Before taking this class I only had a small grasp in what graphic or publication design was. I knew how to work InDesign but not at my best abilities. This class took a lot of work, time and it taught me how to think like a designer. I learned something that pushed me to think more than just being a writer and a photographer. I took this class to build and improve my skill in graphic design and to challenge myself. To the next class of designers I have some tips to help you on your journey.
Tip 1: Make sure to have your ideas fleshed out
The one thing that I had a problem with was having an idea and a plan. I had the idea but I had a hard time with planning in how I wanted my magazine to look like.I tried many ways in how I trying to get a plan. I would stare at the computer screen, I would plan it out my sketch book and other ways but that was not working. I asked professor Strong for guideience and that helped out a lot. When it comes to planning you have to have a clear way in what you would like for your publication, what is going to be in it, what audience you are going for, how you want it look like, etc., Having a plan will help to make the designing process better.
Tip 2: Ask for help and go to office hours
Professor Strong is so nice and sweet, she is always available for office hours. She has them as way to help you and be a kind of guidance with your work. If you feel too embarrassed to discuss your work in front of class office hours are a great opportunity to discuss your work with professor Strong. You can talk about what is working and not working in your design process. There were several times in which I was stuck and I could not figure out what was going on and why I was not happy with my publication. I have a tendency to do things without asking for help because I wanted to figure it out before asking for help. I wish that I would have asked for help more and used the office hours that were available. GO TO OFFICE HOURS AND ASK FOR HELP.
Tip 3: Time management
Making sure that you know how to manage your time wisely because it takes time to design. Taking this class I didn’t know that design will take as much time as it does. Also make sure to take your time when you are design. When are rushing to do a design it will show and that is not good. If you take your time then you can produce something that you will become proud of. Finally, don’t wait until the last minute to do anything because that is never good because it will show once it’s time for a critique. Waiting until the last minute is never good especially during the end of semester and when you have to physically print the publication.
Tip 4: Don’t compare yourself to others
It is not going to help you if you try to compare your self to others. I had a hard time with that because I was worried about how everybody was great with design. If I would have focused more on my own abilities and what I can improve on then things would have went better with me in the design process. It took me 2 weeks before the end of the semester to produce something that I am kind of proud of. You can only design based on your own abilities and professor Strong will understand that.
Tip 5: Take and apply what is said from the critiques
I know it can be hard for people to talk about your work after you worked so hard on it but it help you me. I am always down on myself anyway but listening to what other people had to say helped me in the design process. It was nice to hear feedback in what was working and what was not working. Once getting the feedback it helped me in the design process.Remember all of us are here to learn and we are all trying to become better.
Tip 6: Show your work to other people who are not in your class
It would be nice to talk to other people about your idea just to see what their opinions are. It is nice to hear what they think of it, can they read it, would they pick it up if they saw a copy of it, etc. More eyes and and opinions are always better than one as a way to help you.
Tip 7: Sketch things out
In the early stages as I was designing, I would sketch things as a way for me to envision in how I wanted my magazine to look like. From the cover and the layout of the publication it helped me to process a lot of thoughts. Sketch things out it helps.
Tip 8: Use one of strong skills when designing
If you are good at one thing use that as an advantage. If your are good at writing use that as a way to come up with choosing what kinds of words you would like to use in your publication. If you are good at photography,use that as you are try to come up with how it looks visually. If you are already good at design, combine that with others skills that you might have.
Tip 9: Use your field notes publication as an inspiration when designing
Looking at your field notes publication can help you in designing your publication. Take a look to see what they do, what is working, what is not working, what is something that they do that you can do better with your publication.
Tip 10: Remember that you are learning
It is OK, that your first design will not be perfect. Taking this class will give you an opportunity to learn something that you might not know about graphic design. If it from applying your grid to your master page to calling a typeface a font. It is all OK, just take what you learn and apply it your work as you are designing.
This class might be hard, having some nights in which you will not be getting any sleep or stressed, it’s going to be going to be OK. At the end of the semester you will have created something that you are proud of and a skill set that you can put on your resume. Just remember no stress, be confident and have fun.