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Graphic Design Can Prevent Hunger

Louise Fili spoke at a conference that I attended in May. She ended her presentation with an anecdote about that illustrated how her graphic design skills recently prevent hunger, albeit on a small scale.

During Ms. Fili’s return trip to the States from Italy, she witnessed a flustered flight attendant getting quite upset when a man couldn’t respond as to whether he wanted to eat fish or chicken. Unable to speak his language or find someone on the aeroplane that could, the flight attendant just tossed the menu card listing the victuals onto his fold-down dining tray and walked away.

Alas, dear readers, have no fear. This was a lucky man! He was about to be “rescued.”

He was sitting next to Louise Fili, and she wasn’t about to let this amiable gent go hungry. She whipped out her pen and drew a cartoonish chicken and simple fish that looked like it belonged on the back of a devout Christian family’s station wagon. The man smiled, understood, and made his selection (chicken). She finished by joking that graphic design may not save lives, but that day she did use her artistic talents to prevent hunger. And it made her feel good.

Which of your graphic design talents have you used to solve problems in a pinch?

For those of you who enjoy anecdotes but are interested in the helpful hints that Louise Fili shared with attendees at the conference, here is a condensed look at my notes from her presentation “From the Convent to the Mob: Why I Switched from Publishing To Restaurants.”

Key ideas to remember when working with clients:

  1. Always give the client 5 or more original concepts to choose from.
  2. Teach your clients a few things about your concepts. For instance, if you choose a triangle shape and used it for a reason, tell them why.
  3. Show your favorite concept in a more refined manner. This will help you sell the idea better because you can show its application and how well it will work in the end run for the client.
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PUBLISHED ON Jul.07.2003 BY joy olivia
joy olivia’s comment is:

During the first five minutes of my very first class in college, my professor made us pull out our rulers and find something on our bodies that measured 1 inch exactly. I thought he was on crack. We all had these "What the hell?" expressions on our faces but we measured away and found our personal 1-inch rulers anyway.

Mine turned out to be quite handy -- from the tip of my thumb to where it first bends at the knuckle is 1-inch.

Since that time I have used my thumb to measure approximate sizes of things on the fly in meetings. I've yet to save a life or prevent hunger with my thumb, though.

On Jul.03.2003 at 10:42 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>Which of your graphic design talents have you used to solve problems in a pinch?

Not exactly problem solving, more on the lines of Fili's anecdote — I kick ass at Pictionary. My drawing skills suck, but I can capture a chicken in one stroke.

On Jul.07.2003 at 09:21 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

It's kind of sad that it took a graphic designer to come up with a simple fish and chicken sketch. Why don't we teach/encourage basic problem solving skills (ie, drawing) in school anymore? (Oh yea...'music, art, theater'...those are considered superfluous 'extras' in our school systems...*sigh*)

On Jul.07.2003 at 09:48 AM
Tan’s comment is:

When I was in college, I worked as a waiter at a couple of restaurants, including the Olive Garden (groan...do not eat the stuffed mushrooms there). Since I could draw, it was my responsibility on shift to draw the evening menu chalkboard. It got me out of cleaning my station and other tedious chores between shifts. Hehe.

Nuthin Earth shattering, but hey.

On Jul.07.2003 at 12:57 PM
joy olivia’s comment is:

Totally unrelated, but I find that wasting my youth playing Nintendo (specifically Tetris) has made me quite good at jamming every last possible dirty dish into a full dishwasher.

On Jul.07.2003 at 02:21 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>wasting my youth playing Nintendo

I read somewhere that they finally did some research on the effects that playing video games has on teens and it was positive. Excellent hand-eye coordination was the biggest beneficial factor. Good multitasking was also noted.

I do believe that my software prowess (not bragging, but I have to admit that I kick major ass when it comes to design software) is an extension of my Nintendo-enhanced youth. I sucked at school, but I have finished each and every video game I have ever bought.

On Jul.07.2003 at 02:33 PM
sena’s comment is:

Graphic design and illustration kept me from getting beat up in high school on a couple of occasions. I was your typical quiet, brainy, bespectacled nerd. But when thuggish jocks saw that I was drawing pictures instead of just reading, they went from "What are you reading, dweeb?" to "Hey, can you draw something for me?" in about 2 seconds.

Now that's the power of graphic design, baby.

On Jul.07.2003 at 03:17 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Yeah, I meant that there isn't a single application that I can't master in an enviously short amount of time. Except PowerPoint, but maybe that's just denial.

On Jul.07.2003 at 03:30 PM
Eric’s comment is:

Tan, first Krull and now this?

when i was 18 and working at Kinko's in SLC, and dirt broke, i used to go to a little yuppie bistro up the block every day and draw the specials on their chalkboards and they'd comp me lunch.

designer feed thyself.

On Jul.07.2003 at 03:56 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Funny Eric.

Hope your comp food was better than mine. Damn I hated working at the Olive Garden. You know what I hated the most -- having to come out singing that stupid, crappy, group birthday song everytime some loser claimed to have a birthday. I think the OG started that asinine, humiliating tradition.

That place is the bunghole of chain restaurants, no matter how much free salad and breadsticks they give you. To this day, I'm so scarred I can't listen to Dean Martin without thinking of that hellhole.

On Jul.07.2003 at 05:40 PM
bryony (mrs. vit)’s comment is:

In my case, illustration was was saved me on this one ocassion.I was in Salzburg with my brother, our las night before going on to Vienna, and we had 2 dlls between us. With my 1.25 I bought a box of pastel colored chalk and went for it with a hugh dragon in the middle on the plaza (of couse my map was next to me, with a few stones holding it in place so people could see my route so far). When business would get slow, my brother would come up see and give me a few of his remaining coins. A couple of hourse later, we had 35 dlls and had one of the best dinners we had when on that trip.

On Jul.09.2003 at 12:23 PM