Inspire Hayward Billboard Competition Winner!
For anyone who didn’t hear, I was a part of a graphic design competition through Cal State East Bay put on by Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center (ODALC) called INSPIRE HAYWARD. It involves getting my work put up on a couple billboards in Hayward and a paid internship at Ameredia in SF. And I won! So all that hard work and stress is paying off. I will post the dates and locations of the billboards as soon as I know.
PS: That billboard is just a mockup to show what my design will look like, the real photo will come soon.
Here’s the full story:
In the beginning, it was a big shock that we even had this opportunity. The other students and I figured that we would just be working on our senior project for the entire quarter. Fortunately for me, Suzy Wear, our professor, had something else in mind. She introduced us to the wonderful folks at ODALC and they offered us this amazing project. Not only would it be a great portfolio piece, but it also gave us a chance to have our work up on huge billboards, get a job shadow, and for the winner, a 2 week paid internship!
Fast forward to a couple weeks later, and I was more confident than ever. I had done a lot of work, taking multiple trips to the Hayward hills to get some photos, working through several renditions of my design, and I was finally starting to feel like I had a good chance of winning.
At the presentation of the designs, I finally became nervous. I hate public speaking. Mostly because I hate trying to recite something I have already written. I am much better at reading the crowd, speaking about things I know well, improvising, and adding bits of humor to keep things light. But when you have it all perfect in your head and you blank, it gets complicated. Anyway, my presentation couldn’t have gone much better. I stood in front of over a dozen judges, some from ODALC, some from other businesses related to this project. I think my story hit home for a lot of the judges. I saw lots of smiles and nods, which helped me feel more comfortable presenting as well.
Immediately after my speech was over, they called for a 15 minute intermission. Which was perfect, because it gave the judges more time to think about me and my design while eating snacks and talking. I also used that time for some quick networking, handing out all of my extra resumes and business cards to the judges. I received many compliments on my attention to detail and great story, which I was glad to hear. After seeing all the designs, I knew I had a good chance.
A while later, I got an email saying that I had been chosen to be in the top 10 finalists, and to show up at ODALC headquarters in Oakland to find out who won. I had made it one step closer to winning.
On the day of the awards, me and my girlfriend arrived early, so we used that time to walk around Chinatown and look for some nice snacks to bring to the ceremony. Once we got back and the event started, they explained the Inspire Hayward project and ODALC’s mission to everyone, and then began the countdown to the winner. As they got closer to number one, I finally got really nervous. For the first time, I considered what would happen if I didn’t get 1st place. I had been so confident for the first time since being a graphic designer, and now I wondered if it would come back to bite me.
As they announced my friend as 2nd place, and my name still yet to be called, it was nearly impossible to stop the smile that stretched across my face. I did it. I won something. Something that meant that I was ready for the world of graphic design. As they called me up and posed for pictures, I was stoked that I had given it my best shot and was rewarded for it.
Now I wait for the billboards to be put up, and wait for mid-June, when I start my internship at ameredia. And I wait for whatever comes after that in my design career.