SEGD: A Great Community at Any Age

By Sharon Brooks

Previously I SEGD-blogged about one of our more experienced members, Susan Jackson Keig.This time I want to take a moment to blog about some of the youngest members of our community.

Over the years that I've participated in our organization, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some outstanding students. Most recently, during one of the local chapter events, I was able to spend time speaking to a student working on his master's degree in EGD. At the same event there were two undergraduate students from the University of Cincinnati DAAP. I was intrigued with their interest in our local chapter. We have had students attend these chapter events in the past and it has always been a great means for them to learn more about our organization.

If you had a chance to attend the annual conference in Chicago it would have been difficult to not notice so many students in attendance this year! I hope that you had a chance to talk with them. I sat down with a group of students from New Zealand, as well as a few students from the schools here in the States. I found them to be incredibly funny, interesting, and extremely motivated to be in our field of work. (One of the students gave me a beautiful coin to share with my own daughters, who will soon be entering college. It was great to learn a little bit about their country as well.)

Making friends with these younger members can impact our design collaboration for years to come. I can tell you another story about a student I met, who just a few years ago was participating in a SEGD event her senior year in college. She is now an industry member with a very talented firm. I laugh now thinking back to how young she seemed at that time. My point is, our organization is full of talent and wisdom and friendship – on many levels, at many “ages and stages” in our lives. I won't say “careers” because I don't look at design as a career. I think for those of us "in it," we're in it for life.

During our recent Cincinnati chapter event, Chapter Co-Chair Margaret Langeshared a conversation she had during her MegaBus trip to the Chicago conference. Asking about her choice of a career in design, her companion wanted to know, “Is this what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?"

“It was actually very hard for me to answer the question, because I couldn’t imagine what this field (EGD) was going to look like tomorrow, let alone 20 years from now,” she admitted. “I said ‘yes,’ knowing that I was agreeing to a lot of uncertainty, but also the limitless opportunity to define the role of designer!”

The people I see making a mark on this profession are the ones who don’t feel constrained by disciplinary lines and who aren't afraid of this gray area in which we all find ourselves practicing.

As a design student myself once-upon-a-time, I never dreamed of doing anything but being in the art field. As mentors in this "society," I think we owe it to the students--any students that we encounter in life, who are interested in OUR field of study--to engage them, to listen to them, and to foster that creative spark! I will say it again: The SEGD community is a great place to be at any age!

Sharon Brooksis a senior sales consultant with ISF Sign Specialists.

Photo: 2015 SEGD Conference: Experience Chicago by Robin Lopez. More conference photos here.

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