Where in the world is Gigi Turner

Wow what a summer.

Life has a funny way of working doesn’t it? And there comes a time when you just give in to a greater purpose and plug along.

Many of you have wondered what I’ve been up to and why I am not teaching this semester, and I must say that it has been a lot.

Upon the end of last semester I was incredibly proud of the students I had taught and felt the amazing energy that the department contained. I had found another area of graphic design I was passionate about. Don’t fear, I have other great ideas for future projects and semesters, but for now, that will have to wait.

This is my summary of my own events and where I am presently.

I have been working directly with Mississippi Public Broadcasting this summer and am enjoying yet another expansion to my portfolio. It is more of a back-to-the-grind pace, but just as we have discussed in my classes, I am having to call upon my skill for organizing many facets of projects, some quick design problem-solving as well as concepting of many projects for various arms of the agency. This all is very gratifying.

I was anticipating teaching the upper level classes this semester but by time limitation I am not. Maybe my blog posts can lend you some interesting feedback and inspiration.

For MPB this summer alone I have created several logos, Art directed a new television show pilot episode (including dressing the set), designed a web site for a new children’s puppet who promotes healthy eating, along with many different press kits and promotional items for that project alone,  and designed a look for a Regional education summit. MPB also has revamped their mission which in turn created a project for a Large corporate display unit that was taken offsite for an event on the coast.  whew!

No wonder I’m sweating.   Wait… I think that’s the 110+ heat index we’ve been living with also.

Now what does this all mean? That I am an abundance of wound up energy? Maybe… but right now it means I am feeling Blessed. Blessed to put the bread on the table while providing other things for my family, and Blessed to be getting all these creative juices flowing again.

Its also amazing how when you are creative in one part of your life you can continue to thrive in others. My personal design business is doing well also. Opportunity knocks and sometimes you have to welcome it for reasons other than your own personal selfishness. Did I want to go back to the grind and not teach at BU? Uh, No. But One thing is for sure, those of you who know me know that my opinion of being complacent is not so good.

I am not and neither should you be. Work hard, and good things will happen, This field is amazing, constantly recreating itself in new ways for each of us. Now check out this logo I created for a radio show at MPB. Most of this is hand drawn.


What? Change the label? Change the look? Change the name???

SCARY, isn’t it?

What was previously known as Belhaven College is creating quite a stir with our new identity. We are now Belhaven University, (and sometimesBelhaven U, or BU. as we have also been hearing.)

The school is having to be very strategic about how the new brand unfolds, and what an absolute blessing for our graphic design students to experience.

In a meeting yesterday, our Chairman Kris Dietrich and I discussed with many others the importance of not losing our core values in all this, and the message about what our University is about.

In classes next semester we are going to really dig in and involve Graphic Design students in the unfolding of the brand.

There are countless details that have to be attended to, and a need to prioritize which are more important and also which changes are cost effective. Ahhhh, the word budget comes into play here. Call it a reality check, all good for the students in our department to see and analyze. There will be a wild ride associated with it so just hold on, because rules and applications will be scrutinized…  Join us to see where all this goes. …gt

Experience = design confidence x10

Recently we had an opportunity in Graphic Design III to do two real projects for REAL living and breathing (yep… they had a pulse) clients.  What an experience for both myself as an instructor and 14 year design veteran, and the students involved in the project. We’ll hear more from them later.

Project 1, was a financial advisor with an amazing way of helping his clients. Wanting to help them to give as well as grow their funds, he is driven to the clients by his faith… and his wanting to help them in every part of their financial life.  It’s amazing that businesses still can run this way, right?

His firm is called Marshall Financial Planning. And he luckily had an idea of his wants/needs before hand. His tag line, is GROW. PROTECT. GIVE.

The project started off with a bang with good thumbnail work (though I always can see more… a-hem!) and conceptual ideas by the students  as well as interactive time with the client in a round table discussion before and at various stages of the project. The students actually presented several ideas each and we walked through the painstaking presentation board setup such as creating pockets for easy access so the client could remove mocked up business cards and see how they would feel in his hands. {Note from the instructor: graphic design is an interactive process, to be touched, held, and emotionally engaged}.

This project went smoothly, only a few things that I hope the students have learned. While I always discuss, and encourage them, I also demand that they go above and beyond expectations. To be honest, in this area we need a little more work. They are designers and should give the client the “wow I would have never thought of that” moment.  I had them also very involved with the estimating process. There is no small task in the overall process of creating for a client.

At this point I think they’ll agree that experience is truly the best teacher. I created this for myself as I was going through classes, and I am excited to guide opportunities like this in the Belhaven Graphic Design program.  I have attached the latest of the chosen logos for Marshall Financial Planning.

This logo below, is designed by Andrew White. I think you will find the concept clear and Marshall Financial will find success for their clients as they teach them to GROW. PROTECT. GIVE.          Stay tuned for Project 2 of this series.

Marshall Financial

Home for the holidays

The holidays are great times.

They can be times of reflection as we travel and head back to old stomping grounds. They are exciting as we think of the scents and colors of the season. But most importantly they are an individual experience.

Many times in class we will discuss design and concepts, and reaching within our own creativity to pull out fresh ideas, but what does that mean to us really?

Well, my take on this is that Design inspiration is EVERYWHERE and you never know where it will strike. Traveling is one of the best ways to re-ignite that spirit because we get out of our own routine and into a fresh set of circumstances.

As you travel this holiday, turn your senses on to patterns, color, and textures of the seasons, whether it be a combination of color in Uncle Paul’s shirt, or the gorgeous colors inspired by nature on our overflowing plates at our holiday meal.

So come back to class with a renewed sense of design, and a new palette too, because the beets you toss, might be an amazing color next to the sweet potato mash in a new design layout {see my headline color combo}.

Oh… and most importantly, give thanks for your talents, your vision and the people that support you in your design endeavors. Safe travels to all.

Give Your Creative Gifts in some way, shape or form this holiday.

The always inspiring holiday season always excites me. Take a look at some of these color combinations and the texture in some of these very simple ideas.

Also look at the staging of their photos.

(I see nice execution for your portfolio)

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With the rush of all the class projects and heavy thinking to make sure we have concept behind our artwork, the constructive criticism weighing heavy on us as we hand in our end of the semester projects, it is fun to work on projects “For Design’s Sake”

The holidays give us lots of visual stimulation, but how many of the cards and notes and gifts we receive truly are well designed??

I often have clients that request holiday cards, and this is a time to let go, and enjoy the creativity that comes along with the real meaning for the season.

After all, the holidays are about giving and sharing, and what better way to give than to share  our God given creative talents as part of a gift to others as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  This holiday, make something, anything and share it with others, you might just save a penny or two as well. 🙂