The Blog

2011 Faculty Portfolio: The Process

Recently, I had coffee-time with Otterball-founder / Centresource’s Creative LeadJason Jones. We were discussing visual style, job requirements, and a recent interviewee he had. It sparked a conversation about exceeding expectations and nailing the core competencies of a role before even stepping into it. It sparked thoughts about this faculty portfolio, as it seemed to leave an impression with him. It was really encouraging.

So, I decided to post a more concise look into it.

I started working in education in 2005, just shortly after graduating with my Bachelors of Art. It was a small private school with combined age-group classrooms and seemingly unrealistic expectations and hats to wear. I learned a lot. I’ll never forget the amazing students and faculty I worked with there.

Education is one of those things that, in fact, a lifestyle. We forget that. We forget that we cannot stop learning. Once we do, we become stale, irrelevant, and possibly workplace-soft and relationally callous to others. My goal is always to keep one foot in the industry, one foot in the classroom and BOTH hands in my work at all times.

In light of that, I recently took the opportunity to apply for a local design school, looking for an opportunity that fits my career goals.

Regardless of the not-yet-determined outcome, I viewed it as an opportunity to continue the traditional STVEN way, going a bit over the top and infusing my visual and verbal language and style into something that could have been seemingly boring, lame, and possibly unenjoyable to view: A Faculty Application.


I started with the requirements of the application, turning them into the table of contents. Much of the requirements were samples, and assembling files, which needed to be sent in via a non-returnable CD/DVD.

Instead, I envisioned one document where you could seamlessly view the samples, yet still have the option of downloading them. My vision immediately culminated in an editorial-style, interactive PDF. I even emailed the provided contact, asking if this was acceptable. They agreed, and said they looked forward to my submission.


I created a cover that reflected my idea for the post-filling a chair / position. It seemed fitting. From there, I created elements and articles that made sense. I downloaded various e-magazinesDesktop, GANT (fashion), GQ France, Rebel, and Rolling Stone to get inspired. I also peeked at HOW, as I always do. Pentagram did theirs, so there were cues I wanted to remind myself of. I took the most inspiration from Desktop, as I loved their table of contents and articles spreads.

From there it truly was letting the content do the talkingwhat were the titles going to be? What were the things that I needed to ensure I communicated? From there, I selected imagery that was close-up, soft+fuzzy focus, as this style best reflects my visual style.

I used the STVEN masthead, and kept my select typefaces tight and circulated their various styles, to create consistency and familiarity. With Avenir as my body copy, I aimed to keep it highly polished, tailored to stand the test of time, and reflective of my overall expectations to be classic, yet modern.

As I think about the type of candidate I want to hire, I want to know how they think, how they interact with others, and how their wired. So, included both a DISC and Myers-Briggs personality assessment profile, briefly sharing major ways that my personality functionsthings that are crucial in the workplace, like “high expectations of self and others,” as well as “extroverted, yet highly sensitive.”

To top it off, I included my results from StrengthsFinder 2.0, aiming to give a preview of how I think and achieve the most success and satisfaction. While people are often viewed in light of their experiences, education, and even possibly their reputation, I can’t imagine a more important factor than how people think.

That’s one thing that you can’t teach.


I received an email from Watkins, thanking me for the thorough, create, and very green application. “After careful consideration by the committee, we regret to inform you that we are not considering your application for this position. We have saved the pdf and plan on keeping it for our files if needs arise in the future.”

I appreciate their professional consideration and look forward to what’s next.
As my friend Katie says, “It just means you take your toys and play somewhere else.” Thanks Katie. That’s a great way to look at it.

Design A Better Nashville


Last year, Stven completed his MFA in Media Design, creating a campaign for the Civic Design Center, entitled “Design a Better Nashville.”

The campaign focused on communicating with communities how their neighborhoods are becoming more beautiful, functional, and sustainable via print, web, interactive, as well as event event materials.

Discover how Design A Better Nashville tells neighborhoods the story of how they’re becoming more beautiful, functional, and sustainable by viewing the design book.

Design Star Season 6 Auditions


When it comes to opportunities, you can’t get into trouble when you take them.

January 15th marked the cap for Design Star Season 6 Auditions, and in addition to trip to Atlanta (and a stay at W hotel), Staeven submitted a stellar application, designs, and created an additional video too.

Stven\’s HGTV 2011 Audition Video