Tips for Next Semester’s Designers:

Hello fresh designers! I was in your shoes once. Just 14 weeks ago…bright-eyed and hopeful. Now here I sit…#haggard #exhausted but so #accomplished. This class will be hard. But it will be worth it.

Here are some tips on how to thrive instead of just survive!

1. Move on.

Don’t get stuck. If you’re struggling with something and staring at it expecting a new, innovative idea to pop out of the page, let me tell you now–nothing is going to happen. Move on to another page, get out of your environment, take a walk, go to a bookstore, etc. etc.

2. Gather inspiration

Don’t start your book without doing some initial research. You may have an idea in your head going into the class, but your first idea is rarely your best. Go to a bookstore, get on pinterest, sketch stuff out! I was so afraid to find inspiration in the past. I thought it was some sort of plagiarism. But starting with one idea often becomes a completely new one, which looks nothing like your original inspiration image.

3. Sketch (even if you can’t draw)

I am the worst illustrator. Like…my stick people don’t even resemble stick people. Get the picture? Anyway, SKETCH. Sketch out each page you plan on designing and where you think content will go on the page. I recommend doing this before you determine your grid (if possible). It will help you determine how you plan to use the grid and which grid will work best for you. FYI, your designs will change. Sketching allows you to think without taking too much time to actually put it in InDesign, and you can refer to it later as a reference for inspiration.

4. Stretch yourself

I designed a cookbook for male vegetarians this semester. I am a vegetarian, but I am definitely not a man. Designing for the other sex was a huge challenge for me. I learned more than I would have had I designed something that was more my style. This project stretched me. Even though I’m not 100% happy with it, I know I worked 10x harder than I would have with something I was more comfortable and familiar with.

5. Look around!

Watch your classmates. Look at how they choose to solve problems. Not only will you learn from this, but you may find some inspiration in their design solutions.

6. Have fun

Don’t get too down on yourself. You won’t be completely happy with everything in your publication, but this class is a huge learning experience, and you can always continue your publication down the line. Enjoy the process.