Way back in September, a young woman from the University of Florida’s graphic design program emailed us to ask if R&R would be interested in hosting 45 students who would be participating in the program’s annual voxGraphis trip in November. In her email, the student wrote about loving our values and culture and how she thought it would be a unique opportunity for her peers to see how work, atmosphere and people play a role in creating good design. Flattery will get you everywhere.
But, seriously, beyond her kind words about our shop, we are an office of Gator grads, with the exception of one (it’s OK, Heather, we still love you), and with three hailing directly from the graphic design program. Plus, who wouldn’t want to drop some knowledge, share some fun and give back to a college and community that made us the women and the business we are today?
Let the Planning Begin
We were the last visit on the group’s two-day trip, so we had a lot to compete with — lack of sleep, smartphone addiction (texting, snapchatting, insta, oh my) and information overload courtesy of multiple other agencies. However, we were prepared with caffeine, tons of sugar and a boatload of enthusiasm.
As I mentioned earlier, there were two decks and two outlines, meaning there would be two presentations going on separately. For those of you who have been to our 1,400-square foot office, you know that this was logistically the only way we could fit that many people comfortably into our space. Plus, it was helpful to divide and conquer content and teams.
Dropping Some Knowledge
So what kind of knowledge did we drop on these students? True to form and reflecting what originally attracted the voxGraphis group to us, we focused on our culture: how R&R came to be, our values, our target markets, our process and how we use all these things to create an environment and a brand where happy designers reside and clients are happy to return.
My guess is that if you asked the students what we talked about, they’d likely say relationships, hard work and staying true to your brand (personally as well as organizationally). And, to be honest, if they filled their notebooks with doodles about making connections and engaging authentically with people, I’d consider the entire experience a bigger success than I could have even imagined. Because, at the end of the day, our awesome sauce goes beyond the planned discussion we had in our decks. It’s based on wasn’t planned and what can’t be duplicated: the honest, from-the-heart words that came to us in the moment.