How to SHINE in Design: Spark Relationships

SHINE is a four-month mentoring program designed to fertilize the career growth and professional success of emerging designers. Mentors and mentees will come together and work hand-in-hand to identify the mentee’s career goals and aspirations. Then over the next four months, mentors will provide advice and guidance as they show their mentees the ropes. AIGA DC is accepting applications for SHINE through Dec. 2. Read more about SHINE and apply here.

Not sure what to expect? We’re sharing some testimonials from SHINE mentors and mentees, so you can hear what real designers gleaned from this program.

Mentor: Jennifer Beel | Mentee: Debbie Rappaport

Starting a career is hard. Switching careers is hard. Pursuing new career opportunities and advocating for your own career growth is hard. Asking for a raise or for more responsibility is hard. Deciding whether to accept more responsibility is hard. Figuring out what type of work you like, what you don’t like, and where you excel is hard. Being a professional — no matter the field — is hard.

AIGA DC’s SHINE mentoring program recognizes how hard it can be to start your career path in a creative field, and they see a way to help. By matching experienced creative professionals with designers just beginning their careers, SHINE provides a venue for support, guidance and shared learning.

For us, the SHINE program was a wonderful experience, because we both took it seriously. We invested time in building our relationship as mentor and mentee by meeting weekly — talking about our career paths, our interests, our goals, our work processes and our lives. We discovered that mentoring is a reciprocal relationship, and that we both had something to offer the other. We supported one another through challenges and successes at work and in our personal lives, and we found that we work together well.

As part of the SHINE program this year, mentors and mentees were asked to do a project together. We really liked the idea of collaborating on the project as a team, just as we would if we worked together in an organization or agency. We specifically selected a project we thought would allow mentee Debbie to build out areas of her portfolio and show her versatility.

“Glasses for Good”
Since we both come from the non-profit world, we decided to create a fictitious organization that needed branding materials to promote and support their mission. Instead of identifying an issue that we were familiar with, we selected something completely different: donating used eyeglasses to people in the developing world. We named the organization “Glasses for Good.”


We made up everything — from mission statement to target audiences to messaging. We collaborated by taking turns working on elements of the project: typeface selection, color palette, concept sketches of the logo treatment, photo research and more. One of us would work on a draft layout of the poster, then send it to the other to push it to the next level. We went back and forth during the week, then met to finalize decisions.

We completed four pieces for “Glasses for Good”: a poster, an advertisement for use in print and online, a direct mail postcard and a mock-up of a donation box for glasses. The foundation of what we created can be built upon over time, and Debbie can include new pieces in her portfolio.

SHINE sparked a relationship that will continue after the program ends. We both had fun and are proud of what we accomplished together. Thank you, SHINE, for creating a welcoming space for leaders and emerging creatives to come together. It was a truly rewarding experience.

By Jennifer Beel and Debbie Rappaport
Published November 17, 2016