The Kids Are Alright

Barbara Ferguson

CASE District VII Gold Award
"The Kids Are Alright"
Excellence in Design: Editorial Spread

Day Job
Senior Creative Director
University of San Diego

Evening Job
Sleeping designer! Creativity happens even while you are snoring.

Greatest Victory
Never allowing myself to stop learning or limiting my curiosity for creating wonderful design in any area of materials or platforms provided me.

If History Came to Dinner...
Betsy Ross (Why a five point star?)
Carroll Burnett and Tim Conway (I love their talent and creative process and they just make me laugh)
Henry Ford (A great example of persistence, vision, creativity, and business savvy)
Julia Child (someone has to cook, because I surely can’t)

One Word to Describe Yourself
It would probably be two words: “What if?” I am a person who loves to find solutions to things, whether in design or simple life situations. In design, there are endless answers to any project’s needs. And finding those answers are easy as long as you stay open to the creative process. It will work if you stay playful, analyze your solutions from every angle, and continually ask yourself, “What if we did this? Or that?”

Best Practice
As you might expect from a zoo, there are a lot of departments trying to get their messages out to the visitors in the park, everyone thinking their area of educational wealth being more important than the other guy’s factual tidbits on elephants or meerkats. Hence, the art department [at the San Diego Zoo, where I used to work] started seeing an uncontrollable flood of more and more sign requests.

When the competition for space hit its max, art director Bill Noonan brought the zoo back to basics in a morning meeting. “People are not here to see the signs,” he shouted. “They are here to see the animals, and if we ever want them to come back, we had better start making their visit fun and stop blocking their path to the exhibits.”

We need to prioritize our communication systems and blend appropriate information with a fun visual experience. As Bill said, “They are not here to earn their Ph.D. in zoology; they are here to learn something in the context of a fun learning environment. Leave them wanting more and wanting to come back.”