As a fan of public access television, I created this based on my school’s TV show, BRCC Today. Th concept soon came to fruition.
I attended the Acadian Thruway campus of Baton Rouge Community College–formerly Capital Area Technical College and Louisiana Technical College – Baton Rouge–from 2013 to 2015. Studying under Ms. Angela Saia, I documented many of my in-class projects and assignments.
In my first semester, we worked on signage for the different campuses as a result of the BRCC/CATC merger. In addition, we worked on our own personal newsletters. As a class, we got hands-on training in the various digital prepress processes including laser engraving, paper binding and screen printing, while learning the necessary software including Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. Ms. Angela showed me how to vectorize and clean up my then logo, but my relationship with Illustrator remained so-so.
That November, Mid City Merchants, a community of small business around Mid City Baton Roue, called for our department to make twenty double-sided signs to place along Government Steet, advertising their White Night Light art showcase on November 22. Things were going perfectly when our morning class plotted and weeded the vinyl, but things went awry in the evening classes, causing us to redo nearly every sign that next morning.
The curriculum for the first semester was built around the newsletter. This was my very first time using InDesign, much less a rendezvous with the software. But due to my experience in Photoshop, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, I was good to go; InDesign instantly became one of my favorite programs. Arranged as a magazine–pages 8 and 1, 2 and 7, 6 and 3, and 4 and 5–the layout was printed on 11×17 gloss paper (tabloid), saddle stitched and trimmed at the edges due to our class printer’s inability to print to the edge, also known as a bleed.
The cover photo below is a downloadable copy of the newsletter, and beneath that is gallery of the spreads for the “My Day in History” newsletter assignment.
Our first assignment that semester was a portfolio–a follow-up to a business card assignment we did the semester prior. Ms. Angela suggested we use Illustrator, but we were allowed to use InDesign which, for me, made the assignment much easier. Our portfolios were to consist of a cover page, followed by a series of pages that descended in length down to a business card.
In March, our class took a field trip to Lamar Advertising.
My next assignment was a two-color design. Most of my classmates took the easy route by choosing a simple picture and putting it in Photoshop. Instead I designed a newsletter akin to the one mentioned above, but following the theme of ‘The Source‘ newsletter from my old job. This project archived some of my favorite dream logs posted on my blog. Click the cover below to view the assignment.
My final assignment for the semester was to design a button. I had begun a career in media production by this point, designing my button as a reflection. It was created in an hour from start to finish, designed in Adobe Illustrator.
My second semester flew by, partly due to the fact that I was busy with BRCC Today with then-community relations director Tammy Brown, as well as other local TV projects. But none of that barred me from completing all of my work and remaining on the Dean’s List.
But first, let’s discuss Adobe Illustrator. For my entire run at Acadian, Ms. Angela, as well as our aide Ms. Ann Nelson, had been trying to get me to fall in love with Illustrator. I had bad luck with the program going back to my Spring 2012 semester at the Mid-City campus, and even after two Vector Guru tutorials, I still couldn’t get into it.
This did disappoint Ms. Angela a bit as my next assignment was for Typography. However, she did let me use PowerPoint to finish an existing typeface.
For GRPH 1300–Typography, I chose to do more work on my Michaela font family, named after one of The Real Housewives of D.C. (remember the party crashers?). Full disclosure, I always liked the names ‘Stephanie’ and ‘Michaela’ for a girl, and I happened to be watching DC Housewives reruns while designing the type, aged 21 at the time. A tidbit, that show was produced by Half Yard Productions. I had seen their logo on TV for years, but only in 2014 did it make sense to me. Take a look at it below, then think carefully about the name.
It was during the production company’s 2014 run of 100 Days of Summer that I realized the “foot and a half.” The math: one yard is thirty-six inches. Half of that is eighteen inches, or a foot and a half–a half yard. This is peak design genius.
— Javan H. (@JJLucasH) January 26, 2014
About my typeface, I designed Michaela in 2010 based on the logo for the Woods & Water outdoors store in Tuscaloosa, AL. I fell in love with the slab serif style during the tedious move to Atlanta that late that year. The three-part family was to consist Michaela, a mixed-case font, Michaela Flourish, a mixed-case font with flourish capitals, and Michaela Flourish Caps, which is all-caps. For practical purposes, I started with Michaela Flourish Caps, using it for the cover to my song ‘Buckhead Station.’
However, this semester was the perfect opportunity to get back on track, designing Michaela Flourish.
Midway through this assignment, my inflated ego chose to take on some extra credit. About a quarter of the way through the semester, I saw this massive 5’x8′ banner reading “BRCC Acadian Campus” in giant letters. They were made as signage for the exterior of our campus, and Ms. Angela needed another one done. Feeling myself, I lunged at the opportunity, completing it with help from two other classmates.
Mine was hard to miss, as not only did it face the front of the school on Acadian Thruway, but it was also plotted in the correct Pantone Tomato Red vinyl. After a few weeks, however, the signs were replaced by some with the actual BRCC logo.
WHAT PART OF LABOR FOR EDUCATION DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?
–Angela Saia, my favorite Saia-ism
Our next assignment was to use our type in an application. I my case, I chose to create an ad for the cleverly-titled J Ribs, complete with fries and a Barq’s Root Beer.
Later, we had to do another project of our choosing in Illustrator. By this point, I had a huge media project on the table which would likely require me to design a logo. Backed into a corner, I could no longer make any excuses; I had to give Illustrator an honest try and much to the excitement of my instructors, I fell madly in love with the software.
Lastly, the class had to a create brochure about a subject of our choosing. I was more deeply involved in media production at this time, quickly developing my own style and technique. That inspired me to do my brochure on DSLR videography, named ‘The Quickest, Fastest, Cheapest Guide to DSLR Videography’ in honor of Ms. Angela, as “quickest, fastest, cheapest” is one of her many Saia-isms.
View the project by clicking the thumbnail, and also take a look at our appreciation lunch for Ms. Angela below.
By this point, I was all over the map. On one hand, I was in the midst of a new pilot the Baton Rouge market, on the other hand, MyScene TV was coming out of hiatus and on the proverbial third hand, I was juggling various personal, family and especially social issues. Between semesters, Tammy Brown had been promoted to Site Administrator of the Westside Campus, which led to her being moved to Plaquemine. Because of this, I was only able to get out one more video for BRCC Today, as we no longer had the time on our hands.
I was becoming pretty well-connected in the Baton Rouge television market, which was why that semester’s assignments revolved around my own branding. Graphics for my TV projects at the time served as Visual Design (Photoshop) assignments, but for Special Projects (SPPR), I chose to re-design my business cards.
This was the original, uninspiring design from the second semester. But I got rid of it in favor of something that reflected my new outlook. I had recently completed the Javan H. Virtual Set, which I billed as “the most customizable virtual set in Louisiana.” Of the three television projects I was involved with at the time, two were using it. In tandem, I discovered the ‘spot UV’ technique of placing UV coating over a specified area. After a little bit of research and a lot of inspiration, I came up with this:
Special thanks to WeThePrinters.
The concept of spot UV–color-on-color, in this case–can be a little controversial, as it requires your business card to be held to the light in a certain way. But a black-on-black card always caught people off guard, which was why they’d instantly warm up to it–a sense of mystery.
I had now completed all of my assignments; two years of labor for education resulted in a lifelong career goal coming to life. My field is broadcasting, while this program is for print graphics. But with all that I had learned, I had yet to do one of the most basic projects, something that the other students always looked forward to: designing a T-shirt.
While shadowing producer Brian Hertzock in 2014, one of the first things I was reminded of was that production crews always wear black, establishes neutrality and keeps them in the background. But still I wanted a shirt that would serve as a billboard when filming out. Here, I had the choice of silkscreen or PolyFlex (vinyl). I chose PolyFlex, not only because I’ve done silkscreen before, as seen above, but for what I was doing, it wasn’t worth the hassle.
Special thanks to Ms. Ann Nelson.
In the end…
I graduated from Tara High School in 2007, choosing BRCC because I didn’t complete my financial aid in time; I was accepted into the University of New Orleans. I had only completed one semester, before spending three years chasing pipe dreams, making bad friends and attempting suicide twice for reasons too numerous to name. But as the dust settled, I returned to BRCC, picking up where I left off for the Fall 2011 semester and making straight ‘As.’
I eventually landed a dead-end yet well-paying job at a very unsafe library. Clawing for a way out, I felt the need to jump ship from the school I loved, to an old building in a questionable area, a place I only knew about through a former friend who was enrolled in Graphics at the time. I set foot in Room 130 with the latest episode of BRCC Today playing in my head. Two people were in front of me as I tried to get into Ms. “Sigh-UH’s” office.
“And YOU need to speak up for yourself.”
She didn’t even know my name yet, but knew the recurring theme…
I went to class at 7 A.M. every morning with the most rotten disposition, angry at the world, angry at everyone whether I knew them or not. Flashing out in front of my goddaughters, cursing out patrons at work, smashing things, holes in walls–I was in a very ugly place at the time. But one Sunday in January 2014–second semester–I met four missionaries while filming random footage at the river; it was sunset. This was when I found my faith and from that very day, everything changed. It was around that time when Ms. Angela, having seen my work one very bad morning first semester, sent me to Ms. Tammy’s office, and that day in April 2014 would become to rest of my life.
This is why I heavily advocate both faith and education.
I did as much as I could how I could, and it culminated with a 4.0 GPA and an academic honor…all after having the rare opportunity to rub elbows with the chancellor.
And I have Baton Rouge Community College to thank for it.
“Was that great or what?”
–Tammy Brown, ‘BRCC Today’