Tell us why you're the best applicant in under 50 words
My dedication to personal growth and education has helped shape me into a thoughtful creative; I’m interested in expanding my design reach and learning what I can’t get in a classroom. I’m ready to experience those failures you must encounter to understand how good design is felt by others.
Give us your bio in under 500 words
I’m Sierra Hunter and I’m currently studying Visual Communication Design at the University of Kansas. My favorite parts of design include publication, branding, and typography; my favorite parts of life include iced coffee, hiking, and dream apartment hunting. I would say I’m a true INFJ (Myers Briggs Personality Test) meaning I value deep thinking and feeling, and strive to create meaningful connections with those around me. I highly value my educational process and how it can help lead me through my personal mission.
I would say that I have been the “creative friend” my whole life, which is what led me to design. Growing up my mom told me I was the kid who always asked “Why?” to quite literally everything; I was interested in how the world worked, why things have to be the way they are, and why things can’t be changed. I would say I still carry that mindset with me today, always questioning and creating better solutions. That lust for more and passion to create connections is what I believe makes me a good designer.
1. What's the most courageous thing you've ever done?
I believe taking a gamble on myself and pursuing design as my degree in college has been one of the most bold things I’ve done. As a senior I am still putting in my 10,000 hours to become an “expert”, but it is this process I need to become a better designer and a better human. All creatives could have very easily picked a more stable career, one that has a clear path, but we all took a chance on ourselves to follow what personally motivates us.
2. How are creativity and innovation related?
The society we currently live in is changing so quickly every day that we must learn how to stay creative and innovate in order to adapt to anything thrown our way. Creativity is not something that comes easily to most people; many people get comfortable in the way things are and can fear innovation. Creative solutions that lead to innovation are how we can continue to grow as people. For me, my education has helped me shape my creative process and learn how to better problem-solve… but I am always up for a challenge and trying to find new ways to be innovative. I’m a strong believer that it takes uncomfort to grow as a person. For me, my next step needs to be somewhere I don’t know in order to help me grow as a creative.
3. Why do companies need clarity and creativity?
With so many small businesses and the growing importance of social media, it is important for companies to be creative in their products and outreach as well as offer clarity to their customers of their business practices. Now more than ever people want to believe in the mission of the companies they spend their money at; they want intentional designs and a trustworthy experience. A company I believe does this well is Patagonia. While still a large brand, they speak to their audience on a personal level, create their products using feel-good materials, and are transparent about the money they make and donate to various causes. Through using creativity and clarity they stand apart from their competitors as well as create a wholesome company users feel proud to support.
4. You have 30 minutes of free time. What do you do with it?
I’m assuming if I have 30 minutes of time, I’m needing a creative break. Something that will help me relax and turn off the front part of my brain for a few minutes so I can go back to being creative with fresh ideas. I would most likely go for a small drive or walk (depending on the weather) to take myself out of my room and into a new space. Most likely I would FaceTime a friend just to get whatever is on my mind out into the world and be able to connect with someone I may have not heard from for a while. It is important for me to take small moments to talk to my friends and step away from being a designer so that I’m able to remember what’s most important to me.
5. What is one risky and bold goal in life you have? Or, if you could dedicate your life to solving one problem, what would it be?
One problem that I would like to help solve is the way our current education system does not often foster creativity or help kids see the value of learning. It has been proven that more homework does not create more educated kids, but rather can lead to faster burnout. Many kids get so tired with school that they start to believe education is a lost cause. Many kids find their creativity being punished or are pushed towards traditional careers. In the future I could see myself going back to school, either as a college professor or to get a degree in teaching, so that I could become that teacher (that I think a lot of designers had) that helps kids know that learning and education does not have to be a terrible thing. These are the teachers (I can think of mine) that push us to become better overall human beings. The more people that find their creative outlet or go on to pursue their passion, the better I believe our society as a whole can be.
6. Explain your creative process
For this question I’ll walk you through the process for Old State Bagels. For this project I was assigned three random words (modern, rebellious, and patriotic) and was asked to create a restaurant that contained these three elements. To be honest, I was at first stumped on how to include patriotic since I haven’t been feeling very patriotic over the last few months due to the current events. This is where I started my research process to collect information about the general topic as well as collect visual inspiration. Flickr Commons is a common place I like to start to try and get ideas from older images rather than starting somewhere like Pinterest or Behance that can filter a lot of what is popular right now. Next I created word association lists and came up with names for my three concepts: Everything (inspired by everything bagels, most modern take), ZAPS! (inspired by comic strips, most rebellious take), and Old State Bagel (inspired by the Liberty Bell, most patriotic take). From here I created sketches (on grid paper of course) that I eventually moved into the computer. I built out three distinct visual directions that I got to present to a panel to designers to get critiques and pick a direction to move forward with. Once the final direction was picked I created a packaging system, employee uniform, signage, menus, and though about how this would all feel in an actual space. By creating a kit of parts at the beginning I was able to easily flesh out how this brand would “speak” on various applications. This process obviously inclined many critiques which I believe is one of the most important parts; constructive criticism can help you see the details that need fine-tuning when you have been staring at the work for too long. It also helps at times to step back, collect yourself, and then go back in when you are ready with a fresh mind.
7. What is the best advice that you have been given?
My freshman year, my illustration teacher (Kent Smith) explained to us that over the next four years (and beyond) we would be putting in our 10,000 hours before we become an “expert” in design. While not a new concept, the way he told us reminded us that it is okay to be human, to make mistakes, and to accept each step and set-back as part of your 10,000 hours. Whenever I feel upset with how a project turns out or maybe a little burnt out while working from home, I remember this is part of my creative journey to becoming an “expert” (however I don’t believe I’ll ever stop learning what it means to be a creative).
8. What is your definition of creativity?
Creativity is taking a little bit of that child-like wonder with us wherever we go. Being able to use our imagination to create original ideas that challenge the conventional. Continuing to question why we work the way we do, follow the “normal”, and push beyond what is expected is what keeps us creative.
9. What 10 songs are on your favorite playlist right now?
Playlist: sfh (school from home)
Nostalgic by ARIZONA
See Through by The Band CAMINO
Ivy by Frank Ocean
Still Feel by half alive
My Ex’s Best Friend by Machine Gun Kelly (ft. Blackbear)
Coffee by Quinn XCII (ft. Marc E. Bassy)
Makeup Drawer by Issac Dunbar
Golden by Harry Styles
Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
Hallucinogenic by Matt Maeson
10. How do you want people to remember you?
I want people to remember my kindness and see me as someone easy to be friends with. Someone with a lot of drive and ambition, hopefully enough to motivate those around me as well. Someone who is passionate to create connections and have thoughtful interactions with those around me. And maybe most importantly, someone who is creative and strives to ignite change, whether that be a small change or a big change I’m not sure yet. But someone who has their heart set on creating good change in the world around them.
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