Can you talk a little bit about your experience at design school? and working as a designer? I know this is kind of vague, but like. What was your program like? How did you get your current job? What do you do day-to-day? I'm currently in college and I'm trying to decide whether to stay a biology major or switch to an art or design program. I know I'd be good at the art thing, and I might like it better than biology, but. I've been scared away from pursuing art for a long time. thanks :)
HI IM SO SORRY THAT IT TOOK ME LIKE 900 YEARS TO ANSWER THIS I JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU A GOOD ANSWER
I’m gonna break this answer into design school and working full time as a designer, since they’re kind of very different things, especially given my specific design job.
It’s cool because it doesn’t feel like school This experience may vary from program to program, but in my design program they didn’t treat us like students. It was like the teachers were the art directors at a design firm and we were their designers. Homework didn’t feel like homework. It felt like a job. I haven’t felt like a student since I graduated high school, and that’s really good preparation for the professional world.
You really need to fend for yourself Another thing that may vary between programs. In my design school, we’d have VERY open-ended assignments. For example, I’d get the assignment “design an interactive iPad magazine” and they’d basically give us a 30 minute tutorial on Digital Publishing Suite and be like “OKAY NOW GO MAKE IT.” The thing about working with design software is that they’re really complicated and powerful so it’s hard to actually sit down and teach an entire class how to use them, so we had to teach ourselves a lot of this stuff. I’m almost entirely self-taught when it comes to Adobe programs, as are a lot of people from my program. That’s a really good thing, in my opinion. Again, it’s very good preparation for the professional world.
You will not sleep Design school was VERY HARD PHYSICALLY for me, but the intensity of a person’s experience in design school depends entirely on the program they enroll in. I went to a design school that’s infamous for the difficulty of the program. Junior and senior year I would be pulling all-nighters EVERY WEEK OF THE SEMESTER, FROM THE FIRST WEEK OF THE SEMESTER. This is no exaggeration. For two straight years, I needed to think of my days as 48-hour periods, rather than 24-hour periods, because the volume of work was just that intense. I lost 30 lbs in undergrad and was always sick and anxious and was in therapy twice a week because it’s very intense, but also I am OBSESSED with graphic design and loved every minute even though I also thought I was dying the entire time!!
IT’S SO FUCKING EXPENSIVE TO BE A DESIGN STUDENT Again, may vary depending on the program. But in my program we had to produce hand-made comps of all of our print work. Paper and printing is expensive as fuck, especially for ambitious one-off student stuff. A lot of us opted to buy our own large-format printers and keep them in our apartments to avoid paying out the nose for school printing. And if you don’t want to depend on school lab hours, you need a laptop (preferably a Mac), Adobe programs (I sprung for Creative Cloud), and, in my program, an iPad was an absolute requirement. It’s SO. EXPENSIVE.
The difference between majoring in graphic design vs fine art I originally went to art school for fine art before I discovered graphic design. I studied fine art in Rome. I love fine art. I just love graphic design A LOT MORE and that’s because the real purpose of graphic design is COMMUNICATION. Fine art is subjective, whereas graphic design is problem solving. It’s way more intellectually stimulating, in my opinion. Yes, there are always tons of different ways to solve a design problem, but there are also wrong answers to design problems. You don’t have the crutch of subjectivity to lean on with design. I LOVE THAT.
WORKING AS A FULL-TIME DESIGNER
How I got my job I actually got really lucky. There were two major factors in me getting my job: timing and the kind of designer my current company was looking for.
TIMING: I graduated undergrad in the “off semester,” meaning my last semester was the fall semester. (I needed to take an extra semester because I was really sick my junior year and needed to drop a core course.) This served me really well, because the job market wasn’t saturated with a bunch of other recent design grads. Way less competition.
THE KIND OF DESIGNER MY COMPANY WAS LOOKING FOR: I work for a marketing firm that had never employed an in-house designer before they hired me. They’d always contracted out. Hiring me was the start of a new business structure for them after 30 years of only employing writers. Because this was a new situation for everyone, they were comfortable hiring a young and inexperienced (and therefore cheap) designer. They were comfortable with the idea of the company and the designer growing together. That’s a seriously rare set-up. I really lucked out that they happened to be looking for that kind of setup.
Also, of course, I was persistent about getting my resume out there. From the September of my final semester (I graduated in December) on, I was sending out my resume to every single job opening I could find – so at least 5 a day. I’ve been an AIGA member for years, and I used the hell out of their job boards, and that’s how I found the listing for my current job.
What I do day-to-day I’m the in-house designer at a marketing firm. This means that I do all of our in-house branding, I do some client work, and I also project manage/act as company liaison to outside design firms that we partner with for big projects. (I love that part of my job because I’ve gotten to see the workflows and processes of so many other incredible designers all while working this one job!)
It’s pretty cool because I’m the only designer there – I’m the entire design department. As a result, I kind of need to figure out how to do a little bit of everything, often on the fly! It keeps me on my toes and I love that!
I’m just gonna list off a bunch of things I’ve done, since there isn’t a day-to-day schedule:
Designing in-house marketing materials for the firm. (A lot of what we do is sending proposals/reports to clients, because a lot of what we do is communications strategy. So it’s TONS of pages of text. I need to make all of that shit look interesting/readable so that clients actually take us seriously.) We also sponsor marketing industry conferences and stuff like that to promote ourselves, so I sometimes get to do large-scale signage for our firm, which is kind of an interesting departure.
Print publications for clients (I’ve done viewbooks, briefing papers, brochures, stuff like that)
Ads for clients (I just recently did an ad campaign for a client that involved digital ads on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and large-scale transit ads, and a Snapchat geofilter for an event the client was doing. That was SUPER FUN.)
Branding (I’ve done logos for capital campaigns for clients and even got to rebrand a client earlier this year, which is SUPER FUN and where a lot of the true creative/conceptual work comes in!)
Interactive iPad donor invitations for big name donors to raise funds for a certain new museum in DC that has been making noise at lately. (Obama spoke at the opening!!)
I often need to pinch-hit for our outside design firm partners, meaning sometimes they won’t have the time to do a part of a campaign of materials themselves, so I kind of parachute in and do the work. I LOVE doing this stuff because it means I need to mimic the styles of designers that I really admire.
For example, we’re doing a huge campaign for a private boarding school that involves both advertisements and admissions materials. The principal firm (art directed by a former professor of mine and one of my favorite designers!) doesn’t have time to handle the ads, so I do those using a design system that they came up with. Same for some of the minor admissions materials, like a student handbook. The principal firm came up with the color scheme and the type system and the general grid, and I did the book. It’s super fun to do, actually.
THE COOLEST PINCH HITTER JOB I EVER HAD TO DO: We recently partnered with another of my favorite design firms to do a viewbook for a certain well-known college that used to be women-only. We wanted the final spread to include a hand-drawn chalk mural. The partner design firm didn’t have the capabilities in-house to do the mural, and my firm didn’t want to pay an outside chalk artist to do it. So they had me design and execute the chalk mural. I’d never done that kind of project, but figured it out and now my chalk mural has a full spread in this beautiful viewbook designed by one of my favorite designers!!
One of my coworkers and I are working on a small promotional piece as a gift to a client to promote our motion graphics capabilities. Basically we’re gonna make a simple animated holiday card for them to send out to big name donors. (It’s just gonna be a gif embedded in an email but it’ll be beautiful!)
I actually have a lot of down time at my job. Sometimes we just have slow weeks, because that’s how the work schedules are falling. (Sometimes all of my drafts will be in the clients’ hands waiting for comments so I’ll have nothing to do.) During that down time, I’m always teaching myself new skills using courses on lynda.com. I’m currently working on becoming a WordPress developer, and I’m also working on figuring out a strategy to do dynamic iPad design now that Adobe phased out DPS as part of the CC suite, since that’s currently the only way I know how to do iPad design!
TL;DR: Graphic design is a great industry that is growing rapidly right now. You can definitely make money in design. You can definitely find a job in design. That being said, IF YOU WANT TO GET INTO GRAPHIC DESIGN, IT REALLY HELPS TO BE OBSESSED. You just really need to be willing to not sleep for a few years during school, and you need to be a self-starter as a designer because you will never learn all of the necessary skills in school. I’m teaching myself new skills every day at work, and that just comes with the territory of the profession.
If you are an avid user of iPads, tablets and e-readers, wouldn’t you be interested in knowing which tablet stand was voted “the best tablet stand ever”? After all, stands are an incredibly practical addition if you are using your tablet in bed, on your favourite chair or a sofa or while watching TV. So, “the world’s most elegant / best tablet stand” is Flote M2 Adjustable Floor and Bed Stand.
I’m feeling so low but not for any discernible reason! I don’t mind so much feeling low while I still recognise what a shitbag my ex is. What I can’t bear is when I get sad about losing it. That’s not the life I’m about. I’m just kinda bored really. And I’m worried about going on holiday with my mum, just me and her for that length of time…. ugh. I’m gonna take like a million magazines, my iPad and some books (any book recs would be good! Pls not romance lol). I’ll probably watch Netflix on my iPad by the pool for the majority of the time like the absolute loser I am. My mum is not the type of person to like wanna go swimming or in the sea with me either so I feel like it’s just going to be really boring and I’ll feel shit… and bittersweet because it was supposed to be mine and Ryan’s reward for a shit few months, he mentioned the other day like we just needed some me and him time because we’d been stressed and I was like mate, yeah, that’s what our holiday was going to be. 😑 if only you didn’t feel the need to fuck everything up all the time, that is.
The courses of his youth promised it not. The breath no sooner left his father’s body, But that his wildness, mortified in him, Seem’d to die too; yea, at that very moment Consideration, like an angel, came And whipp’d the offending Adam out of him, Leaving his body as a paradise
Act 1, Scene 1
Photos not mine. They are the property of the photographers/magazines etc. Created on my iPad mini using PS Express, Over, Photoshop Fix and Pixlr. Fan edit only.
Blaine’s favorite part of the day was going to work with Kurt. After having his thimble of coffee with a pinch of cinnamon, and after Kurt filled a thermos at his Keurig machine, they’d set off on the subway. Blaine stayed snug in the breast pocket of Kurt’s coat—to which Kurt had added an extra soft, microfleece lining—and listened to his earphone. Kurt kept one in his ear and the other tucked into Blaine’s pocket so that Blaine could enjoy something other than the extra loud train noises, and so that Kurt could still hear if Blaine needed him.
Blaine tugged on the cord winding up to the right side of Kurt’s head and waited for him to look down. Kurt paused the music and ducked his head so Blaine could speak into his left ear.
“I feel like Greek for lunch. And can we grab a cronut before we get to the office?”