A note to future designers

I had been interested and curious about graphic design for a while, but it wasn’t until this course that I truly got a chance to explore it. This definitely wasn’t an easy course, but even through the long nights spent staring at InDesign, I still find graphic design fascinating and respect it even more now.

You’re going to spend a LOT of time working on assignments. While you may dread it at the time, holding your finished prototype at the end of the semester is one of the most satisfying finishes you’ll have in college, and makes everything worth it.

Some advice I have as you start:

  1. Make sure you have a strong editorial concept. The stronger your identity, values and concept of your magazine, the easier it is to come with the visual identity and stories. It’ll make finding images, choosing colors, literally everything easier later.
  2. Allocate more time than you think you’ll need, and don’t procrastinate. There were too many times that I put off an assignment until I was scrambling in the end, and you don’t want this extra stress. Design takes time, and you will thank yourself later if you start early. Trust me.
  3. Print out drafts of your work. Colors and text look different when it’s on paper rather than a screen, and it’s also easier to get critiques and make edits because you can scribble all over them.

And some things I’ve learned about publication design:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try something crazy. You really, truly never know if something looks bad unless you try it, and so many key elements of my pages were created by playing with the wild ideas.
  2. Just because you think something is cool doesn’t mean it’s serviceable for readers. With publication design, you’re not designing something for yourself but for a reader. Therefore, even if you really like the way something looks, if it’s confusing or hard to read it’s not valuable to readers.
  3. Every design choice must have a reason behind it. You need to be able to justify why you chose a certain image, typeface, color, whatever it is, because each element on a page needs to be there for a reason.

You’re going to learn so much about yourself and graphic design as you take this course, and the process, while grueling at times, is extremely rewarding. Best of luck!