Lamar University's Graphic Design Department Blog
I remember blindly jumping into Lamar University as a business major after the summer following my high school graduation in 2002. Nearly ten years and two changes of major later, I am on the brink of graduation with a Bachelor’s of Science in Graphic Design. I think back to my first year in the art department and how naïve I was, and in retrospect, how I would do things differently. That said, here is the advice I would give to myself as a first year art student.
First, pay attention! I recall sitting in Design 1, which involved a lot of paper cutting and a heavy emphasis on craft. At the time it seemed so pointless, and I didn’t understand how this related to Graphic Design, but it does. By having to cut and glue all these individual pieces, I learned about composition and to developed intent with my placement. Jumping straight onto a computer and doing the same kind of exercise would not have been as effective. Take advantage of the classes you take and get everything you can from them no matter how irrelevant they may seem.
Two, you’re never done learning! I can’t tell you how many books I’ve purchased over the years that have just sat around only to get put on a bookshelf later. You only know as much as you allow yourself to. While this applies to people in general, as graphic designers, we take inspiration from everything we come into contact with. People, places, things, other people’s work, etc. In the tech-savvy generation we have evolved into, there is no excuse in not knowing or being able to find a way to do something. Why not immerse yourself in everything the world has to offer, including the education you’re paying for?
Third, get organized! This is something I still struggle with, but my advice would be to develop a system that works and stick with it. I’m talking bills, deadlines, to-do lists, whatever it takes. The same thing can be said when it comes to managing your time. As a graphic designer, staying on task is crucial your success. Over my college career, I have refined my ability to procrastinate and have become more than proficient in finding things to do when I should be working on others. This is an example of what you should not do. Believe me, organizing one aspect of your life will inevitably transfer to others.
So, I realize this advice won’t get you through life or make you a world famous Graphic Designer. I’m not an authority and am just starting out on this road myself. Looking back, if someone had sat me down and gave me this very same talk ten years ago, who knows, I could’ve been famous by now.
You can see more of Michael’s work at http://www.behance.net/skatt3rbrain