Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dordt Alumni in Design: Jamin Ver Velde

An example of Jamin Ver Velde's forté for Dordt College’s graphic identity and sports promotion.

We recently invited Jamin Ver Velde to be our monthly featured alumni and we appreciate that he took time to send this piece to us. In addition to being the graphic designer on staff at Dordt, Jamin has helped advise students working on Signet, which is Dordt's yearbook. In addition, in 2008, he along with Jamey Schiebout were symposium presenters at Dordt — in an event affiliated with an alumni graphic design exhibition — Editor.

After graduating from Dordt in 1999, I eventually followed Jamey Schiebout (see September alumni post in DC AIGA) in the newspaper business, unknowingly filling his exact position after he moved on. For me, also, it proved to a very appropriate place to get a good start in the graphic design world. Within the weekly routine there was enough variety, creativity, and standard to keep me hungry for more. I was given a lot of latitude in the creative process because of the nature of the industry. Working for the media necessitated the ability to work under non-flexible deadlines and, therefore, minimal approval process. More often than not, the time crunch proved to be more of a stimulus for creativity rather than a hurdle. I was fortunate to work for a rare breed of small town newspaper that valued creative design.

After two and half years in the newspaper industry, I moved into my current full time position at Dordt College working for the Advancement Office in the public relations and marketing sector. After being told that I needed to come on board as soon as possible, I caught up on the work within three days. This was certainly a new (and confusing) situation for me. I sought out more ways to use my interests for the benefit of the college. I saw a need for a much better photo archive and prompted the office to purchase a couple of cameras to enhance the graphic materials while also serving to document the college’s history. I made a very conscious effort to unify the brand identity of all the Dordt materials. I’ve always been a big believer that repetition breed’s familiarity which breed’s trust, so priority number one was to standardize the representation of the Dordt logo.

Within a year and a half at Dordt I had a full plate, so my focus turned from looking for more ways to help out to looking for which ways to help out. I concentrated more on adapting my position and skill-set to evolve as the needs evolved or thought it should evolve. I dabbled in web-related applications such as Flash and Dreamweaver, but realized my passion remained in logos, brand identity, and overall creative direction. My passion for this — inspired me to join forces with the webmaster at Dordt in a new part-time venture where we complemented each other extremely well. Moonlighting as Brand New Graphics, we started to take on side website jobs. I continued to also do print and logo design as well, but the demand for websites quickly took center stage for our business. Today, Brand New Graphics averages about three websites designed and developed every two months. Defining what our business is in one sentence I would say, “We are a creative branding agency built around website development for small to medium businesses.”

Here are two examples of websites designed by Brand New Graphics and indicate the range of clients they have served. Above is the “Timothy” website for Calvin Seminary and a website for the Ridge Golf Club, a public course.

As my career continues to evolve, I’ve been increasingly appreciative of a liberal arts education that recognizes the overlapping spheres of academia and knowledge. As a graphic designer and small (okay, very small) business co-owner I regularly draw upon business and marketing principles, psychological considerations, social situations, English and creative writing, public relations, and others. The older I get, the more I know I really don’t know. I truly cherish learning more every day, and still look forward to going to work every single day.

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