I have always appreciated design as a spectator, but never as a creator until I took my first graphic design class. While taking the class, I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. Most of the feelings I experienced during the course were negative, anyway. I was stressed about my designs, frustrated over technological kinks, pummeled with fistfuls of brutal honesty and embarrassed by the in-class critiques that saw my work torn apart every week. “I’m bad at this,” I thought, and this was how I felt for the majority of the course. But nothing ever felt so rewarding as the moments when all your hard work, all the hours you put into failed designs that seemed to be all for naught, finally paid off in the form of something worth being proud of. I was confused and elated to face so much criticism only to have my work embraced at the very end. What I came to understand by the end of the course, however, was that this was simply the creative process. I’m not very familiar with delayed gratification but I think designing could be defined by it.
That being said, I’m looking forward to the challenges I know this class will afford me with the expectations I already have about the good and the bad to come. Reading the advice from previous students was a nice reminder of the things to keep in mind that could help alleviate some of the stress along the way. For one, time management. This is something I struggle with and I think it can be particularly tricky with design because there is never a definitive endpoint, which means you could need anywhere from a few hours to a couple days to produce satisfactory work, and so should not be left to the last minute. Another point that a few students mention is the importance of not comparing your work to that of others. Fair to say, this is easier said than done, but essential advice, nonetheless. It speaks to the fluidity of design – the fact that everyone’s designs and goals are different and that there is no right answer but endless solutions. With this in mind, I want to take this class as an opportunity to step outside of my own aesthetic and grow creatively by exploring new styles.