\ Hi you! My name is Catarina Archer, I’m a Graphic and Media Design student! One year ago, before actually starting my DPS year, with all the internship applications, interviews and enriching talks, I thought of the SIP as something I would only do if I was not lucky enough to enter a company or get an internship. Little did I know I was already planning my SIP, just thinking of it with a different name! A very common thing back in my country, is for people to have a small brand as a hobby/part-time job; I grew up with this concept of having your principal corporate job that would pay the bills at the end of the month, and a parallel brand/hobby for which people work for mostly on weekends, for example in small indoor markets and fairs.
Caravan was born from a mother who had a really big daughter (both in height and weight) and always struggled to find proper child/pre-teenager clothing: All of the children models and collections would never have the sizes for me; and all of the bigger size clothing would come as teenager/women items, that did not make sense to dress a 11 year old with. I’m talking about my mother and I some years ago! While a whole lot of these market’s small brand where either directed to women or to children, like every other clothing brand, Caravan would come as the first pre-teenager directed brand - clothing pieces that would be ok for mother’s to dress their daughters with, that would fit bigger and smaller girls, as well as exciting different style clothing that the girls would also like to wear. It grew up from year to year, since 2013 until last year, when my mother’s partner chose to leave the brand, the event that led my mother and I to decide this was the time to rethink and rebrand Caravan, for what I offered to do right away. Only after some talks and discussing my year out in industry I realized I already had my self initiated project right in front of me, as well as the New agency that had been there since the beginning without me realizing it! As a “designer in progress” as well as so many others like me, the most common thing is to work as a freelancer for friends and family and develop small projects; This way, I caught myself with 3 possible SIP proposals, as beyond the caravan rebranding, I have also been developing the same type of work for two other projects; This made me realize how this type of work is so present in a design student’s/practitioner’s life, yet so forgotten and put aside until it is actually the main source of income. Caravan being my chosen project for my SIP, comes only as a consequence of it being something so personal to me; Even as a kid, I was there from the whole growing process of the brand, being gradually involved in it as I grew up, and always helping with what I could. The fact that the “subject” I am working for is so close to me, and the fact that I still needed to get to know a lot about it, in order to achieve what I wanted for this rebranding, only made it clear how much of a connection I look forward to in every work I do; Design should make things simple and communicate a clear message, something that I was only able to see I needed after reflecting on this project. Comparing it to the other work I developed during my DPS year until now, it’s clear how everything’s much less personal when developed for a company or a big brand, something I would only be able to experience through a SIP, letting me uncover a whole specific way of working and developing projects. Other thing I was able to experience with my SIP was the way I wasn’t kept anywhere because of it; The world is not what it was two years ago and, as much as most people would love to, it is not going back to what it was before. After experiencing home office/school, a lot of people take that as a priority when choosing a place to work/ choosing to stay or not in their company. This has become so frequent on the last year that is now a named phenomenon: The Great Resignation (H. Sachs, 2021) which only shows how important these factors are to the new working generation. Considering the year coming towards me, being my thesis theme so related to the course I’m taking, the emotional connection and non-connection to the projects will help me as a “self case study” in which I can compare how it affects my practice and the communication practitioners in general. With this, it only makes is more obvious how a SIP is something we would never actually think about, unless it is put right in front of us, making the whole difference on our perspective. :)