By now, I’m sure you’ve been made aware that these most recent posts are a place for students who have already made it through the course to offer any insight and feedback that could be helpful as you all begin to craft a publication of your own. While there truly is an endless amount of advice to be offered, here are the top three things that I absolutely wish I had listened to throughout this entire process.
ONE: IT TRULY IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT. One of the things that makes publications so beautiful is their unified visual vision that spans over pages and pages of information. No matter the page count or number of elements on each spread, every component feels like it has a purpose and belongs. With that said, this level of cohesive unity comes with planning and revision, something that cannot be whipped up the night before. Prof. Strong sets you up for success by purposely breaking down each guiding component into an assignment, but actually taking that time to think about how you want to represent each aspect in relation to the final vision is an entirely different task all together and will relieve so much stress when crunch time comes.
TWO: VISUAL SELECTION IS KEY! Utilizing visuals in your publication is a no brainer (In fact, it is a requirement for this course). But the kinds of visuals and the way in which you use them is really where the design begins to kick in, and making smart decisions about what you choose to incorporate and how will make all the difference. It is true that sometimes a visual will guide the final design, but it is also extremely important to think about how you want to unite an image and text, and what kind of visual will do that most effectively. If you already know you want to place a headline on top of a photo, look for a photo with a relatively calm background. The more contrasting color in a photo or illustration, the harder it is to see the text, which will take away from your overall design. Or if you’ve found an image your really want to use in a specific way, maybe then go through and rework the type placement, so no components are competing and everything is working together to create a visually compelling story.
THREE: TEST PRINT EVERYTHING. Looking at a page through a screen is a very different experience than physically holding it in your hands. Sometimes there are sizing issues or color inconsistencies that you really only pick up on when looking at the piece at the actual size it is intended to be viewed. While it may seem like an unnecessary part of the process, it will absolutely only help you better refine your final design and should definitely be something you push yourself to continue to revisit as the publication continues to shift and grow.
With that said, this semester will undoubtedly be one chock full of learning, and you should definitely try and soak up as much information as you can because Prof. Strong is a POWERHOUSE of knowledge concerning anything and everything print and typographic design related. For me, almost every class left me with a new piece of information I had not known before, but overall my three major takeaways are as follows.
ONE: GRIDS ARE KEY. I’ve always been a fan of the grid, because it allows you to keep consistency and maintain order, but never have a ever been more thankful for a complex grid than in this class. With so many elements needing cohesive placement, my grid structure was my saving grace and I will never diminish its value again.
TWO: INFOGRAPHICS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I feel like in most design, people think about visuals as photos and illustrations, but infographics are also an extremely useful way to convey information in a fun and relevant manner and should not be forgotten!
THREE: IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. Like all design, the final outcome will truly be a reflection of the effort you put into it, so work hard and work smart. The final piece will be worth it.
With all this new knowledge, I know you guys will go on to make killer publications. Cherish the process while it lasts and good luck!