Introducing The John Arciniega Scholarship Fund

It’s been 25 years since 1997.

(A few of us here had to take a minute to process that one, too.)

In 1997, West Edge Collective‘s Managing Director Chad Willett was a “young, trouble-making high school student” at Cheyenne’s East High School. He dug art and design, and he was good at it. 

Growing up, Chad came from a working-class background and couldn’t always afford to dream big. The idea that going to school for art, let alone working in a creative field, didn’t even register on Chad’s radar.

John Arciniega Scholarship Program. 

Enter Mr. Arciniega, Chad’s art teacher at East High.

Mr. Arciniega saw Chad’s raw talent and pushed him to enter the Wyoming Art Symposium, through which Chad was awarded a scholarship to the Art Institute of Colorado.

Not only did Chad get to go to school for art, he also made his career in the creative field—and it all began with Mr. Arciniega’s consistent support and encouragement.

Today, we’re honoring him with the John Arciniega Scholarship Program. 

The John Arciniega Scholarship Program, funded by West Edge Collective, was created to serve young individuals living in Laramie County who wish to pursue a career in graphic design, digital media or visual arts. 

This fund will go on to give students ages 16-20 the opportunity to explore, learn, grow and determine their own creative paths, with just a little help and support along the way. 

CHAD WILLETT

Managing Director, West Edge Collective

HOW FUNDS MAY BE USED

The scholarship program is intended to provide monetary support to students who are pursuing higher education in their related creative program at an institution of their choice.

Educational programs could include any of the following (but are not limited to): 

  • 4-year university
  • 2-year community college
  • Trade school

If an applicant feels that they have a related resource they would like to have considered for funding through the program, they should contact West Edge Collective’s Community Development Manager to verify before applying.

IMPORTANT DATES TO KNOW:

Application is open from February 18 to March 25, 2022

Awards will be announced at the All-City Art Show on April 8, 2022

AWARD AMOUNTS

West Edge Collective has set aside a total amount of $10,000 for this program, and will divide that amount into three awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. 

  • 1st place will receive $5,000
  • 2nd place will receive $3,000
  • 3rd place will receive $2,000

7 Years Ago Today, We Were a Start-Up

We asked our founder and managing director: If you could go back to the day we opened and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?

He said:

“The future is bright; let go of the past. Look forward, and once you’ve executed, look forward again. Don’t get stagnant.”

Chad Willett

Managing Director, West Edge Collective

Since the day we opened our doors, we’ve gone from a team of three people working on cardboard boxes and at kitchen tables; to a full team collaborating in a real physical space; to a whole building of creatives in the heart of the West Edge.

Our core team of less than 10 has steadily grown to a team of 20+, all working together to create really cool, innovative, tech-driven design for our clients.

At our core, we’re still a lot like our first few months.

That spirit of entrepreneurism we followed in the early days is still burning bright, leading to innovation and exciting new pathways in our local economy.

As we’ve grown, we’ve always made time to check in with our core values: The principles we established to ensure we’re here for the right reasons, and that our work aligns with that, too.

For example, we “Help When We Can Help” by engaging with and mentoring the next generation of creatives in our local community, including students at the Cheyenne Boys and Girls Club, Cheyenne high schools, Laramie County Community College, and the University of Wyoming.

We’re far beyond the start-up phase now, but our spirit of entrepreneurism is still going strong—and our recent announcement of The Railspur is a prime example of that.

(And let’s be honest: If you know us, you know The Railspur isn’t the last entrepreneurial project we’ll embark upon.)

By the way: When it comes to supporting entrepreneurs, support is about more than making a purchase. In the spirit of celebrating the entrepreneurial spark, give your favorite local businesses (or concepts) a “like,” a share, or a follow.

Entrepreneurship Week: Feb. 12-19, 2022

West Edge Collective Community Engagement Manager and fellow entrepreneurs speak on LCCC panel

National Entrepreneurship Week celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship: The very passion that inspires business owners to follow their dreams, solve a problem, and/or make the most out of the lifestyle they want to live.

Earlier this week, our own Community Engagement Manager Desiree Brothe took part in a panel at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) to speak about her experience as a small business owner.

A great takeaway from the panel: People often talk about supporting small businesses, but it’s important to remember that support doesn’t always have to be a purchase. Support comes from a “like,” a share, a follow, a quick congratulations, etc.

Remember: With every post, email, or other interaction, an entrepreneur is putting themselves out there, and your acknowledgment is assurance that one more person is paying attention to what they have to say.

Thanks to Minden Fox and the LCCC Entrepreneurship Program for inviting me to take part in Entrepreneurship Week. It was great to see so many familiar friends and colleagues. These are important projects for our city and our community to support and get involved with.

Desiree Brothe
Owner, Magpie Creations | Community Engagement Manager, West Edge Collective

Here’s your chance to show your support for the Cheyenne entrepreneurs who joined Des on the panel!

Stop by their websites to learn more about what they do, find and follow them on social media, and be sure to “like” and share their posts.

To learn more about National Entrepreneurship Week, visit the sites below:

The Importance of Brand Standards

Brand standards, brand guidelines, brandards, style manual, style guides…no matter what you call them, brand standards matter.

Brand standards are a set of rules and guidelines that protect the look and feel of your organization. It provides a standardized approach to creative work in order to uphold the integrity of the brand. Simply put, the brand standards are far more important than the logo itself.

The top reason brand standards are important – consistency. Brands that aren’t consistent can seem messy, untrustworthy, and unlikeable. The brand is the face of the company and pulls a lot of weight in reassuring customers that they have made the right choice in trusting their business with said company.

So what is included in the brand standards manual? The answer is, it varies. These guides range from basic guidelines to extremely thorough rules with concrete examples of what the brand is and is not supposed to look like. The staples of a brand standards manual include rules around: logo use, fonts, colors, and imagery. Great brand standards go beyond these basics to provide even more clarity and uniformity to the brand. Despite the level of detail included in this manual, it must remain easy to navigate and understand.

It is important that people at all levels of the company understand the brand standards document. It addresses details as small as font type and size in the company letterhead, which is something many employees will touch at some point during their tenure. Brand standards become particularly important when multiple people start to touch the brand. Large companies can have dozens, if not hundreds, of people deploying vast amounts of content for a brand. That content must have the same look and feel, despite it being born from the great minds of countless creative people.

You can think of brand standards as the main tool for managing brand assets. Truthfully, creating the brand standards manual is the easy part, it is managing the assets of a brand on a daily basis that is challenging. Employees, especially creative folks, may resist staying within the strict lines of the brand standards, as they may feel it hinders their creativity. However, it is quite the contrary. Working within guidelines requires that you elicit even more creativity to produce the outcome you envision with all the extra rules and strings attached.

It is important that employees, contractors, and all who touch the brand understand that closely following the standards is critical to the brand experience and creating a brand that has a long and successful life. There is no better way to protect your enormous investment into your brand than to develop thorough brand standards.

But remember, you can’t stop there, the brand standards are nothing more than wasted time and trees if you are not enforcing the standards every single day on every single project, communication, or any other effort set forth by the organization.