Graphic Design Portfolio

When Considering What to Work on for my Master’s…

When considering a project to work on for my Master’s Campaign Project, a dozen ideas immediately popped into my head, based on our project type options. But as a classmate wrote in our discussion, “it is the slimming down of these ideas that begin the design process.” That being the case, I’ll briefly outline the process of “slimming down” ideas that I recently undertook to help me analyze my own options better.

Of the project types we could choose from, I can honestly brainstorm ideas for any of them. Additional guidelines suggested choosing a a well-known entity to design for that clearly needs help in some way and has good competition. So, in addition to these considerations, the next most important things to consider were my own passion for doing a certain project and practicality, as going too big or too small on the campaign would probably not help when researching or creating campaign materials. For example, I have considered both branding for a single man (a freelancing personal trainer), and an entire country (The Korea Tourism Organization). I am sure that both of these could have advantages and disadvantages, but I want to be sure not to pick something too small to research for, or something too big that cannot be appropriately targeted and directed.

Therefore, I recently broke down my dozen ideas in a text editor into appropriate categories (Project Type) and sub-categories (Well Known, Needs Help, Competition, and Passion) in order to get a better picture of what was practical for me to work on. As I brainstormed all of my options for each of my ideas, it was fairly easy to weed out which ones were feasible and which ones weren’t.

Weeding out ideas

Of my twelve initial ideas, only four are well known enough to really research in depth (without long interviews – although those would help in any form of research). About half of my options need help from the ground up (logo, branding, website, promotional materials – some even need a long-term plan) in order to reach their goals, and all of them need help promoting their image or brand to their clients. Five of my ideas have high competition because they are already well established, or in a competitive market. And as far as my own passion goes, I find that it is highest for things that I’m already invested in, that I believe in, or that are well-known (is it designer’s vanity to believe I can help a large organization improve its image or marketing?). Therefore, I am now also considering how I can “partner up with a social cause” – as our outline suggested – to further weed out my ideas.

Of my initial twelve ideas, I am leaning most toward helping The Korea Tourism Organization. The years 2010-2012 have been chosen as the “Visit Korea Years” by the group and they are developing lots of promotional materials already. Therefore, if I chose this, I wouldn’t target a full rebranding of the organization or this campaign, but possibly target a future tourism campaign or a social cause that could be partnered with the current one. My own passion for working on a promotional campaign for Korea is very high. Additionally, my own city of Jeonju is constantly trying to draw in tourists from the rest of Korea to experience its “traditional culture.” I could choose to target Jeonju specifically rather than the whole country.

Another option I’ve considered is a campaign for my current employer, Jeonju University. I could partner with a social cause to improve their reputation around Korea, or create a campaign to illustrate the major changes that are occurring around campus as the University expands. But a full re-branding of the school wouldn’t be necessary as they already have a very strong brand.

A third option would be to develop a re-branding campaign for the Association of Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK). They are a union of English teachers within Korea that provides a support network to all other English teachers within Korea (especially legal advice). I could provide a great service by working on a branding campaign for them, but as a new organization (and not an officially registered NGO), researching for them would come down to a lot of interviews and footwork.

However, reading through Kathryn Best’s section for “Identifying Opportunities for Design” in her book Design Management, revealed an interesting quote: “Perhaps though, the most valuable and rich source of opportunities for design arises from the customers themselves, whether through observing the way they behave when using a product, or collecting customer feedback on how to improve a service.” (Best, 2006, p 28). Therefore, regardless of which organization’s “campaign” I choose to work on, interviews will be an important part of my research.

What about you?

Any feedback as to which of my choices would be my best option? Worst? Most interesting?


Best, Kathryn. (2006). Design Management. Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.

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