My Coloring Contest Past

When I was a kid I won a lot of coloring contests. You know, the ones that shopping centers and grocery stores would have throughout the year with little gift-certificate prizes? I won so many from the Save-A-Lot down the street that they knew me by name. I once won a $2,000 scholarship and a trip to Disney World from two national coloring contests. Now, I wasn’t necessarily a gifted ‘colorer’ nor did I use special techniques or expensive crayons; the real reason I kept winning was that I had found the secret to coloring contents. It was being unique. If a holiday scene had a Christmas tree, I’d add little birds with garland. Bear on the moon? Color it like he was really under the sea.

I realized early that it was less about staying within the lines and more about finding a unique or creative way to approach a project. It’s a lesson that I was lucky to learn early, and then basically spend the rest of my life trying to perfect. As an experienced designer now, I know that there is an absolute necessity for design solutions to be as engaging and effective as possible. I’ve seen the power that well conceived and properly crafted design can have on projects and why it’s so vitally important to get it right. When I look back at my coloring contest days I see a time, even then, when looking at a project in a new way was the key, and I feel like that is a lesson that has guided my hand on many design projects throughout my education and career.


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