GDE710 W8 | Workshop Challenge


This week’s Workshop Challenge asks us to investigate and identify our skills as graphic designers as well as any gaps.


as a graphic designer, and in my work as a creative director:

  • adobe creative suite

  • advocacy

  • active listening

  • articulating ideas

  • belief

  • brainstorming

  • bullshit detector

  • concepting

  • creativity

  • curiosity

  • design foundations

  • editorial design

  • emotional intelligence

  • empathy

  • endurance

  • flexible

  • giving critical feedback

  • good instincts

  • hope

  • intuition

  • marketing

  • motivating others

  • observing

  • project management

  • print production

  • receiving critical feedback

  • self awareness

  • typography


Note: items in bold italics are gaps that are areas of most need, or most significant gaps:

  • alternative perspectives

  • animation

  • art & design history

  • boldness

  • confidence

  • desire

  • effective storytelling

  • experimentation

  • exploration

  • inspiration

  • letterpress

  • linocut

  • making

  • mentorship

  • networking

  • patience

  • persuasive

  • photography

  • proactive outreach

  • procrastination

  • saying “no.”

  • side projects

  • social design

  • videography

  • willing to take risks

  • workload management


In reviewing my list, it occurred to me that my skills tracked well to the body’s anatomy. Further, my highschool fascination with the medical illustrations in Grey’s Anatomy compelled me to make an infographic poster using an illustration style that I’d never attempted before to portray my skills and their respective gaps. No better time than the present to tackle those gaps (exploration, experimentation, etc.)

This started with a quick doodle paired with the list to map each skill to a different area of the body (head, heart, back, hands, etc.)

anatomy concepting.jpg

Then a rough sketch of my self-portrait.

Anatomy of a Graphic Designer 1.jpg


Inspired by the poster designs of James Victore, I decided to make a poster for my final piece. I chose a color palette that was electric, a illustration style that was fluid and more abstract. For my skills, I chose to use white as the color to signify the most concrete or solidified of my skills. Using two hues of blue from the illustration to indicate my gaps: the darker the blue, the wider the gap.

The Anatomy of Graphic Designer, Kris Miller

Anatomy of a Graphic Designer MOCKUP.jpg
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Victore, James. (2010) Victore, or, Who Died and Made You Boss? Abrams.




This week’s lecture proposes two essential questions to reflect and investigate:

  1. What would you like to be doing that you are not doing in your work?

  2. How important are side projects and are you working on them?

We hear from each of our studio professionals with regard to both of the aforementioned questions and it is quite clear they are all (Simon Manchimp, Sam Winston, Regular Practice, Sarah Boris, and Intro) doing what they want to be doing and are not lacking or longing for work they currently do not have. This may well be as they all loud side work as a necessary component to supporting and enhancing their daily practice.

Key takeaways from their common responses include:

  • Side projects encourage you to “think differently.” - Simon Manchimp

  • Give yourself space as a means to find solutions, new ideas, avenues, and creative projects. - Sam Winston

  • Authorship serves an important role within side projects not as often afforded in day-to-day work. You get to define who you are and what you want to present. - Regular Practice

  • Side projects can define how you and others see you as a designer. No compromises. -Sarah Boris

  • Side projects feed the day-to-day. Get to learn new crafts, be inspired, and are wholly owned. -Intro


OBLIQUE STRATEGIES: Brian Eno develops card-based system for promoting creativity and pushing through creative thought.

The card is trusted even if its appropriateness is unclear.

-Brian Eno

”KEEP GOING” School of Life piece teaches thoughtful, empathetic, and practical approaches to creating:

  • Gap between what you wanted to make and what you’ve made

  • Forgive yourself for the horror of the first draft

  • Talents will come up to speed with your tastes

  • Work hard. Little by little you will improve

“THE IMPORTANCE OF VULNERABILITY” - School of Life explains the value and practicality of being vulnerable

  • offers connection and respect

  • exchange of sympathy and consolation

  • creates a safe place via the gift of risk given to someone else



I am deeply inspired by artist, designer, protagonist, and braveheart, James Victore. In exploring, investigating, and evaluating my skills during this week’s assignments, I came to a greater familiarity with Victore. I purchased and read his book, Who Died and Made You Boss, a reflection of his work as described by the author but also in service to other designers (and non-designers) to find their voice, to fail, to be brave, to not give a shit as to what others think of your work, and to press on.

His self directed works are some of the most inspiring to me. No one hired him to speak up, speak out, and find a place in this world for his message. He just did it because he felt it was important and needed to be done. One in particular that stands out to me is his work to counter former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani’s MTA campaign to diminish the giving of money to panhandlers and the homeless.

MTA poster for New York’s subway system discouraging the giving of monies to panhandlers and homeless.

MTA poster for New York’s subway system discouraging the giving of monies to panhandlers and homeless.

Victore’s self-published response to the MTA campaign.

Victore was bold enough to appropriate the MTA logo for his poster, and therefore it found its way hanging directly alongside the actual MTA-backed campaign. Brilliant.


Rock, M. (2017) 2x4 Multiple Signatures on Designers, Authors, Readers and Users. New York: Rizzoli.

Brian Eno, Oblique Strategies (2018) Via

Victore, James. (2010) Victore, or, Who Died and Made You Boss?Abrams.