Learning Journey: Digital Me

My Personal Brand

Vimeo: ​​My personal brand video

My personal brand statement is simple: It's how I want others to think of me based on a body of work and a professional presentation that I have built through my career. I work to produce high-quality products that represent a solid work ethic, integrity and a developed skill set.

I want my efforts to result in positive word-of-mouth and a growing network of colleagues for current projects and future collaboration. I want my work to be part of a reputation that opens doors and increases opportunities.

Edited headshot

This assignment was a helpful reminder about the importance of a professional, appropriate headshot for social networking purposes. Both the photo and the editing assignments were good exercises for practicing portrait skills. I was rushed and had to use available light, but I think the original file offered opportunities to use a variety of Photoshop skills. In general, I think it turned out well.

Edited headshot for social media profile: www.behance.net/gallery/51723343/Edited-headshot-for-social-profile

For assignment 2, I took a photo of my husband before work. I wanted to get a photo of him in suit and tie for professional networking purposes. It was early morning and the light was uneven. I did not use a flash. I made the following edits:

Brightness: His head was a little too bright and shiny, and his eyes were a bit in shadow. I adjusted the brightness and reduced the contrast to even out the light on his face.

Tie askew: His tie was caught on a button. I didn't straighten the tie, but I did remove the button. The tie isn't straight, but it is less distracting than if it were caught on the button.

Blemishes and wrinkles: I evened out his skin tone with the spot healing tool. I used the patch tool to reduce some wrinkles around his eyes and on the side of his face. I removed some wayward hairs on his neck.

Liquify filter: I made small adjustments to his features. Tilted the right eye, stretched out his smile a bit, adjusted his nose. I don't think these adjustments were strictly necessary, but they are new to me, and I wanted to use them subtly.

Background: I used the healing brush tool to add more blur to the background.

Unedited photo

Graphic Resume

Image file: graphic resume

I didn't plan this in advance. I designed it as I went. I used InDesign, a program that I am comfortable with. The tools, because I know them, were helpful. I think they could add another layer of difficulty for students who are learning to use them while trying to curate and present their experiences to employers.

I think this could be a very useful culminating assignment for graduating seniors. In addition to helping them craft a first resume, it would be a great way to demonstrate a set of skills – design skills – that may appeal to a prospective employer. I think this exercise could help a student show initiative, creativity, drive and a valuable skillset.

My assignment will be a sample for students. I haven’t added a photo to my resume before. For design work, I would use this or something based on this for applications.

My preference is to keep design simple. I chose a two-color layout for simplicity. I found a page of vector icons that helped introduce each section and changed the color in Photoshop. They worked with the social icon typeface that was mentioned in the live class. I haven't included a photo on my resumes in the past. I'm glad I did here--the photo is a nice way to tie in the social media links on the page.

I don't enjoy updating my resume--it always seems tedious. This exercise helped me look at the design of the resume with a new perspective.

Icons for resume headers: free download at https://www.vecteezy.com/vector-icons/82808-flat-vector-icon-set
Peacock blue for resume palette
Colorized icons for resume

Personal branded logo

Personal brand logo with type
Social header
Logo with gradient from color in social header

I was a little intimidated by this assignment. I do not have much experience using Illustrator, and I was a little apprehensive about it. The video lecture was very helpful, and I also did a brief workshop in Edex to improve my understanding.

It helped, but I can see that I’ll still need more time to figure out the tools, and I am using an older version, CS6, which isn’t exactly the same.

I really like the options that Adobe Capture offers. It was easy to use, and I was surprised at the ease in opening a file on my desktop that I had captured on my phone.

My logo wasn’t complex, so it was fairly easy to make. Using the tools correctly is something I want to improve. I turned on a mesh overlay or some type of mesh tool when making my gradient logo, and I couldn’t turn it off.

I love being able to copy colors with the color picker in all Adobe programs. And I didn’t realize I could copy colors for my Twitter profile with the color tool—all things I learned from the live class.

I think this exercise would be a fun one for students. It would provide a good introduction to Illustrator, and I believe they would be surprised at their results. It doesn’t take much skill to create a professional looking product. And, of course, it would provide yet another opportunity to talk about personal branding and how we want to be seen.

Original photo of glasses from Adobe Capture. I love Adobe Capture!

E-Portfolio

I haven’t had a personal website before. I haven’t felt the need for it, although I do believe it is a necessary branding tool. My thought was always that I would build it when I figured out who I wanted my audience to be.

Currently, I have a strong network for my consulting clients. They find me through word of mouth and by viewing the digital and print products I have developed for other clients. And my students, in a correctional facility, have limited access to outside websites.

So, the question of audience came up when I built this site. I’m glad I did the exercise, and I’ll be able to maintain and target the site further as I progress in skill level and revise my job focus. My audience, then, was this class.

This e-portfolio assignment introduced Adobe Portfolio, which I liked a lot. I had seen the ads on Adobe sites, but I hadn’t bothered to explore it. I really liked the interface. The one I chose was easy to work with, and I like the design.

I found a few areas I would like to improve: If I categorize by project, I can’t seem to make all of the projects visible on the landing page: I would like a photo gallery, a workshop gallery, a past work gallery. When I did that, they didn’t all show up on the list. It may have been a user error, and I’ll need to keep experimenting.

I like the photo grid, but I didn’t really figure it out until I posted the last project: Seattle Street. It’s a cool feature. My other photos are posted individually. I may change that later.

The key theme for me is that I can change any/all of it later. It’s a digital tool and should evolve. The hurdle for me had been the initial launch.

Assessment

There were two difficult things about this assignment: the technology. I never use the internal microphones on my computers, and I had difficulty with them. I might need to update my tools. I tried two computers, and the quality is not good. If I were to incorporate this type of assessment into my instructional practices, I would definitely need to upgrade my technology. I also felt that the maximum 10-second audio per slide was too short.

It’s a great feature on Adobe Spark, though. I think it would be a useful way for students to hear comments on their work.

The second difficulty for me was finding the portfolio to critique. I used a site that was featured on Adobe Portfolio. The designer is highly skilled and didn’t leave much room for recommendations for improvements. I’d like to try it again on an actual student portfolio where I can provide useful feedback and then review their work to see if they used revised based on the comments.

Key takeaways from this lesson were a reminder that there is a lot of variety in assessing student work, but the rubric must be very clear to students before they even start the coursework. Also, assessment is the only way to identify deficits in understanding and adjust instruction. This portfolio review process would be a very helpful way to individualize instruction for students and help them build understanding in areas where they have weaker knowledge.

I thought the World’s Simplest Rubric – “Your effort = your grade” – stated it perfectly. I want my students to understand that learning and understanding are the goal. The grade simply reflects how hard they tried to reach that goal. If they submit a poor work product, they are missing an opportunity to learn real skills.

Reviewing peer work through the process has been helpful in finding new ideas for class projects, personal development and assessment methods.

Final Assignment

Throughout this course, I thought about how I would apply these topics and lessons in my instructional practices.

My students have limited access to technology, and specifically the internet. I could see how assignments like the ones in the course could be adapted to off-line student use, and I think they would be an excellent way to build creativity into the tedium of other computer-based programs that are available to students.

Students need to start building a portfolio and resume for high school, college or post-secondary jobs, but they usually don’t have much to include. The graphic resume is a great way to show, not just tell, about design skills and proficiency with Adobe products.

I think that learning is a life-long process, and I enjoy self-paced programs that teach new skills. So, the experience as a student wasn’t unfamiliar or difficult. I appreciated the opportunity to learn new lessons that challenged my perceptions. I have very little experience with Illustrator and started that lesson with the belief that my design would be difficult to produce and amateurish. I was pleasantly surprised at the result.

I was also reminded that the technology needs to be reliable. Difficulty with your computer, software or microphone can be a distraction and deterrent in the learning process. The issues I had with my computer microphone reminded me that technology tools can be a frustrating barrier to learning.

I will use the format of the workshop as a model if I develop a course like this: brief video or in-person instruction, clear directions and expectations and enough time to learn the app and practice the skills. The assignments would be assessed with a clear rubric, and students would understand the objectives and criteria in advance.

Credits:

Created with images by Markgraf-Ave - "girl camera photographs"

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