Simple Truth in simple words

Hello. I’m Nour Zaki, and I interned at Simple Truth this 2019 summer.

Being a part of a creative branding agency like Simple Truth means you get a lot of new information on the daily. It also means you get to experience the laughter and joy of being surrounded by creatives every day. The word “intern” takes on a different meaning here. There’s no busy work — only real work. I get all the great experiences and knowledge as a full-time employee does.

While I wasn’t the intern grabbing coffee and dry cleaning, I did have one intern-specific task: to complete a self-led design project in addition to client work. The guidelines for the project were pretty broad:

“The scope of the project should reflect your overall interests and skills as a designer and demonstrate your experience working as an intern in a Chicago design agency. This could be a photo series, a blog, a print piece, a digital experience — final product is completely up to you. We want you to flex your creativity with this project to develop something that’s uniquely your point of view.”

There were a million different directions I could’ve taken, so I started to think about what this internship meant to me and what it has taught me. Simple Truth provided me with an environment where I could ask questions freely and learn way more than I ever thought I would about design in an internship. As I was gaining all this knowledge I started writing everything down because I truly did not want to forget anything. I was getting such great advice and things to consider in my work:

“Make sure you stay consistent.” – Kim Terzis

“What is our voice and where do we want to go with it?”- Alex Sommerville

“What do you want to do?” – Jerry Logaras

I filled up pages in my journal with inspirational, educational and humorous quotes from everyone in the office. Simple Truth has enlightened me with some timeless pieces of information that everyone should take a moment to remember or relearn — even at a senior level. In order to share what I’ve learned I decided to create a series of designed images that expressed my time at Simple Truth. I liked the idea that the project would help me remember key pieces of information for myself, but also remind everyone the added value we each bring to Simple Truth and the great memories we’ve shared together. In order to kick-start the project I made a mood board expressing my vision.

All images are FPO

My first few weeks at Simple Truth were spent exploring logos for a client, so I was inspired to continue to play with type for this project. My mood board showcased type as the star and kept other elements simple. I didn’t want to add unneeded ornamentation and color, the type needed to speak up for itself.  With an idea and vision in place, the next step was to design!

Initial design explorations

As I began to explore different design concepts, I knew I needed some consistency throughout to make the pieces work together as a series. The font, color and quote information stayed the same on each. I started playing around with different ways to manipulate the type, just to see what I could do and how far I could push it.

I received feedback from different designers in the office which kept reshaping the project in the best ways. Some feedback I received was: be bold, add some illustrations, make the posters demand to be seen and the last piece of feedback that completely transformed the designs was to try to limit myself to a single typeface in order to emphasize the changes and manipulations I’ve made.

Final poster designs

With these critiques I went on to create a final series of 10 images, which I presented to the Simple Truth staff as an installation of posters.

Installation set-up
Presenting process

Some key takeaways I have from completing this project:
• You can learn something from everyone
• The first round doesn’t have to be perfect
• Ask for feedback early on
• You don’t need to have all the answers immediately
• Write everything down. Notes are your best friend
• Step away from the computer and give yourself a break
• Don’t be afraid to try something new
But more importantly, it helped me visualize and encapsulate my time here at Simple Truth.