My first year – From intern to Duartian

Duarte Circle D logo

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Team Duarte

Presentation design? What does that even mean?

These were my initial thoughts as I walked into the shop that would soon become my first job out of college and the start of my professional design career. During finals week of my last quarter, I drove from UC Davis to Sunnyvale with some friends so we could visit Duarte’s beautiful office for their Studio Tour as part of SF Design Week 2015.

Little did I know that exactly one year later, I would see it come full circle and be sitting amongst the designers in the shop as one of their very own!

Annie snaps

Here’s a snapchat I took with my friends Lillian and Chris before walking into Duarte’s studio tour last year.

Like every bright-eyed college graduate, I was looking for the next big thing. I attended AIGA’s annual Portfolio Day where I met the wonderful Dave Nguyen. My forever MRMF (mentor, role model, and friend – yes I came up with this just now), who eventually led me here to Duarte where I have gained so much more.

As part of last year’s Studio Tour for SFDW, my friends and I were greeted by several Duartians (yep, that’s what we call ourselves) at the door who guided us through the shop like museum curators at the MOMA. This walking gallery tour gave insight into the creative process of how the various teams (i.e. Academy, Account, Content, Design, Events, Multimedia) work together to create a visual narrative for any speaking engagement.

Whether it’s a large scale presentation that’s shown inside a convention center for thousands to see to an intimate 1:1 conversation where the presenter is using an interactive kiosk to “touch” their way through a story. These mediums require a variety of skillsets to come together and the designers who work here come from all types of backgrounds. Whether it’s branding, identity, motion, user experience, print, packaging or fine art, each of these designers found a home here where their unique skillsets come into play.

Our job as creators is to further define any medium and also define a new cliche and not to adhere to generations past.” —Casey Neistat

aiga crowd

Jack welcoming us, as we walk in through the front doors.

It’s been amazing to learn and see how much work goes into a presentation, whether it be the content or the design. Knowing that the work we create here has the ability to ignite change is incredibly humbling. Storytelling has been the main form of communication since the beginning of time and it has such a powerful effect on people.

I love that I get to be a part of this everyday.

Since that tour, I immediately applied for the summer internship program and have happily joined the ranks in the Design group. I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with some amazingly talented creatives, see my designs blown up on giant screens in both large indoor and outdoor venues and use our methodical process here at Duarte to solve challenges with clients from some of the top Fortune 500 companies around the world.

Me and Logan (as strangers) standing right across from each other before we knew we were going to end up at Duarte together.

Logan and I (as strangers) standing right across from each other before we knew we were going to end up at Duarte together.

Looking back now, I’m glad that I attended Portfolio Day/SFDW last year and very lucky to have the opportunity to work with such thoughtful and talented people. The saying is true – you never know who the person you’re sitting next to might be. I’m looking forward to this year’s design week, and meeting new people/making new friends. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find me on the internet (@annieeplum).

If I ask you to think about something, you can decide not to. But if I make you feel something? Now I have your attention. –Lisa Cron