During my time as an undergraduate student, I briefly worked in Photoshop in two courses. I edited photos – making them darker, lighter, setting them to black and white, etc. I remember thinking how I wanted to learn more. Little did I know, as a graduate student at Newhouse, I would be taking not only one graphic design course but two.
Walking into VIS617 on the third day of my summer courses in 2018, I was eager to learn and dive into a world I was always curious about. I was immediately overwhelmed, somewhat frightened, and shocked. The assignments poured in over me. I was working in InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. It was either sink or swim. I’ll admit, there definitely was some sinking, but I learned to swim. And that’s the way life is, isn’t it? After reading the reflections from the previous year’s students of Publication Design, this is what I’ve learned:
Lesson One: Don’t compare yourself to others
Oh my gosh, I struggle with this on a daily basis! But I am ready for the challenge. I remember in VIS617 I was constantly peaking at my peer’s computer screens and immediately regretting it. I thought my work was great, but then once I looked to my left and saw something I thought was incredible, my work was crap. Knowing that others struggle(d) with this gives me comfort. I constantly think that I am the only one who is comparing myself to others or being hard on myself. Yes, comparing can be good in a minuscule amount, but I make it a point to focus on my work this semester.
Lesson Two: Open your heart to the roast
I’ve never been the best at taking criticism. I’m a Virgo – I’m sensitive, I overthink and I worry about what others say. I understand that criticizing work and looking for others for help and opinions is part of the course, and I’m ready to step out of my comfort zone and accept the advice and opinions of others.
Sometimes, I can get so stuck on an idea, that having a pair of fresh eyes and other ideas will definitely help me. It gives me comfort knowing that previous students have struggled with this as well, but they have learned to embrace it. I also make it a point to listen to others and Professor Strong and grow with each critique.
Lesson Three: Print out drafts of work
I’m the type of person to wait until I absolutely have to print something to print it. Knowing that colors or fonts may look different on the computer is REAL. I can’t express how many times over the summer I would print things out last minute and I would stare at my work in disbelief. This semester, I will not do that, especially knowing other students from previous courses advise it. I will print out drafts, scribble, rip them apart and so on. I like the idea of scribbling along the drafts and looking at them printed instead of the computer. It is more tactile and real.
I’m still somewhat nervous about this course, but I’m excited. I look forward to opening my eyes to different ideas and working with Professor Strong and my classmates. Here’s to a great semester!