Leah Sikes

Designing on the Danube

Vienna Wrap-Up

My trip is really over. I mean, I haven't actually flown off on a plane back to Oklahoma yet, but I have finished up my work for EEM and I am all packed, and have said several of my goodbyes (sad face). 

So, now that I am done, I thought I would give a little recount of the work I did during my time with EEM. 

When I arrived, I was expecting to do more internal work for EEM, but I ended up doing more external work for the churches they work with and have close contacts with. I ended up working for people in four different countries: Austria (Graz + Vienna), Croatia (Varazdin), Slovenia (Maribor) and Russia (St. Petersburg).

It is seriously cool to be able to say my work has stretched across the globe like this. Not many designers have those bragging rights. 

Within EEM, I worked on basic work they typically do, including helping keep the editing process of their different book translations going while others were out of the office (not the most exciting work, but still important).

I also got to work on designing a book cover and doing the complete layout of a coffee table type book written by a man in Croatia. Once the book has come to fruition, I'll have to post more about it and the completed design. This was a fun project for me - I love books, and although I cannot actually read this one (it's in Croatian), it's great to get to work on one so closely. Plus I learned SO much about shortcuts and little things to make working in InDesign easier, thanks to my coworker!

For some of the external work with the different places I mentioned, I spent a lot of my time working on a website for a church in Graz, and therefore got to spend a lot of time in Graz. I even attended the church one Sunday. You can check out the completed website here: wirsindchristen.at (logo design not mine).

I think one of my favorite projects to do was a logo design for St. Petersburg - Church on the Neva. The church gave me free reign and said they wanted a complete refresh. I had a few guidelines, and wishes from the clients to keep in mind, but I got to really be creative with this one.

I found out that it is actually really difficult to work on a logo and try to make it really creative without knowing the language or how the letters work. The struggle I had was not being able to truly incorporate the words into the logo, and they continually felt like an afterthought - kind of because they had to be, because I don't speak or read Russian. However, I am still happy with the final solution and the option they chose to be their new logo.

For the churches in Croatia and Maribor, I worked on a couple different projects, including putting together a "crash corse" in design so the people working for the Croatian church would be able to stand on their own and create, which is what I really realized they needed when I went and visited them. 

That was an interesting project... I was forced to think about the rules of design and fundamentals I had learned during my time in school, which is kind of strange, because often the things we do every day become second nature, making them difficult to write about or explain to others. It was nice to kind of re-think everything, it even was a little refresher for me.

I also wrote a little article for EEM about my internship - you can read it here: https://www.eemeurope.org/an-internship-in-vienna/.

This was truly an amazing experience. I worked with some great people, both in the office and outside, and earned valuable experience that is just not anything I would have gotten anywhere else. 

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