Today was the first day of my last semester of college. In precisely 109 days I will be an official alumni of Western Kentucky and hopefully I will have a job. I’ve learned and accomplished so much in the past three years, but I still have some things I’d like to mark off my list before May 16th arrives.
1. Stop opening Illustrator as the first step in the design process.
When working on a design assignment I often find myself staring at a blank Illustrator file and spending hours upon hours trying different things with no real vision. This of course is a huge problem. I believe I’m really great at brainstorming and creativity strategy, but sometimes I find myself completely skipping this step when it comes to class assignments. UH HELLO. Design is a form of communication. I believe that every line, color, letter, and shape in a design is there for a purpose and communicates something to the audience for interpretation. I have been guilty in the past for focusing a lot on the visual design without first researching what message I want to convey or brainstorming which perspective I want to take. I hope this semester to really work on first planning out my strategy, even if it’s just brainstorming several ideas for colors or copy or layout.
2. Stop going into a design cave.
One of my professors pointed out to me that I tend to go into a cave when I design. I’m given a task, I disappear, and then magically reappear with the finished product. I guess you could say that I often work alone. I really enjoy working in groups and understand that in the real world, designers often are not given a project to complete from the brainstorming to implementation phases without others being involved. So, my professor made the the creative director of one of my capstone class’s main projects. At first I was terrified, but now I’m really excited. My classmates are extremely talented people in so many aspects and I’m very excited to see how we can all work together to create something great.
3. Stop using the same fonts.
I overuse my favorite sans serif fonts (Novecento Wide, Ostrich Sans). Hey Emily, the serif and slab fonts miss you.
4. Branch out.
I wouldn’t say that I’m not a risk-taker. I wouldn’t say that I only stick the things I know. However, I do have a tendency to find something I enjoy or feel I’m competent at and stick to it a little too closely. For instance, I love doing gig posters. However, not every project I will ever do will be a music poster. I want to branch out and broaden my portfolio. I want to try all sorts of things. I want to design an annual report, a menu, an invitation, a fundraising campaign, etc. You will never know what you’re good at and what you like if you don’t ever try.
5. Enjoy college for the few remaining months.
I chose to graduate early, so I’ve only spent three years in college. My parents always told me that college is important not only for the education, but also for the mistakes you make, the lessons you learn, and the experiences you have. College is a time for learning more about yourself, what you believe, what it means to be independent. I think I have focused the majority of my time over these past few years on my grades and the lectures and the homework, and not so much on life itself. This doesn’t mean I regret the time spent on academics or that I want to blow off this last semester like it’s my last season on Earth. I would just like to make sure I remember to have fun, because you’re only in college once.