"Emotional Intelligence and Intercultural Readiness: Worthy Content for Your MHA Leadership Course"
Commission for Dr. Joan Murdock of the College of Allied Health Sciences.
On the evening of Thursday, June 6, 2019, there was a job posting on the Cincinnati Graphic Designers Facebook page, for a contract for a University of Cincinnati professor, set to start immediately and with an imminent completion time. Already there were queries and responses and yet, despite the odds, I submitted to the liaison of the commission my candidacy. He supplied me with the phone number of the professor, Dr. Joan Murdock, to whom I texted my interest and candidacy. Despite the high volume of interest, I was the one chosen and we agreed to start the project the very next morning.
The Uphill Battle
I arrived at Dr. Murdock's house the next morning and was shown a vast amount of notes and PowerPoint slides. She told me this was typically a task that would entail two months of work, but tragic circumstances had set the project back and a specialized hand was needed. Though somewhat intimidated, I set to work.
The initial dimensions we attempted was 96" by 48", which turned out to be a retroactive odd choice, as it was huge, cumbersome and not easy on my pitiful little 2015 HP (don't laugh) laptop. The majority of our time was spent transcribing the pages of instructor notes and student quotes, to add flair to the whole thing. Though copywriting is a source of my freelance income, this was still a tremendous task.
A further issue that arose was that we did not have access to the internet at Dr. Murdock's house, so we went to Panera Bread, where I ate a grilled cheese sandwich, while adding all the many necessary elements from online sources and PowerPoint slides. Dr. Murdock requested that either caricatures or stock images of graduate students. It was at this point that Dr. Murdock felt exhaustion from the arduous task and decided to close the book. I, however, had hope that we could complete the task, as we were closer to completion than I believe she realized.
At around midnight, Dr. Murdock contacted me and told me she had a change of heart and wanted me to complete the task. Delighted, I took the liberty of painting caricatures of three individuals I know, all of whom were of different ethnic backgrounds and feature unusual proportions.
Dr. Murdock and I met up the next morning at Panera Bread, for more grilled cheese and professional success. Dr. Murdock saw the caricatures and was absolutely delighted, as they were not overly-detailed, yet were still identifiable as ordinary people. I transferred the contents of the gigantic poster onto a much more efficient 48" by 36" one. After reshaping and streamlining it, the best part came, when it was time to add some artistic flair.
I first added speech bubbles for the student quotes and for good measure, stained the backdrop yellow, to reflect on the printing imperfections akin to old comics. For the segments of information, I decided to give each a black border, with backgrounds of barely-defined shapes - to give moment to the whole thing. I watched as Dr. Murdock's grin spread wider and wider as we approached completion. She, however, had to head out for a family emergency, so it was up to me to complete it and submit it to FedEx for printing.
As one final detail, I requested that Dr. Murdock allow me fifteen additional minutes, to give the plain red background its own flair. She consented and after a few minutes of taking inspiration from misprints and looking to emulate and improve upon the standard University of Cincinnati branding constraints, I had a background I was proud of.
After sending in the order to FedEx and delivering the files to Dr. Murdock's email, I took a nap, after two days filled with hard work. I was awoken by Dr. Murdock calling to let me know that her and the department were overjoyed by the final product.
I went back to sleep, happier than I had been in a long time.