The Study of People is an Art

The Study of People is an Art
June 24, 2015 by Jenny Poff

Ever see a career path padfolio? It’s created when you are a senior in high school. I don’t remember what it was for or who it was meant for – but it pulled all my entrepreneurship growth and exploration journey into a new perspective.

This letter talked about my dream of being an anthropologist, digging into the past, finding fossils, exploring. And I clearly remember what shifted my mind, my mother. She asked me, “do you want to live your life eating out a can and not having secure work, or do you want to be able to provide for yourself with the little things like food in your fridge and clothes on your back?”

At the time I was very comfortable living at home with my parents at age 18, and very much an only child.

I took the safe road and declared a major in art for graphic design. And with my parents’ entrepreneurial support, I have been doing decent as a solo for the past 8 years.

But what has peaked my interest the most about this letter is it recall of how I loved to observe how things are – anything, but mostly I love observing people. How they talk, move, get angry, sad, or in love. It reminded me of how I loved to draw eyes. It sounds creepy, but there’s so much emotion that the muscles around the eye can display. This reminds me of how I used to want to be a medical illustrator – the science behind understanding how muscles, nerves, and tissue all work together and then translating that into not just a piece of art but into an important images to be used by scholars and doctors. That’s intense.

But as I lay here flooded with images of my past (I also found yearbooks and my lettermen’s jacket) I remember how amazed I was by people and that observation and that tenacious character of mine to be curious how people make decisions, react, move, talk, respond, etc. I love studying people and have done so since I was a kid. Even just watching the golfers on the driving range and the range of motion of the swing.

My years of documenting people and how they live, along with my creativeness and plethora of experiences in the advertising world make me a very unique candidate to entrepreneurs. But why?

I recently shared a quote to my fellow creativepreneurs when we were sharing the struggle of what to blog about as creatives.

“People don’t care about the labor, they just want to see the baby.” (Sam Harrison, Idea Selling)

But if you are a prospective client, or you are looking for a creative partner here is why you should care about the labor.

I’ve been studying people, history, consumer behavior for decades and comparing to the design and communications business put out to the public.

I ask a lot of questions because how you think of your consumers is different from other clients that share the same target audience. I have a collection of target audience profiles from the vast array of experiences I have had being “just the designer”.

I have been in meetings and consultations and brainstorming sessions and just private conversations with account reps, marketing professionals, human resources, production, to attorneys all trying to get in front of the same audience to do business.

I have had personal art teachers and apprenticeships that weren’t just about how to draw a still life but how to express something from within that still life. Why is the flower wilted, where is the light coming from, why is there an old tethered book, what a half empty or half full glass, and so on.

I’ve had personal guided tours in art museums where we would break down the composition to the smallest iconic representation.

I’ve have seen the clients who appreciate and respect intentional design to communicate to their consumers flourish over the ones who “just want a trifold brochure” because they think that will be their prize-winning tool to capture new business.

I may not have moved forward with my dream of being an anthropologist. But I get to study all aspects of business and mostly drawn to how consumers react (or not) to the world that’s put in front of them and how they apply those observations to my clients when they are wanting to grab the attention of their target market.

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Meet Jenny Poff

Jenny an independent consultant who specializes in marketing, branding, and graphic design. She partners with business owners and nonprofits as their out-of-house marketing manager to relieve their time and stress of DIY marketing by amplifying their advertising with expert strategies for unparalleled results

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