Inside BHDP: EGD Co-Op Edition – Allyson Shown

Allyson Shown
University of Cincinnati
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
Class of 2022

Q: This is your first co-op—what were your expectations of working in a design agency?

A:  My first expectation was that I would gain insight into the design process from a professional point of view. I also expected to be surprised by the unpredictable things I would learn that would help me problem solve in various scenarios. One thing that surprised me was the variety of projects I was involved in, which helped me develop my graphic design and communication skills.

Q: What was your perception of experiential graphic design (EGD) before working at BHDP?

A: My perception of EGD before working at BHDP was that a lot of installations were wayfinding oriented. I understood EGD as more directional and focused on getting a user from A to B. However, now I see the strong connection EGD has to storytelling.

Q: Was there a moment when your perception of EGD changed?

A: I first discovered the influence of EGD while walking through the office of BHDP during my interview. It informed me of the company’s culture and made me feel that my experience and skills would be valued while working there. The EGD created a visual story of BHDP’s culture, people and priorities.

By working on multiple projects where I had to identify different user paths, I also learned how much consideration there is for the multitude of users in a space. I started to see EGD as enhancing the built environment to educate, stimulate, or celebrate the user.

Q: Did you feel like you were able to explore the spectrum of the design process? Did you enjoy or learn from one part in particular?

A: I enjoyed the beginning of the design process where we worked to understand the client and concept. It allowed me to look at a brand in multiple ways to visually satisfy their needs and taught me about EGD strategies and materials. I learned that a design’s details evolve throughout the whole process because there are so many factors to consider.

I also attended an informative workshop where the EGD team dissected each part of their design process to improve efficient collaboration with other team members. This helped to provide a cohesive language between BHDP’s designers and their clients. Attending this allowed me to understand the density of the design process. There was a lot more breadth to each step than I initially assumed from my experiences thus far.

Q: What advice do you have for BHDP’s future EGD interns?

A: 1. Learn how to set up your files in a collaboration-friendly way so that additional changes are manageable and efficient. This will give you more time for creativity!

2. Your teammates are your biggest resources for learning tips and tricks for design. Take note of tools you aren’t familiar with that members of your team are using. This is a learning experience, so don’t be scared to ask questions and soak up as much information that is beneficial to not only your project at the moment, but possible projects in the future.

3. Be open to experiences and opportunities that you are surrounded by. Whether it be taking a new route to work or going into a shop where you know you won’t buy anything, design inspiration comes from everyday life and exploring. People and spaces can’t be fully understood by looking at pictures on your screen.