Ahoy there designers! Buckle up, you’re in for one heck of a ride. I can honestly say this class was one of the most rewarding courses I’ve taken in my four years at SU. But, I won’t lie to you, it’s a lot of hard work. With that being said, here are some tips for to be successful in this class, and some important lessons I learned along the way.
ADVICE TO FUTURE DESIGNERS
- GO TO OFFICE HOURS: I cannot emphasize this enough. Prof. Strong expects a lot from her students, but she gives just as much (if not more) back. Utilize her office hours to ask questions, ask for clarification, get help conceptualizing a story, or just to get feedback on layouts. Getting feedback from her has been integral to my experience in this class, and has helped me grow as a designer.
- WORK ON YOUR PUBLICATION EVERY WEEK: I know school is stressful, and there never seems to be enough time in the day for all you have to do. But this class is a marathon, not a sprint. And Prof. Strong, along with everyone else will be able to tell if you slapped something together the night before class. Take the time to work on your publication each week and scrape away at it. It’s also helpful to take time away from it and come back with fresh eyes.
- EMBRACE CRITICISM: There will be in-class critiques—a lot of them. This was downright terrifying for me (I don’t take negative feedback well) but I had to get over it, and so will you. In this class your peers are also your co-workers and they want you to succeed and make the best final product as possible. So listen when they make suggestions and comments and take them into account.
TOP LESSONS I LEARNED
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP: As I’ve said many times already, Prof. Strong is your best resource. But in addition to this, don’t be afraid to ask questions—even if you think they’re dumb—they’re not. Everyone comes into this class with different levels of design experience. As someone who came in with almost none, I needed a lot of extra help, and that’s ok! Asking for help is the only way you’ll learn and improve.
- BE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR PUBLICATION: Prof. Strong will emphasize this a lot in class, and it’s true. You’re going to be spending so much time working on this publication, so you need to love whatever it’s about. One of the reasons I had so much fun making my comedy magazine is because I’m obsessed with all things comedy. If you’re wishy-washy about your publication topic; go back to the drafting board. It’s not worth spending 15 weeks designing something you don’t love. I think this rings true for most things in life as well. If you’re not excited about your work, why do it?
- DON’T PIDGEON HOLE YOURSELF: Pretty much all my story ideas changed in some way and my layout ideas were almost all completely different than what I had pictured at the beginning. But they were also all so much better than what I had originally planned out. One of the most important design lessons this class taught me was that good design solves problems. Good design makes reading/consuming/absorbing the information on the page a pleasure. So think of designing your layouts as making it the best experience for your reader and don’t worry as much about not sticking to your original ideas.
GOOD LUCK DESIGNERS, YOU’RE GONNA LOVE THIS CLASS!