AGP DigitalMe Learning Journal Jim Babbage

The purpose of this journal is to create a running "self-reflection" monologue of what I'm learning and thinking throughout the DigitalMe course.

Week 1 - March 21, 2017

What does Personal Brand Mean to Me?

Quite a lot, actually, it is my professional, often digital, representation of who I am. In this online world, it is often one of the first ways (if not THE first way) people get to know me. It's my way to make people aware of who I am and what I do and to explore in far more depth than a resume could ever achieve.

What you create, what you share, sometimes even how or where you share it, can impact your personal brand.

The Ulitmate Professional Headshot

And the image you use to present yourself can greatly affect how you are perceived by others, especially those you've never met in person.

Some of my favorite headshots, showcasing various aspects of my character. This collage was created with a prerelease version of Adobe Spark Post (teaser!).
Professional shot head shot - great for a more corporate presence
Having a little more fun with the headshot, this time using a prerelease version of Adobe Spark Post.
Selfie for when I want to look cool - or at least pretend that I look cool. Processed using Instagram.

This topic is so important to me, that I dedicate significant portion of my working life to:

  • Building my Digital Brand
  • Talking to others (students, teachers, administrators) about Personal Brand and Digital Fluency
  • Creating content that speaks to Personal Brand, or exemplifies my definition of Personal Brand

Week 2 - March 30, 2017

Creating a Killer Resume

I had no idea it would take SO long to redesign my resume. But I should have known better. In the past, I'd only ever built a resume using MS Word. That tool is great for - well - words, but not so great for granular control over a layout. I knew that going in, though, so I decided I would use InDesign this time around. The final results are day and night when compared to my old resume.

Before and After of just the top of my resume

Now, I am not a graphic designer, so the first thing I decided was go looking for a professionally designed template I could use. I didn't want anything too flashy, but definitely wanted something more visual and more sophisticated than my old resume. I found one on Adobe Stock that I liked in general, but it was a Photoshop template!

(Note: Google searches for templates are another option, if you're design-challenged like me.)

At first, I tried working in PS with the template (it was well set up for working in Photoshop), but I kept feeling I should be doing this kind of thing in InDesign. So, with 30% of the document completed, I exported a high res jpeg and placed the image in ID as a locked tracing image (momma didn't raise no fools).

I wanted to employ some best practices in this new InDesign file, so I set about creating a layer structure and paragraph styles. As I would be incorporating icons, I also set up a Creative Cloud Library to hold the icons I would need. Some I already had in vector format. Others I had to source from the web and from Adobe Stock. Trying to visually match up a couple disparate sets of icons was slightly challenging, but because they were all vectors, Adobe Illustrator came in very handy for creating a consistent look and feel to the icons.

Getting organized early in a project is far easier than trying to get organized later.

I know that talking about "Adobe Magic" is a big part of my day-to-day job, but nothing brings this concept home more than finding yourself working on a personal project (rather than someone else's demo files).

The big magic for me in this project was Creative Cloud Libraries and Adobe Stock. While it may not seem like a big deal, having instant access to content you created in a different application is a HUGE deal! No searching a hard drive, or emailing files, or finding the right jump drive with the assets. I didn't even have to browse Creative Cloud files.

Adding my customized social media icons to a CC Library means that most of my CC apps have instant access to the files, without needing to search my hard drive for them.

As soon as I placed a finished icon from Illustrator, into my CC Library, it was immediately available in within InDesign. I just had to drag'n'drop the icons onto the artboard and size them. What's more, if I edit the Library item in Illustrator to change the background color or directly edit the vectors, the icon is updated automatically in my InDesign layout as soon as I save the changes in Illustrator. It may seem like a little thing, but it's a huge timesaver.

Week 3

Creating a Logo

The past week was packed with travel for work, so I did not have the time to create a new logo for myself. However, I did go through this exercise just over a year ago (maybe longer) and I did still have all the original files.

The final mnemonic, tying in my initials, a stylized camera icon and a floral Hawaiian pattern fill. This version also works for Instagram.

My idea back then - that I still believe today - was to create a fun logo that comprised various elements of my personal and professional life. If you know me, you also know of my love of photography and my penchant for wearing Hawaiian shirts (even though I have yet to visit Hawaii).

I did several iterations, including one that was a full blown tropical scene, using a combination of symbols from Illustrator, a sourced floral pattern from the web, and a suitable casual but easy to read font.

The original artboards in Illustrator

I remember struggling with the whole concept at first, but ending up being quite satisfied with my final result. It was, in the long run, important to me that I could use either the logo itself as mnemonic, or to extend the logo to include my company name in text. The logo needed to be recognizable as my brand, even without my full name attached.

To make things fresher for this project, I decided to use Adobe Post to create the social media version of my logo, for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, when I tried to use already saved versions of my logo from Creative Cloud, I realized they were far too small, and the wrong aspect ratio.

Fortunately, I had originally had the foresight to save my layered file as a set of CC Library assets. While I could not bring CC Library assets into Post (yet), I was able to pull the mnemonic and text from the Library as individual, high resolution assets and place them in a Photoshop Mix document. From there, I could save the file to my iPad and then bring in the flattened PNG into Post.

The final logo for use in FaceBook or Twitter

The workflow I used this time around reminds me that I can do a good deal more, wherever I am, whatever device I am using, with Creative Cloud. It's true mobility for my creative spirit.

I have, for some time, also been using this logo design when I export images from Lightroom, as my watermark and brand identity. I've included one example below.

One example with the mnemonic and a simpler type style.

Week 4

Creating an ePortfolio

I've been working on my eportfolio for years. Originally, it was Flickr, for my photography work. Other aspects of my skills were showcased on my web site, built using Dreamweaver, with some fleshing out by way of a Wordpress Blog. But then I discovered Behance, 3 years ago (I think) when Adobe bought the company. At first, I started using it simply so I could talk intelligently about it, but then some magical things started happening:

  • I was getting noticed!
  • People were leaving comments and appreciations
  • I was discovering new forms of inspiration
  • My creative needs began to increase, become more insistent

My eportfolio on Behance has evolved over time, to include not just my photography, but also tutorials, essays, musings on various topics. I believe it has become an essential, vital component of my digital brand. I think I'm a pretty prolific content producer on Behance; I have over 150 projects that vary from straight photography, to digital experimentation, to essays and tutorials. Unlike many photographers on Behance, I don't typically post single images, or images only; I typically post projects with 10 - 30 images and I tell the story of the project or shoot as well. I believe sharing those thoughts is as important as the final images. Sometimes, more important. There is a lot of great (photography, illustration, animation, design, pick-your-creative-genre) out there, and telling the story behind the photos - to me - adds a level of depth that the photos themselves cannot articulate, setting me apart from the crowd.

More recently, Adobe Spark has become an important asset in my digital storytelling. I can do things easily with Spark Page that I simply can't do in a Behance project - or can't be bothered to do in traditional HMTL.

I would posit that an eportfolio isn't just something needed by creative professionals or students in creative fields. My experience in education as both a teacher and a solutions consultant on the Adobe Education team has taught me that any and every student can benefit from creating an electronic portfolio.

I've included links to a few projects and stories that I thought might be of interest. Feel free to explore my Behance and Adobe Portfolio.

Links

(Spark Page, cross-posted on Behance)

(Spark Page Story)

(Behance Project - essay)

Week 5 - Portfolio Assessment

Well, I finally got round to this assessment part. Frankly, it's been a long time since I assessed any student work in detail, but one of my work colleagues kindly allowed me to use her Behance Portfolio for my assignment.

I tried to keep the assessment short and sweet (and Spark Video did it's level best to remind me of this). I incorporated some video screen capture into the assessment as well, using the video capture feature of Snag-It. This made it easier to have a full screen-width of Donna's Behance page, whicle I added verbal feedback.

Final Comments

I took my time - or rather, procrastinated - doing this assignment. In part my delay was due to the fact I'm not teaching regularly anymore, and didn't feel I qualified to assess anyone. The other part was just finding the quiet time to pull it all together. But once I forced myself to get started, I began coming up with all sorts of ideas on how I could assess the work (the video screen captures, for example).

Week 6 - Digital Me Course reflection

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this course a great deal. It forced me to consider updating some pretty critical personal content (my resume), and the gist of the course speaks to two very important concepts for me - personal brand and digital literacy. These are concepts that every teacher and student should be aware of and be actively involved in developing, in my opinion.

I liked the fact that this course was a "safe" place for all to experiment, try new things and gain deeper understandings of concepts as well as tools we might not use as often. I think it's a great confidence builder for those new to Adobe creative tools and I hope it opens the imagination for teachers (and students) on what is truly possible and how we can share and communicate in a variety of ways that go far beyond traditional paper and email.

I talk about this course to colleagues and - more importantly - to customers. Teachers, administrators, students - can all benefit from this low-impact exposure to Digital Literacy. I want to thank the teachers of this course and ALL of the wonderfully talented people participating in the course itself, as learners. Every one of you has given me an idea, a workflow, inspiration, to keep doing what I'm doing - only better.

Created By
Jim Babbage
Appreciate

Credits:

Photography by RIkk Flohr, Michael Clawson, Jim Babbage. Illustration courtesy of Kevin Stohlmeyer

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