Tips For Surviving Design School

Friday, May 3, 2019

assorted book near iMac
image via unsplash

Chances are, if you are new to my blog you have no idea what I majored in. Welp, I graduated from design school, majoring in visual communications design which is graphics design. For the struggling student, I have a few suggestions (or tips, trick, advice, if you must) as to how to handle things like assignments and deadlines when you're pursuing arts and design in college. Keep in mind that these tips are based on my four years of experience in design school.

  • Get organized.  — invest in a sketchbook for mind mapping or sketching out your designs.
  • Teach yourself some basic graphics design tools (I highly recommend the basic two: adobe photoshop and illustrator). I recommend learning these programs if you can a few weeks or months before you start school. For instance, I taught myself Adobe Photoshop when i was still in high school. This will save you some time, and struggling - I promise.
  • Practice, practice, practice. practice your eyes (this is not a joke), practice your analytical and 
  • thinking skills, practice your sketches, design, etc.
  • Do your assignments on tune so you won't be in competition against deadlines.
  • Ideas and concepts are not free. Do not give them to your friends. Helping someone and free ideas are not the same thing.
  • Always keep on sketchbook on hand. You may never know when you will come across a great idea, and need to jot it down in your notes for later. 
  • Constantly save your work, while designing just in case your software decides to crash on you.
  • Always come up with more than one concepts for a design. Usually 2-3 suffice.
  • Play around with design elements such as lines, shapes and especially, colors.
  • Backup your work(s) and keep them in an external hard drive.
  • Stay inspired. If you're experiencing designer's block, instead of sitting down and waiting for ideas to come, browse for some creativity. Try pinterest, behance or dribbble as sources.
  • Research. Son't expect your professor to teach you completely everything about how to use a software you've never tried before. Browse tutorials, there are plenty of them out thee.
  • Don't stress about not finding your niche. The design industry is vast and broad. You'll eventually find your calling.
  • Design like art is subjective. If your friend may not like your design that doesn't mean other won't.
  • There is always room for improvement. Stay on top of industry trends. Subscribe to magazines or online mailing newsletter. 
  • Build your online portfolio early. It will help you be ahead once you graduate.
  • Get inspired and advice from experts. Try to attend workshop and seminars.
  • Experiment with different visual styles before finding one that fits your forte.
  • Remember, there will always be a better designer than you, always. that should aspire you to grow your skills.

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