Katie Shafsky: Reflection- Lessons Learned

In 10th grade, I competed in a Graphic Arts competition in New York City through my high school. I had been briefly introduced to Photoshop, and my teacher entered me in the PowerPoint competition, where I used my Photoshop “skills” to take third place in the competition. I remember that PowerPoint presentation vividly, and if I’m honest, it was terrible. After reading the reflections for last year’s class, and looking back on some of my own bad design habits, these are the three biggest lessons I’ve learned.

1) Keep It Purposeful

I’ve come to realize that good design means and communicates something important, and in order to create that meaning, everything needs to have a purpose. No unwarranted frills of bold-face type, no extra filters on pictures because they look cool. In this same vein, it is clear that in order to have a strong, purposeful design, planning is everything. Pro Tip to myself: get an early start, you’ll need it.

2) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Advice

If I’m guilty of one thing, it’s being afraid to ask for help. I’ve always thought I needed to do everything myself, but as almost all of last year’s class said, it’s important to get advice. It’s true, I don’t know a lot about design, and I’m not going to get any better by relying solely on my own opinion. I’m in uncharted waters right now and I’m going to need a guide. Professor Strong, thank you in advance.

3) Take a Risk

I am not a risk taker. At all. I like to know that things are safe, planned out and won’t have any surprises. I hate surprises. While I know this design will need a lot of planning, I’m hoping to leave a little room in my plan for some uncharacteristic risk-taking, even if that means trying something new, hating it, and going back to my original, planned-out design.