A few words with Monina

Monina Velarde Competing at Command X at Make/Think in memphis.

Monina is a recent graduate from our very own KCAI design department, and last week she competed in the AIGA conference "reality show" Command X. After winning, she was nice enough to sit down with me to share her experience and inspiration.

Q: Wow, I get the first official interview… lets start with the application process. What did you have to do?
A: The application process was pretty simple. All the contestants had to turn in 5 samples of our best work accompanied by a short essay of about 150 words.

Q: Can you explain your design process once you've received the assignments?
A: For the first assignment (redesign the Graceland logo), all the contestants had about six days to work on it. With that time, I had the chance to really do some research on Graceland and Elvis Presley and to create multiple variations of my logo. With the second and final assignments, the time frame was a lot tighter. We had less than 24 hrs. to provide a design solution, so I had to quickly think of a concept and visual direction and just go with it.

Monina and her design for round 2.

Q: What was it like presenting your work in front of 1,500 people?
A: It was really terrifying for me at first. Mostly because the judges and the people in the audience are designers that I really look up to and admire. I just wanted to do my best.

Q: So, I have to ask. What was the very first thing you thought when you won?
A: I couldn't believe it. I thought "is this really happening?" My whole body went numb. I haven't felt that kind of numbness in my life. It was so weird. It was also probably because I was really tired.

Q:Alright... so everyone wants to know. What was Chip Kidd like behind the scenes?
A: He was nice! All the judges were extremely supportive and encouraging. They really helped us to feel comfortable before going on stage and presenting our work.

Q: What will you take from this experience?
A: Knowing that anything is possible. This experience was very challenging and I wasn't really sure if it was something I could do. I'm really thankful for the education that I got, though. Everything I learned in school came in handy in terms of concepting, executing and presenting.

Q: Do you have any advice to design students?
A: To work really hard, read, experiment, ask questions and to find something that you are really passionate about. With Command X, I was lucky enough to be compete with 6 incredibly talented young designers. It's really inspiring to know that there are so many talented young designers out there. It makes me excited for the future of design.

Monina's winning concept!

Monina winning Command X!

and you can read more about Monina and Command X with felt and wire.