By Laura Knight
If you’ve admired the images in the Juice newsletter, clicked on a First One video, watched the Big Ideas come to life at the 2012 QEP Kickoff or seen PIVOT (the new leadership development branding), then you have experienced the behind-the-scenes handiwork of Brandon Albert.
As senior graphic designer within the department of Organizational Communication and Development, Brandon designs or aesthetically improves much of what you see in the email newsletters and in The Grove. Brandon approaches his work with creativity and a touch of functional practicality by using imagery to attract readers and deliver important messages.
Brandon’s daily routine involves creating and/or preparing graphical elements for inclusion in the employee newsletters (The Juice, Faculty Insight, Supervisor Segment and Campus Concentrate), as well as the platform for employee news at Valencia – The Grove. The Grove is a website, a blog that houses the College’s internal communications– in fact, since its inception in August 2011, everything you have read in a newsletter has been archived there.
One Grove related project Brandon is particularly proud of is the Grove brochure, an easy desk-reference for employees that lists the focus of each publication and its schedule. With contentment, he shared that this venture allowed him to “work with [his] team very closely on a project with a clear goal and a shared vision for success; I view that project proudly because it is something I got to create and see produced with no compromises.”
Brandon often finds himself at the intersection of functionality and creativity. “I studied graphic design as a way to challenge myself: I had always been interested in computer art, but I wanted to go beyond the paradigm of spending my entire life focusing on one subject. Studying design allowed me to learn a practical skill, while also using the freedom inherent in fine art education that incorporates other disciplines.”
Although he joined Valencia as a part-time graphic designer in March of 2012, Brandon, from the start, has been tasked with designing communication visuals for some of the College’s most important messages. In 2012, he worked on design elements for the Quality Enhancement Plan- Our Next Big Idea. The QEP is a key component of the College’s reaffirmation process for accreditation through SACS (the regional accreditation agency) that occurs every 10 years.
Brandon explained that he was brought onboard to the QEP Big Ideas project to design visual elements that would help employees make connections “between them and to the work of the college as a whole.” In the fall of 2012 a kickoff event was held to outline the Big Ideas, and Brandon’s designs were incorporated into the presentation. He admitted that he “was pleased to see that project to completion and achieve a result that satisfied my partners in the college and added value and approachability to an important conversation.”
Recently, Brandon’s designs were instrumental to the rebranding of Valencia’s leadership development programs. The concept behind the PIVOT design was something that he said was inspired by the anatomy of the process a person undertakes to become a leader.
What he hopes to achieve in his work, Brandon explained, was inspired by his design professors who taught him “that brilliance was achievable through iterative work and attention to detail…designers pursue that hypothetical brilliance fervently, always asking how their work can be better, how more information can be communicated with less affectation, how one small change can be bigger than a hundred huge ones.” He enjoyed working on PIVOT, which proved to be a great opportunity for collaboration, inviting others into his creative process, which helped to produce a strong final product.
Shaping a culture that strives for excellence is something that attracted him to working at Valencia. He shared, “As an institute of higher learning, our internal audience is made up of innovative and intellectual people, allowing us to strive to maximize the value of our work.” He believes strongly that robust communication is not possible without effective design, and that design thinking can be an important tool to solve problems of engagement, persuasion and organization that employees of the college face across all disciplines.
Chara Young, director of organizational communication, and Brandon’s supervisor, respects and appreciates the thoughtful approach and the level of professionalism that Brandon brings to his work. “He raises the bar on our message strategies and we would not be able to produce the same quantity or quality of communications without him.” In April, Brandon transitioned to a full time position.
“There is so much to do, and all of it can be enhanced through strong design. People don’t necessarily understand the ways that they react to the aesthetic aspect of the world around them, but that’s my job,” he explained.
Brandon has a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Florida and would like to continue his education with a master’s degree in fine arts and eventually teach design. Outside of work, he likes to attend punk rock shows, watch terrible horror movies and go for bike rides.
Know someone doing great work at the college? Send your recommendation to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and he or she may be one of our featured colleagues!