So, When Am I Allowed to Actually Call Myself a Designer?

From this title it may sound like I think I know a lot about design, but I am fully aware that I don’t; which is exactly why I signed up for this course. In all actuality, I know that I will be continuously learning how to design; about what looks good to the eye and how to make audiences feel something.

Funnily enough, I double-majored in Visual Art and Communication Studies throughout my undergraduate career and decided to go to journalism school. Now here I am, signed up for another design course that I know is going to stretch me beyond anything I could have dreamed. So, with a little help from the seven students who left us advice, I’m getting myself ready.

These nuggets hit me the hardest:


  • Don’t be afraid to move on if you find yourself getting stuck – I tend to have this thing I do where I kind of just trudge through things. I’m not sure if it’s a side effect of being a firstborn who’s just had to figure things out on her own, my strict upbringing or downright stubbornness, but I tend to keep my head down trying to make sense of everything. Sometimes it works and at other times is doesn’t. During this course, I’m going to challenge myself this way.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – My brain: I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it. Ah! I’m doing it.


  • Print, Print, Print – Somehow I’ve always seen this as being wasteful so I tend not to print that often. However, in the interest of all things design, I vow to print at least one copy per completed draft. Compromises are good.


  • Go to Professor Strong’s office hours – Lucky for me, I’ve already gotten the first awkward meeting out of the way. Like I said earlier, it’s hard for me to ask for help but I’m going to really work on it.


  • Look around – I’m learning that it’s okay to be inspired by the work my peers do and it does not have to be seen as plagarism.


  • Take notes and apply what was said from the critiques – I enjoy critique sessions, but I admit that the advice isn’t always easy to take, especially when you’ve spent a long time working on an element that may just not be working. Learning to part with ideas I thought were good is crucial.
  • Show your work to people who are not in your class – This is common sense yet I have a habit of keeping my work to myself thinking no one would be interested in seeing what I’ve been up to unless they explicitly ask. Case in point, it wasn’t until my senior exhibition last year, where I unveiled work I created over my time at college did a lot of my friends and family see it for the first time, even though so much of it was laying around in my room. I think this goes back to the feeling I have that a piece is never quite what I pictured in my head, so it gets buried. It’s important for me to learn that sometimes that’s okay.


  • Don’t be afraid to try something crazy – Note to Michaela: There’s a delete button for a reason. Experiment.


Quite a bit of this student’s advice was repeated from before but what I took away was the willingness to show personality through the embedded pictures in his/her post. And, to be fair, that’s a lesson in an of itself to me.


One Comment

  1. So glad you’re in the course, Michaela, and I’m excited to see what you will produce.

Comments are closed.