My First Fellow

I started grad school at the University of Baltimore in the fall of 2008. My program was an MFA in Integrated Design, and the head of that department was Ed Gold. That year, he was honored by AIGA Baltimore as a Fellow.

I think of Ed now as we in AIGA Colorado get set to celebrate two new Fellows in our community, Helen Young and Amy Siegel, two women who have impacted our community. Get to know the Fellows in your community, and be inspired.

Ed Gold was rumored to be one of those EVP/Creative Directors during his days, 35 years, at the Baltimore-based design firm, Barton-Gillet. His second career was realized within education, spending 25 years at UB, he was pivotal in launching the program and was director for 10 years. Now in retirement Ed is co-authoring another book — he was one if the first to tackle the subject of the intersection of Business and Design — but, he says, “like most designers I’m far too curious to ever really retire.”

Fellows, they are a force to recon with, both for the community, the profession, and for students.

Knowing his previous critiquing methods while at Barton-Gillet, I was reticent about how class, Creative Concepts, was going to go. What I found was not the critical Creative Director, but Ed delivered a supportive and thought provoking method in the classroom. I try my hardest to emulate that style for my students today.

The following are notes from that class, which started at 8:15 at night, and most of my classmates, me included, came to class after a long day at work. Each week Ed would keep us engaged, motivated, and always helping us to push the concept envelope and incorporate wit into design.

Midway through the semester, the lecture he gave was “How To Be a Designer” and I was so motivated. At the time, I was working full time as the sole designer in a financial consulting firm, the lecture came at just the right time. I was reminded who I am. An accountant surely isn’t going to tell you to “be weird,” but what they don’t know is that’s where the good stuff comes from, and that was the cornerstone of what Ed was relaying: The essence for being creative is to be weird – to look at the world in a different way.

I read these every couple of years and it’s applicable to both students and professionals designers.

Stay on your toes and challenge yourself every day, and find ways to connect with your own, despite who may be your client or where you set up your computer.

Ed said that to be a designer in a competitive career, it demands that you come up with new ideas every day. How creative you are is how you succeed and move forward. These are rules to live by:

  1. Be convinced that you are absolutely creative. Believe in yourself. Push yourself to do something more.
  2. Think it – have confidence. Behave like the person you want to be.
  3. Change your life. Every day is unique and special. Begin to see, really see, everything around you.

How to do it:

  1. Wake up every day and tell yourself that you are good at what you do.
  2. Participate: Be pushed. Don’t give up.
  3. Curiosity. Change. Become the most curious person you can be. Find these ideas that you can put together – different things for new ideas. Fill your database, figure out “why.”
  4. Journal: write it down – it will change how you see, continue to avoid being in a rut; be a recorder. Learn to be observant. Recognize what you can use, and what you can’t.
  5. Joy: getting paid to use your imagination; be a kid all day long – play.
  6. Passion: Design is not a profession for the faint of heart. Convince the client or your boss to do something risky. Convince them that you are right. If you believe in your solution, only your passion will sell them, not logic. Passion is contagious.
  7. Commitment: There is no way to tell how long it will take to get the solution. Stick with it; keep going until you find the right one.
  8. Collaboration: You have to come up with a new idea – every day. You don’t get to work alone (writers, photographers, printers, business people/subject matter experts, other designers ). Embrace teamwork and cooperation, because you can’t always fire the client.
  9. Challenge: No greater thrill in life in meeting a challenge and overcoming it. The challenge of coming up with a solution that no one has ever thought of. You’re not going to overcome all of the challenges all the time, and you have to accept that.


[image: program cover: http://shelleyllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ed.jpg]

Courtesy: Robert Shelley

By Jess Moore
Published May 11, 2017
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