After a semester in Professor Strong’s publication design, I’ve learned so much about what design means and how easy it can be to become a designer in just a few short months. It was a challenge trying to narrow down the best advice I could give to future students, but here are three:
1. Professor Strong is your greatest and best resource.
I cannot stress this enough: Go to her office hours, ask a million questions, and pick her brain. She’s a design wiz, and always has ideas that can guide you and help you with your publication. Don’t worry about sounding stupid or being confused, because everyone is struggling in their own way with design, too. I always asked her questions during class about my designs and she always gave great feedback which ultimately made my publication SO much better. Her office hours are also a great time to pick her brain and get in-depth feedback. If you can’t make it to her slotted office hours, she’s always willing to extend her hours for students seeking help. She’s eager to help you become the best designer you can be – make use of her knowledge so you can learn!
2. Never skip a class.
When she says each class is valuable, she means it. Each class is packed full of important information and graphic design elements/tools that you need to know in order to really be successful in the class. Sometimes, we would even run out of time for her to finish teaching us all the information. Class time is valuable because her lectures are full of important tips and elements you should know, but it’s also a time to work on your publication with her sitting right there, ready to help. Make use of that! I referred back to my notes so much during the last few weeks of the semester to make sure my design was up to the standards she taught us, and when I was recalling how to do certain graphic design elements. Even though it can seem overwhelming, it’s so helpful.
3. Start earlier, rather than later.
Take every phase assignment seriously, because they are the building blocks to your ever-evolving publication. Even if you end up scrapping the whole magazine and starting over from scratch (like I did… more than halfway through the semester), that practice with InDesign and taking it seriously, making sure you’re handing in an assignment that is truly your best effort, even if it isn’t your best work. It’s so helpful that you practice so that at the end of the semester, you aren’t scrambling to get it all done, because it’s way more work than you think. I switched my entire magazine concept at the end of March when it was due in May and had to start from scratch. Because Professor Strong had prepared me with the foundational skills and elements to include, it was so easy to get back up to speed in less than a week. My advice: spending an hour or two every day tinkering on your publication will be so beneficial in the long run.