Josh deLacy is a Calvin English grad who went on to found Branded Look LLC, a website development company. We talked about some of the reasons he valued Calvin’s English department.
Why did you major in English?
I entered Calvin as a math major in the pre-law track. On a whim, I signed up for a writing class my first semester: “The Craft of Writing” with Prof. Schmidt and Prof. Klatt. I was an English major on the writing track by the time it ended.
What leadership opportunities did you have at Calvin?
I held a leadership position with Dialogue, Calvin’s art and literary magazine, where I helped coordinate writers, jurors, copy editors, promotors, and layout editors. Four times a year, we pulled everything together and produced a journal on time. And in my last semester at Calvin, I helped found the post calvin (Calvin’s alumni writers’ community). We turned a “what if” conversation into a community of well over one hundred Calvin alumni.
What are your favorite memories from the English department?
I spent two interims off-campus with the English department (the courses were “Taos Art and Literature” and “New England Saints”). There, I encountered communities built around a love of literature, faith, and understanding. Other departmental events like writer’s retreats, Soup Mondays, and Downton Abbey nights at Prof. Moore’s house drove it home.
How did your English major shape your life?
That first class with Prof. Schmidt and Prof. Klatt introduced a new way of looking at life. I saw how beauty is an end in itself, how truth is just as apparent in stories as in textbooks, and how value is more inherent in relationships and self-knowledge than in money and prestige. Beauty, love, knowledge—these things matter more than a practical career. Not that one excludes the other, but that “no slave can serve two masters.” The English department helped me prioritize.
These lessons encouraged me to start Branded Look LLC, where I work with clients I believe in. Instead of joining another megacorporation, like the bank in The Grapes of Wrath, I could support the little guy: my church, an aspiring photographer, a nonprofit for Seattle’s homeless.
How did the English department help you develop skills you use in your job now?
I work mostly in website development as the founder of Branded Look LLC. Churches, nonprofits, and small businesses make up my usual client base. And under that broad banner of “website development,” I help them:
- define their identity and create their brand;
- create and organize copy, photography, and other resources;
- refine their marketing for a particular audience;
- produce posters, banner images, postcards, and other handout items; and
- establish a social media presence and social media marketing plan.
My English major taught me how to work with language—the principles of language that are common to both English and HTML. How do you understand someone’s question? How do you convey an answer? I have to respond to vague descriptions with clear, step-by-step explanations. Sometimes that feels like analyzing poetry.