoal drawing would be much more dynamic and would really give the feeling that these were “hand-made” and personal rather than stock backgrounds like the ones you find in PowerPoint.

By the middle of the week, we had decided on a particular look for the backgrounds. Randy assigned Meg and myself to produce as many variations for backgrounds as possible. In the end, the backgrounds really complimented each page of the website. A few of the charcoal drawings were scanned with such a high dpi that we were able to zoom and show the roughness of the paper texture under the charcoal.

Thursday came with a new challenge.  I like to think of the work Randy presents to us as challenges; they allow the opportunity to try a number of ideas to conquer and master each task. If I were to go about fulfilling my tasks with the mind set of “because it’s my job,” there would be no room for inventiveness or clever ways to solve a unique situation. For instance, on Thursday, Randy assigned me to scan in as many of the magazines we were published in as possible that day. Because there are probably over 50 of these, I started scanning quickly and realized I could be more efficient by touching up an article in Photoshop while one was being scanned. By the time I finished the touch-ups, the scanner had stopped and I could start the process over again.

While I’ve been at RBA, I’ve been looking for flaws in the way that I work and zoning in on them to become more proficient. Not only will this help me with my job at RBA, but I can take this back with me to Manhattan and finish up school as a more refined young intern. Working at RBA is a lot like being in studio in some aspects. In school, we are encouraged to try new things. If you do something wrong, that is the time to learn from it. The same goes for RBA, Randy always tells us to push the envelope. And if we end up doing something wrong to not worry about it buy rather learn from it. When I left Manhattan I was a little worried about making mistakes and the consequences they would have in an office atmosphere. But being worried about that makes rigid, boring designers. Randy wants employees who aren’t afraid to screw up once and awhile.

The weekend was adventurous as Meg and I went back to Kansas City to visit friends and see a Royals game. Turned out that the Royals lost, but it has been two weekends of baseball games in a row. Can’t get much better than that!

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