Hi, my name is Caleb. I do graphic design for some of our online classes. You probably do not know me or my work, even if it’s sitting right in front of you as you check alerts, submit assignments, or scroll through course content on Blackboard. What I do tends to sit in the background, supporting the important stuff.
Though my work isn’t the whole focus, it is highly visible. And the images I create have the ability to change the way you think about the classes in which they reside. When my images need people in them, it’s important to me to showcase the world in which we live. A world full of people from all walks of life filling many different roles. I know that last statement seems vague, but that’s because doing that job well is hard and it’s the best standard I can think of for making sure we showcase a wide range of people in our images. But it also means it’s highly susceptible to opinion.
So, how do you adjust for that?
For me, the answer, on a personal level, is to Create, Wait, and Loop Back. Sometimes you only have enough resources, time, and mental energy to get the job done. In those moments, I think we all rely on gut instinct and the shortcuts we’ve developed with a certain amount of experience. So I say go ahead and do what you have to do. However, you have to set a reminder to go back over that content, maybe after the weekend, after a few months, or a year. Whatever that timeframe is, it’s important to go back with fresh eyes. Are you proud of the work you’ve done? Are the people in your images truly representative of your audience, your school, your community? Now take those items, make a list, and work those notes into your next project.
Another surefire way to help, is to use the people around you. I work with a great group of people who I trust to tell me what they think of the images I create. Every time I make something and get their opinion I learn something new or find a better way to communicate the point I’m trying to make with an image. Utilizing your colleagues as a resource will get you the answers to the questions you’re too tired/busy/stressed to answer yourself.
Whatever it takes, we have got to be better at baking diversity into the images we use. It’s the little things we contribute individually that change the way we as a whole look at the world around us.
Though I feel like I’m doing my best, I also don’t know what I don’t know. So I’m also looking for ways to better accomplish that goal for myself and would love to hear what you all might have to say about the topic.