As graphic designers, media specialists, content managers, and communication professionals, our tasks are really pretty basic. The only expectation is to educate, promote, engage, persuade, and create full campus awareness and outreach to hundreds or thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as the surrounding university community. There are also bonus points and loads of kudos, too, if the completed tasks succeed with originality, follow all university brand guidelines, and hopefully, include three or four original photographs of happy smiling faces, all while managing the entire project on a shoestring budget and delivering all components of the outreach and promotional campaign on-time.
Ready? And, go.
All of these appear to be the challenges, and the fuel, for most communication projects. On top of that, deciphering IT jargon to distribute information legibly for the masses of the university can often require some crafty MacGyver skills. With our communications work having such a broad university audience, my golden rule is simple. If my mother wouldn’t understand it, revisit, review, and rewrite.
Nerds unite. We take geeks to heart and passionately believe that everyone is a bit of a geek about something. The SIGUCCS Communication Awards provide an excellent stage to showcase your communication team’s design geekdom and to receive external written feedback from last year’s winning teams who serve as judges. As a submitter, preparing submission entries each year allows me the opportunity to step back with a broad range view to reacquaint myself with and critique our team’s portfolio. Reviewing the excellent work of other institutions when serving as a judge is a unique opportunity to compare our work with numerous successful communications teams from other higher education learning communities.
With so many of us facing similar design challenges, the takeaway of participating in the SIGUCCS Communications Awards is seeing how other creative teams resolve similar IT communication hurdles. All of these things provide each of us with an aha moment and hopefully, just hopefully, an opportunity to understand why design matters. Because honestly, it does.
Visit the SIGUCCS Communication Awards webpage for a full list of categories, criteria, and instructions for submitting your communications projects.
Gary Garbett, Senior Communications Coordinator
Virginia Commonwealth University