Lessons Learned

I enrolled in Publication Design because I missed working in print design. This course satisfied that craving and more. Prof. Strong is an amazing guide and gives honest, helpful critique. With that said, here’s some advice:

  1. Go to Prof. Strong’s office hours. This is something I wish I took advantage of more. She makes herself so available and wants to help students leave the course with a piece they’re proud of. Use her as a resource.
  2. Speak up in critique. I am a design major, but most students in this course are not, which is such a benefit. The design major is small, so we often hear the similar critiques from the same students in our major. This course brings together a huge number of new students with a different perspective. Whether you’re a design student or not, do not be afraid to speak up during critique. Your opinion is valued.
  3. Learn how to defend your design choices. This pairs well with the previous advice. During critique, some people shut down a bit, but that’s the time to speak up for why you made certain choices. If it’s on your page, there’s a reason you put it there. The more you practice looking at your work and analyzing your choices, the better you’ll get at having a critical eye for design. That skill is something that takes you beyond the scope of this course and into any field you work in.
  4. Experiment with your grid. Look at what other publications are doing with their grid. It’s often not just three columns, all the same width. Apply that to your own designs. It will make your whole design feel more exciting and harder to fall into a rut.
  5. Don’t overcomplicate your project or take on too much. The best designs are well thought through and well-edited. If you take on a complex project you think you can manage at the start of the semester, just remember you will get busy. Choose design solutions that are manageable so you can spend time refining rather than just trying to get something on the page for the sake of the deadline.

Spend time on this course because it will be so rewarding (bonus advice: stay on top of the assignments throughout the semester, it will help you at the end). I know I will leave this course with a portfolio-worthy piece, and I couldn’t be happier despite the long nights and last minute changes. I hope the same for you.