Colorado
By Amber Atkins | January 19, 2013
Designers: The Last Unicorns of the World

I’m not a designer, but I want to be a uni­corn too!

I am not a designer; I just work with them, sur­round myself with them, encour­age and envy them. Unicorns are famous for their courage, strength, and virtue; they sym­bol­ize purity, ele­gance and charm. Unicorns always come to mind when I try to under­stand my friends who are design­ers, col­leagues who lit­er­ally cre­ate the world around us and the stu­dents I work with that see the world in a more mag­i­cal way that I ever will. They give them­selves to the world in their cre­ative energy, tak­ing risks to make the world a bet­ter place, and I envy them because they have the courage and self­less­ness to do so. So if I’m not a cre­ative per­son, then how can I help so that I can be an hon­orary uni­corn too?

In case you are won­der­ing “why uni­corns?” it’s because of the movie The Last Unicorn, which made a huge impact on my life. It gave me hope, some­thing I carry around with me more than most of the other child­hood mem­o­ries I have. The world of design is my hope and is what helps me make sense of the world.

 

I’m nei­ther a designer nor a uni­corn, so why does this mat­ter to me?

I was asked in the past few months to wear what I hope will be one of the most impor­tant hats (or horns) of my cur­rent phase in life; Mentorship Director for AIGA Colorado. When I was asked to join the AIGA board I lit­er­ally thought to myself, “Maybe I can be a uni­corn too!” My job title will never include “design” on a laser cut busi­ness card or in a type­face cre­ated by yours truly, but I will get an oppor­tu­nity to soak up some cre­ative magic from our uni­corns in the AIGA community.

When I joined AIGA I had to ask myself, “What does a Mentorship Director Do?” Thus far, it has meant that I work dili­gently to con­nect the cre­ative indus­try and econ­omy with the youth and young adults who might one day become uni­corns them­selves, or who already are and just need some­one to show them their magic! Mentor pro­grams are an ideal way to sup­port this effort and AIGA Colorado already does so much in the state to sup­port this.

 

What are some of the AIGA Colorado men­tor­ship efforts?

AIGA Colorado has a com­mit­ment to men­tor­ship through cre­ative prob­lem solv­ing. One of their efforts is through the VSA Colorado and Access Gallery sum­mer pro­gram, in which local design­ers and dis­abled youth work together to visu­ally solve social con­cerns. Not only does AIGA help fund this through their annual Bordo Bello event, but they also help iden­tify design­ers who par­tic­i­pate in this pro­gram via the AIGA Colorado net­work. I’m excited that this will be my first year in sup­port of this pro­gram and if you would like to par­tic­i­pate feel free to visit: access​gallery​.org to find out more!

 

Teen Mentorship Program, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy

Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy is in the south­west cor­ner of Denver and is lov­ingly known as KCAA by the com­mu­nity it exists in. With a diverse stu­dent pop­u­la­tion, this school was pre­vi­ously a mid­dle school that had its nor­mal prob­lems as most of the pub­lic schools around the nation do. Recently, the school has assumed new lead­er­ship and a new for­mat where cre­ativ­ity is a part of every prob­lem that needs to be solved. Creativity is incor­po­rated across the cur­ricu­lum and KCAA’s ulti­mate goal is to be the first pub­lic K-12 Arts and Creative Academy in the nation! With a lofty, attain­able and com­mend­able goal in their scope, AIGA is excited to sup­port these efforts by work­ing with the Career and Technical Education Department to expose their high school com­mu­nity to cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als and design stu­dios in the Denver area. Thus far, the group has got­ten a chance to see how cura­tors at the Denver Art Museum choose the exhibits and how they design that expe­ri­ence. The stu­dents at KCAA had a stu­dio visit at Matter, founded by Rick Griffith who I con­sider a local uni­corn of let­ter­press, typog­ra­phy and graphic design. His advice that day was to pur­sue what they love and “get weird” with it. Thus far, my favorite part of get­ting to know the “Kunsmiller Crew” (what I call the stu­dent group) is learn­ing about what they want to be when they “grow up.” I was stoked to find out that the major­ity want to be uni­corns so that they can impact the way peo­ple expe­ri­ence the world around them.

 

Unicorn-bound through men­tor success!

The ulti­mate goal of men­tor­ship by def­i­n­i­tion is to teach, instruct and learn. AIGA Colorado’s pro­grams and com­mit­ment to this is why I was will­ing to take on the role of Mentorship Director. The next step is to impact the col­le­giate youth of Colorado with a pro­gram ded­i­cated to defin­ing them­selves as design­ers early, then plan for their future cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als while con­nect­ing with the indus­try pro­fes­sion­als they will cre­ate the world with!

I might not be a designer or a uni­corn, but I’m the next best thing — a Mentorship Director. In this role, I have the most amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to teach, learn and grow as an indi­vid­ual by watch­ing oth­ers actively do the same through the pro­grams I get to sup­port.  Design impacts human exis­tence daily through the expo­sure we have to the world around us through con­tent, tech­nol­ogy, prod­ucts, ser­vices and attire. Design is the magic behind exis­tence and design­ers are the world’s last unicorns.

COMMENTS
COMMENTS
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.
  • Batman9436

    Nice, Amber.

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