Writing for a Community of Creatives in Higher Education

Writing for a Community of Creatives in Higher Education
Photo by Emily Bernal / Unsplash

Hello, my name is Kimberly. I am a graphic designer with over a decade of experience in visual communication. The following is an exploration of the community of creatives in higher education and my plans to earn credibility in that community. 

A Designer in a Community of Creatives

When asked what I do for a living, I have always joked that I make things look pretty before I explain what I do as a designer. Graphic design is far more nuanced than arranging written content and graphics to look attractive on a page. Design is a precise art of communication in which designers use visual elements to convey a message. While I have worked in several industries over the past decade and have learned various techniques and technologies, I have adhered to one goal: effective communication. 

The current industry I have found myself in shares the goal of effective communication. I collaborate with a team of creatives in the marketing department for a service unit in higher education. The department communicates benefits and information on online courses and programs to potential students. This team is a combination of two communities: creatives and higher education. 

Earning Credibility in a Creative/Higher Education Community

Due to the duality of the community, there are two areas of credibility that I need to build to gain the trust of my readers. For the higher education aspect of the community, my writing needs to be exact and backed by research, and my sources need to be correctly credited. Due to the ethical standards institutions must adhere to, any content written for a higher education community must be transparent and honest. 

The graphic design, web development, and social media content industries are continually changing. Technologies are improved, and techniques are evolving. Just last week, Adobe, a company that develops an array of programs used by many creatives, held its annual conference. During that conference, Adobe revealed new integrated generative AI tools in its applications and introduced over a hundred new features across its products. What is true today in creative technology may not be true tomorrow. 

Any content I write for creatives needs to be updated often to gain credibility within that community. What I may have written in the past may need to be reevaluated for updates, or I may need to create new content. Writers in this field will also need to be well-informed on the advancement in technology or what may be introduced in the future. Being skilled in creative techniques will lend me some credibility for this community, but I should continue to develop those skills to be relevant.

A Personal Goal for Gaining Credibility

While I may confidently paginate a ninety-six-page magazine or build a digital marketing campaign with few issues, I am still a developing writer. My writing skills are not as finely tuned as my designed skills, so a third area of credibility I need to build is quality writing. In his book Writing Digital Media, Brain Carroll writes, “Readers need little reason not to read further, and this is especially and painfully true online.”

Learning to communicate in a brief and precise language is my goal. Adapting Brian Carroll’s principles of good writing in the first chapter of his book, along with George T. Arnold’s “25 Ways to Improve Writing Immediately,” will go a long way to improving my skills and keep me from miscommunicating information. I’ll be able to create engaging content, and it’ll develop my credibility among my professional community.

Introduction of My Website and Writing Persona

Screenshot of the main page of kimberlymyers.net.

For my technical writing persona, I decided to lean more into the creative part of the community. I kept my website simply my name: kimberlymyers.net. The domain name is flexible and could be appropriate for several types of writing websites if I decide on a different focus in the future. While my initials may have been shorter, I am not a fan of how they look and, as a creative, decided not to use them. Unfortunately, people often misspell my last name; however, in the age of advanced technology and QR codes, I hope to avoid the potential misspelling. Perhaps in the future I will acquire kimberlymeyers.net as well.

I kept my website clean and to the point and included a brief introduction of who I am, what I have accomplished, and my goals for my career. I designed the page with warm colors and bold type to appeal to creatives. I also included skills I have developed as a designer, along with my resume on a different page and a way to contact me.

As I continue to develop my website and digital writing persona, I plan to write case studies to add to the site. Creatives are visual individuals. While I do not want this site to be a portfolio of my designed pieces, I think a visual representation of my technical design skills will increase my credibility with other skilled designers. Case studies would be a perfect opportunity to show my proficiencies while continuing to develop my digital writing skills.

Writing content for an ever-evolving community that adheres to strict academic and ethical standards can be daunting. With time and practice, this is something that I can accomplish. Focusing on improving the quality of my writing and building credibility will help me on that journey.

Works Cited:

Carroll, Brian (2010). Writing for Digital Media. New York: Routledge.

Arnold, George T. (2013). Media Writer's Handbook: A Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems. New York: McGraw Hill.

Kimberly Myers

Kimberly Myers

A graphic designer in higher education specializing in print design working towards a master’s degree in technical and professional writing to produce user-friendly content and designs.
Carrollton, Georgia