Come on in …

Welcome to your Typographic Design course blog.

This is where we’ll keep the conversation going beyond our time together at Newhouse and where you can find pertinent course materials. I’ve posted class information here, as well as tips, inspirations, warnings—perhaps even a life lesson or two. Your job is to post your own thoughts, findings and lessons learned as well as to read and comment on mine and those of your classmates. You also will post your work here from time to time so we can all benefit from your creativity and insight. I’ll provide details in class as we go along. Meanwhile, a quick tour of the site:

HOME: Where posts live. Please tag and categorize each of your posts. I have gotten the tag/categories lists started, but feel free to add as you see fit (in all caps, please). If you have trouble, let me know and I’ll create one; meanwhile, select “Uncategorized.” If you’ve never used WordPress and would like a quick tutorial on how to post, let me know.

SYLLABUS: On this page, you can view the course syllabus and download a PDF.

BLOG ASSIGNMENTS: Here you’ll find the occasional blog assignment particulars.Your first two assignments—Why Design? and Reflection—are ready and waiting for you here. 

GOOD READS: Articles and blog posts I think will help you along in your pursuit of type mastery.

HELPFUL LINKS: Websites and lists you might want to peruse as you explore the world of typography and look for project help.

 

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE SPRING CLASS OF 2019

FROM KEVIN CAMELO

Hello future designers! You are in for the time of your life. I promise it will be an amazing experience filled with both highs and lows, but you’ll definitely come out on the other side as a better designer. Welcome to VIS317 typographic design! Get ready with these quick tips:

  1. Schedule ahead: I would always get together with some classmates on the night before work is due and battle the 10 p.m. assignment deadline. It was quite the experience, but I can say it was worth it. Listen to all of the wonderful people who have taken this class: Time management is key. Once the assignment sheet is passed out, schedule ahead! Set aside some time to brainstorm, sketch and come up with something unexpected.
  2. Back up your decisions with some design knowledge: Prof. Strong’s lectures are SUPER important. Sure, you can design something, but can you back up the decisions you made? By taking notes you will not only be prepared for the final exam at the end of the semester, but you will have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that you can use at future jobs, internships and presentations. Wow them with a bit of gestalt theory and tell them what a tittle is. And no, I did not misspell that word. (But seriously, I should’ve taken more notes.)
  3. Get to know Prof. Strong: Prof. Strong wants you to succeed. If the lengthy feedback videos aren’t indicative of that, go to her office hours. Even if you think the video is enough, go anyway! My designs were never perfect, and Prof. Strong has the know-how and the eye to tell you what’s not working.
  4. Join an upperclassman in the Steele Center: The Steele Center is my second home. You can always catch a bunch of designers and photographers talking to each other and working on their assignments. Don’t be afraid to be wacky, ask for critique, or introduce yourself to an upperclassman. It really helped me when I was unsure of a direction.

This semester will be difficult, but it will be worth it! Have a great time, enjoy the ride and keep going. I can’t wait to see what you add to the VIS family.

FROM KATIE BENSON

Hi guys!! First of all, congrats on finally getting to your first major-only course — its going to be a fun one! Get ready because although this class is tons of fun and you learn a lot, it can also be very stressful at times. Luckily, we have some tips for you before you get to0 far into the course:

  1. TAKE NOTES: Although lecture classes can be somewhat dull, make sure you take notes during these classes because not only will it help you on the final exam, but it’s also super important information that would be helpful to reference at later times in your college career. So, even if you enjoy the class critique days more than the lectures, be sure to pay attention and take good notes because you never know when you’ll need them next.
  2. GET TO KNOW YOUR CLASSMATES: The people sitting around you will be in every graphic design course with you until you graduate, so make sure to get to know them. Not only can they help you with feedback on designs during the semester and future design courses, but they may be your colleagues at some point as well! Professional relationships aside, becoming friends with the people in your class makes the constant stress and designing much more enjoyable, so get to know everyone as soon as possible!
  3. START YOUR PROJECTS EARLY: Although this has probably been covered by every student in last year’s class, it is a super important tip that I couldn’t pass up. The key factor to being successful in this course is starting each project as soon as you get the assignment sheet. Whether it’s just researching your topic or drawing sketches, a head start on every project can only help your final product. I’ve found that doing this puts the project in the back of your mind early so you have more time to create drafts and get to your final version.

And with that I wish you all the best of luck in both this class and your future design endeavors! See you around Newhouse!

FROM TALIA TACKIM

Hey VIS 317 students! Prepare for one of the most challenging, and most rewarding, classes you’ll take in your time at SU. It’s a lot of worth, but you get to walk away with so much growth, and Professor Strong is such a great teacher. Here are some of my tips for getting through the class:

  1. You can always do better. Never settle, because what you design the first time around will never be the best. Sometimes it’s not until after you’ve gotten Professor Strong’s feedback and started working on your revisions that you realize how much better your project could be. Always be prepared to do more work, and as you’re working on your first draft, ask yourself what you could be doing to make the project better. When you get feedback, take it seriously. Oftentimes Professor Strong and your classmates will see things that you don’t.
  2. Be critical in your concepting. Half the battle in coming up with good design is coming up with a strong concept. The worst projects you’ll make are the ones when you don’t spend time thinking about what you want to communicate with your project, and instead, just start designing. The strongest projects are the projects that are well thought out and communicative. Before you start designing, and before you even start sketching, spend some time planning out the exact message you want to share with your designs, and then start trying to visualize it.
  3. Get a hobby. No seriously. Find something outside of design that you’re passionate about, and use it to make your design better. I’m an English dual major, and the critical thinking that I learn from that helps me when I think about my designs. But besides that, I’ve been able to use my love for books to help me come up with my favorite design projects. Hobbies are also super helpful when you need to turn your brain off from a design for a moment. You’ll return to your work refreshed and inspired.

Have an amazing semester! It’s going to be amazing.

FROM ANASTASIA GOLUB

This is your first major-only design class, so it will definitely feel different than any of your other Newhouse classes. This is my advice:

  1. DON’T PROCRASTINATE! I’m sure 99% of the other posts say this as well. I read this in the beginning of the class too from previous students and I thought, “I’ll try not to!” Seriously, don’t. Procrastination is my biggest weakness that has been positively reinforced in the past because I somehow manage to always pull it off, but not for this class. Also, designing a whole project within just a couple of days is really exhausting, so start as soon as Prof. Strong gives out the assignment sheet.
  2. Get comfortable with the adobe programs if you’re not already! I was frustrated at times when I couldn’t execute my idea because of my lack if knowledge in Illustrator, InDesign, etc. Take some time to really learn the programs (lynda.com is great!) so you’re able to execute your vision accurately.
  3. Go to office hours. I regret not going into office hours before projects were due because I was often working up until the last minute before the deadline. Prof. Strong is really helpful during her office hours and going to see her even in the beginning stages of your work is super helpful! This also will help a lot in the end when you don’t have to do all the project revisions at once. If there’s a break from work in this class, use it to revise your past projects!

This class was hard. Even during times I was struggling, I still felt glad that this is what I chose to pursue. I realized I would rather be stressing over these projects than any other school work I had. Hopefully you all will also realize your design for passion if you have not already! Good luck :)

FROM CHANDLER DEWGARD

I hope you enjoy VIS 317! Here are my top three pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t procrastinate: It’s really easy to think that you can finish an assignment the night before it’s due, but trust me, you can’t. If you try to finish an assignment right before it is due, you will miss certain requirements and it will be messy, even if it looks good from afar. A lot of projects have to be printed and mistakes are easily seen when printed out so take your time and plan in advance.
  2. Listen to your feedback as soon as you get it: When you get your feedback videos from Prof. Strong it’s super easy to hold it off and not listen to it right away, but it is super helpful to listen to them when she sends them and to write down your corrections. This makes it easier to correct your mistakes in a timely manner and gives you time to meet with Prof. Strong if you’re stuck on something. The semester goes by fast and all of the projects will creep up on you!!
  3. Take advice from Prof. Strong and your classmates: Presenting in class can be very scary sometimes, but everyone is there to help you. Even if your critiques are harsh, don’t take it personally, just use that as motivation to make your designs better and implement the critiques when working on your assignments.

FROM JIAQI LIU

Hi new students for VIS 317! This is the first class after your graphic design intro class. I had been struggling for a long time during this class to overcome my own problem: paying too much attention to aesthetics instead of the function and content.

  1. Therefore, my first advice would be to try your best to find a balance between aesthetics and function and content.
  2. Besides, do not be afraid to remain large empty space on your work. Try to play with white space and make your work looks more minimal and modern. Less is better.
  3. Last but not least, communicate with Prof. Strong on time when you have problem. Professor Strong is a very helpful and patient professor. She would love to help you out.

FROM STEPHEN SCHULZ

Here are three things to keep in mind while starting VIS 317 with Prof. Strong:

  1. Go for it! You won’t believe the work that you can create. If you set your mind to it and really push further, past good enough, you can achieve amazing things in this class. I know that for myself this was huge.
  2. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Everyone in your class shares the same passion, so don’t be afraid to ask for their opinion on something. Two or three sets of eyes are always better than one. Also, the relationships you build in this class will go a long way as you will have many more classes with your current classmates.
  3. Take a break! Working for hours and hours on the same thing can be mentally and creatively exhausting. Get up and walk away for a while to let your head reset. For myself, whenever I felt I was in a block and wasting my time I took a break and did something else to later return. Not only with this help the ideas flow, but it will also relieve some of the in-the-moment stress.

Good luck! This class is amazing and I know you’ll love it!

FROM AMANDA VENTURA

Hello new students!! Welcome to your second major course. Get ready because you’re in for a heavy semester of work (fun work :). Below is some advice I would like to share with you:

  1. PAY ATTENTION AND ALWAYS TAKE NOTES: Make sure you always have a notepad and pen on you because the powerpoints presented each lecture are going to contain useful information for later tests in class along with understanding terms.
  2. WATCH FEEDBACK VIDEOS: The videos Prof. Strong is going to send you after each project presentation contain helpful and important information that will help you understand the things not working in your designs and ways to properly fix them. You are also going to have to fix all your projects by the end of the year, too, so watching these are KEY.
  3. DON’T PROCRASTINATE: Projects are going to come and go fast so being on top of everything is highly reccomended. Sometimes you are going to have to work on more than one project at once so you need to have good time management. Trust me, you do not want to be staying up past 3 a.m. finishing a project.

With these three tips I hope you enjoy typography because it is a class like no other

FROM JUNYU GUAN

Hey aspiring designers, welcome to VIS 317 Typographic Design! Taking this course is a good opportunity to build your portfolio. Here’re my three tips for you and hopefully they will be helpful when you start the journey.

  1. Don’t be afraid to start over. There are chances to create something better. Starting over takes time but you can find yourself obtaining more experience. And more importantly, you can design something you can be proud of.
  2. Collect design inspiration. I look for inspiration when I have no idea what to do with my project, and I can always find something useful. You can definitely learn a lot from other good designs.
  3. Practice your presentation. It’s important for a graphic designer to articulate her design thinking. I can see my progress throughout the course. Be prepared before you present to the class as a professional graphic designer.

Good luck with everything this semester! :)

FROM PAYTON CAMPBELL

Hello future design students … After reflecting upon my time in VIS 317 this past semester, I thought I’d share a few pieces of advice for you to get the most out of this course and develop as a designer.

  1. Slowly start to immerse yourself in design-related work over the course of the semester. I did this by creating Pinterest channels and made an Instagram account where I just followed designers and design-related work. It served as a place of creativity that sparked inspiration. I started to also form my Instagram around design and unfollow accounts that didn’t align with my future goals or design. Over time, I also started to curate a top list of graphic designers, photographers, videographers, fashion designers, and artists that I admired.
  2. Visit Prof. Strong during office hours. She really pushes you forward in your designs. Many of the collective brainstorms I had with her birthed some amazing ideas. Her instant feedback saves a lot of time in the long run. Every time after I left, I felt my designs become more cohesive and felt better directed. A design is never 100% complete and she will continue to push you in the right direction especially when you feel blocked.
  3. Find a way to focus on your niche or an area of design that will keep you motivated. Do work that makes you happy and that you are proud of. When you are working on a project that you care about, it shows and you enjoy the design process even more.
  4. Always stay committed to the idea that your best work is yet to come. Take every opportunity given to perfect your designs, and don’t ever think an assignment is too perfect to correct. The project that I was most proud of ended up being the last assignment I worked on!
  5. Get to know some of the other designers in the class. They are helpful to bounce ideas off of and provide encouragement throughout the course. Become comfortable showing your work to your peers. This was probably the hardest lesson for me to learn, but it was extremely necessary for developing faith in myself and a vision for myself as a designer.

This course will push you beyond what you thought possible, so be open to the process and allow yourself to grow. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Wishing you the best of luck!

FROM BEN CAUZ

Hello, designers of the future. I feel old writing this, as it was just four months ago that I was reading the advice of the designers of the past. As the ghost of designers present, I am here to offer three pieces of advice to get you through Typographic Design. Be prepared … this class was a lot of work and very time consuming. Here we go.

  1. Time management is key. Make sure that you always dedicate enough time to each of your projects. They take a while. It would be wise to begin them as soon as possible after receiving the assignment sheet.
  2. Talk to your peers. Get advice from your classmates! It’s super helpful to get another perspective for your designs and you might even consider listening to their advice too!
  3. Never expect to get it right the first time. You’ll never submit something that is perfect and doesn’t need to be changed for your first draft. There are always ways too improve, and once you get that, your work will be much more enjoyable.

Good luck!

FROM MELISSA WARD

Hey everyone! Welcome to your first graphic design major class! This course will be definitely one of your toughest classes, but all of the time and effort you put into it will be well worth it! I’m going to list some things that I have learned throughout the semester that will hopefully help you throughout your time in this class!

  1. TIME MANAGEMENT: This may be a given, but when I say START EARLY, I’m not kidding. If you want to create your best work, you will need to use a lot of your free time to work on projects since they all have so many tedious aspects to them. If you wait until the last minute there’s no way that you’ll have enough time to create something you’re proud of and will want to show off. Also DO NOT put off revisions because if you do, come portfolio time you will be super overwhelmed with everything that needs to be completed.
  2. OFFICE HOURS: I did not take advantage of office hours or meetings with Prof. Strong as early as I should have. She wants to help you!!!!! Meeting with her is extremely important because it is an individualized environment where you can ask her literally anything. Her feedback and suggestions are SUPER helpful when working on redos!!!
  3. PRACTICE PUBLIC SPEAKING: I know it’s hard for some of you to get up there and talk about your own work because I am definitely one of those people. This being said, it’s a super important part of being a design major! Rehearsing beforehand and really engaging the audience while presenting is something that will really help you in the future! If you have a hard time presenting like I do, notecards can really help you make sure you don’t forget anything you want to say. Also, Prof. Strong and your classmates want to hear what you have to say, so try to keep that in mind if you tend to get nervous! We are all in the same boat!

I hope this will help you get a gist of really important things beforehand, so you can really enjoy your semester and be proud of the work you create!!! I wish you the best of luck in the beginning of your career as a graphic design major!

FROM LAUREN HURWITZ

Helllloooooo new design friends! Welcome to VIS 317, probably one of the most time consuming but also rewarding classes you will take here at Syracuse. Throughout the semester, I learned a lot about both myself and design, and here are some tips and tricks that will hopefully be helpful for you when starting this class. :)

  1. Start your assignments early. I don’t know how many times people told me to do this, and I never did, BUT ACTUALLY DO IT!!! So many times other school work will get in the way, and you will find yourself having little time to design, so start projects early or schedule a time to work on them so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter before one is due!
  2. Design with intention. This is probably the most important thing I learned this semester. Make sure that when you are handing in a project you can rationalize and defend why you used/placed every single detail on a page.
  3. Get to know your classmates. There are a lot of presentations in this class, so if you are not too comfortable standing up in front of strangers you should definitely try to get to know them! Also, these people will be in your classes for the rest of college and have great feedback/advice to share.

You may find yourself frustrated at points in this class, but remember everyone is here to help you become a better designer and grow. Good luck and please send me your designs, I cannot wait to see what you guys make! :)

FROM ELIZABETH GOLDISH

Hey new designers. Welcome to the first course you will take as a graphic design major! I’m not going to lie, this course is challenging and pushes you out of your comfort zone, but it is also extremely rewarding and you learn so much over the course of the semester. Here are the top three things that have helped me, and I hope they will be just as helpful to you.

  1. Start projects early: This is the most important thing and will probably be a piece of advice that is stressed to you the most. Start your projects as soon as you can. Whether it be doing initial research or sketching out designs, none of the projects for this class can be completed the night before. It is so easy to think that your first design will be the one you turn in for a grade, but starting early and taking breaks can reveal that the initial idea may not actually be working. Take your time and take advantage of the time you have to do the assignments so that you can show off your best work in the end. You will be so grateful that you started early. Trust me.
  2. Meet with Prof. Strong as much as you can: I also cannot stress this enough, and I wish that I took more advantage of office hours earlier in the semester. Meeting with Prof. Strong is incredibly helpful, and you can ask any questions and get immediate feedback on drafts or after you turn in a project. The one-on-one aspect is so helpful when you may feel stuck on a project. I know for me at least, that talking an assignment or an idea through can help me to further develop it, and Prof. Strong always wants to help and see students succeed. Do not wait until the end of the semester; start early.
  3. Look everywhere for inspiration: If you ever feel stuck when completing an assignment, do not worry because we’ve all been there. Inspiration is everywhere. Use Google, Pinterest, Instagram or any other website, etc., to look up images or ideas that are similar to what you are trying to create. Sometimes just looking at the work of other designers can be extremely helpful when you feel like you’re in a slump. Also on this note, ask your friends and classmates for help and become friends with everyone in class because you will all be in class together for the rest of the design classes.

At first, this class might seem overwhelming, but you can look to all of the students before you who made it through and are here giving you the advice and tips you need to succeed. This class will challenge you to think in new ways as a designer and you will learn so much in the process. Remember to have fun and enjoy the work that you are creating. Good luck with everything this semester!

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Dear Future Designers

If you are reading this, you are about to embark on a wild ride through your first major specific course at Newhouse. Congratulations! While it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of new material at the start of a new semester, there are some important things to keep in mind. I’ve created a list of my most valuable pieces of advice for the future students who will be in the same spot I once was.

  1. Plan Ahead. Be Deliberate. Don’t Procrastinate. It can be difficult to plan for projects far in advance because you feel like you have months to complete them. Time between projects is way shorter than you think, and I have put myself in too many situations where I was crumbling under the pressure. Even if you believe that you have great ideas and remarkable talents, design cannot become fully developed right away. Allow yourself to have ample time to test out a couple of designs before the assignment is really due. It’s important to go through the trial and error process earlier rather than later. Not only will you allow your concepts to develop further, but you will alleviate some stress if you do not wait to start an assignment late.
  2. Don’t Be Shy. Professor Strong loves her job and loves her students beyond belief. It can be very intimidating to talk to a professor one-on-one sometimes, and can be even harder to make yourself open and vulnerable for critiques. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and connect with Professor Strong, she wants to get to know you as a designer and she wants to help you more than anything. The same goes for your classmates; they are going through the same struggle as you are and are more willing to help than you may think. I am so grateful that I was able to bounce some ideas off of my peers and they were always available for advice when I asked. Not only will you get help in design, but you will probably make some new friends too.
  3. Lastly, Love Yourself and Be Willing To Work Through Mistakes. There have been plenty of occasions where I have made errors on projects or jumbled up words during a presentation. It’s okay. This class can be difficult and tiring, but it is meant to train us for the real design world that we will encounter in the future. The important thing is to recognize that failures happen to everyone and will only help shape us into a better person. If you bully yourself too much on assignments, you will lose passion for the work you create. Love your work and love yourself.

Following my advice might not be easy at first, but I hope you get here in the end. The design community is powerful and vast, and we are all here to help you and push you further. You just have to believe in yourself too.

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Dear Future Designers

Welcome to your first major-only class, VIS 317! I hope you are very excited about this! This class is very fun, but also challenging. Here are some tips that might help:

  1. Go to Prof. Strong’s office hours. She is very professional and gives very critical and useful feedback. She will try to push you to do your best on every project. Sometimes, you don’t even need to be very prepared and have a dedicated design concept. Prof. Strong will help you brainstorm and guide you towards the best solution. So don’t be shy! Good design comes from a lot of revisions. 
  2. Write good copies. As an international student, I struggled with the copywriting part. But smart wording can add a lot to your design. Such as taglines and titles.
  3. Practice your presentation. You will be presenting every project to your class, and you will be graded for your presentations. Public speaking is a very important skill for designers. Good public speaking but only delivers clear informations to the audience, but also makes you looks professional. Practice your speech in front of the mirror. This not only can help you prepare your presentation but also you can see your posture. 

Good luck and enjoy designing!

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Dear Future Designers

Hello designers! I hope you all are excited for VIS 317, it’s going to be so a lot of fun and great experience! It’s also going to be a lot of hard work, but trust me it will be worth it in the end when you see your final portfolio so hang in there. Here are some tips to help you prepare for it:

Start early.

I know you should do this on all your assignments, but let’s face it not many students start every assignment they get early. If you get into this habit with your design projects though it will make your life so much easier. I started my animal illustrations right when I got them and worked on them a little bit at a time every day since they can be very frustrating. It made the project a lot more fun to design, whereas waiting until closer to the due date to start will leave you less time to develop your concept and try out multiple solutions.

Get help.

Definitely go see Professor Strong for office hours whenever you need some advice or are stuck on a project. That’s what she’s there for and she gives great advice about your projects and a lot of the time you will learn more about the programs and design theories in general from talking with her. Take advantage of the great help, and she’s really fun to talk to as well. I spent the entire day before the typeface exhibit in her office perfecting my panels and it was honestly a lot of fun!

Stay confident.

Remember that everyone has to start somewhere and learning is a huge part of the process. I remember coming in on the first day of class with my movie poster thinking it was amazing and was so excited to show it. Now I look back at my original and think oh my god what was I doing? Don’t let this get you down, you will get so much better over the semester after learning more of the design principles and learning how to better develop the concept of the design. Now I look at my projects and am proud of all the hard work I did to elevate them to the level they’re at now.

Good luck and have a great semester!

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Dear Future Designers

Do not procrastinate!

As hard as it is, you will thank yourself for starting projects in advance. Professor Strong gives you ample time to complete assignments, and there’s no reason to scramble the night before. You will be far less stressed if you plan accordingly and work over a long period of time.

Take advantage of office hours.

Professor Strong wants to help as much as she can. By going to office hours, it shows her that you care about your work, and she will be happy to give you feedback. Office hours are a good opportunity to get more feedback outside of class critiques ad ask questions.

Relax.

At first glance, VIS 317 may sound intimidating. But by the end of the semester, you’ll look back and see what amazing work you’ve made, and it’s so rewarding. When Professor Strong introduced the original typeface assignment, I never thought I would be able to do it, but sure enough, I did. Trust your abilities, and have fun!

 

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A letter to next year’s designers

  1. Every detail matter— you’ll facing a lot of design choice in your future assignments, remember to pay more attention to the detail, which will helps your design works succeed. For example, the white border on the edge or spacing between the letters.
  2. Print the design out— the only way to confirm your text is in the proper size is print it out.
  3. The purpose of revision is to make the work better not the due extension.

Last but not least, have fun and be creative! You’ll grow really fast during this class. And also booking office hours on Sunday or it will be no time for you! lol

 

Best,

Frank