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Nick Wenzel, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Consultant – Storytelling & Design

Denver, CO

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I'm a visual storyteller who uses Photo, Video, and Design to create communication that serves & delights folks. I started my career while I was still in college as a Video Production Specialist at Harper College in Palatine, IL. Just before getting my BA from Columbia College Chicago, I was recruited by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to be a designer in their Creative Services Department. I've recently moved from Chicago to Denver to chase after my zookeeper girlfriend of 6 years.

Transcript:

My name is Nick Wenzel, I live in the Denver area, and I do visual and multimedia design for a national health insurance company. 

Question number two: What new skills am I learning in 2020? I spent a lot of time this year working on UI/UX visual sort of stuff. That means that I’ve been spending a lot of time in Sketch. I’ve been sort of working through those WCAG standards: Web Accessibility, color contrast ratios, all the good stuff that makes for an equitable, pleasant digital experience which, given the year around us, is kind of more important than ever. And so yeah, I’ve been brushing up those.

Number two, what new skills, am I learning in 2020? 

I’ve been spending a lot of downtime working through UI/UX visual stuff. That means I spend a lot of time in sketch learning stuff like web accessibility standards, color contrast ratios, what makes for a pleasant, interesting, Useful digital experience and how can you sort of elevate what we see online. Which, given the current state of affairs that we see in our world right now, that’s kind of more important than ever. 

Question number six who’s my favorite designer and why?

I would say that my favorite designer is Aaron Draplin. I know he’s a crowd favorite, but I think what I really appreciate about him is his underdog mentality, this idea that design can serve the people who need it and can benefit from it the most. You know, helping out the little guy with his local stuff, and all that very utilitarian design that has got a lot of heart. It’s something that people remember, and stuff that people are really proud of, and proud to be a part of. And, you know, I come from the Chicago area so that Midwestern grit that he’s got sort of rubs off on me a little bit too. I always appreciate him. 

Question number 10, what career advice would I give to my younger self? 

If I could go back and offer some career advice to myself, I would tell me that you are as legit as people think you are. All that to say that just get started right now. Even if, you know, you’re just starting out with the design stuff or just starting to, you know, dip your feet in with it. Start making stuff all the time, right away, right now. I kind of did that, but I would have went all in, just because it took me a while to disconnect, like, the artistry from the communication. 

You know, Let me, let me re-answer this question. 

Question number 10, what career advice would I offer to my younger self?

If I could go back and talk to my younger self I would tell me that, Really think about design as communication and not just artistry. I spent a lot of time, you know, thinking it was all these tools and effects, and, you know, just looking at it visually and not understanding that you need to tell people something. You need to communicate something through design. I think a lot of my earlier work would have been a lot better if I had realized that sooner. So, yeah, definitely think of designers’ communication, not just artistry.

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