Finishing 437: What I Learned

What’s the most important thing I learned about design?

  • This course has taught me that the devil isn’t in the details, brilliance is. After being in the class all semester, I have realized that a design that looks great from a quick glance can be ruined upon closer inspection with the smallest of mistakes. As I am creating my portfolio and interviewing for jobs, this has become exceedingly important. Professional designers are looking for students with a keen eye for detail and an obsession with type. Thanks to this class, I am confident that I have become a more conscious designer and a more competitive job candidate.

What’s the most important thing I learned about typography?

  • To be honest, when I came into this course I was quite frustrated because I had already completed a Typography course at my last school (but could not earn the transfer credits because I was lacking an iPad assignment). During my freshman year of college, I had already completed a specimen, a book, and typographic illustrations and so I was a little confused why I could not be taking junior level design courses with other students my age when I got to Syracuse… but boy, do I feel stupid for thinking that now! I quickly learned that my type class at Roger Williams was far from sufficient in teaching me the details of typography that I learned this semester. Typographic rules were not only taught, but avidly reinforced in the assignments. It was a little tricky to override all the habits I’d gotten so used to, but I truly feel like I am a better designer after (re)learning all about type.

What’s the most important thing I learned about myself?

  • The most important thing I’ve learned about myself is that it’s okay to compare yourself to others, just don’t be obsessed with competition. To anyone who has known me for a while, it’s no secret that I am an extremely competitive person. Sometimes this is a good thing… but in a classroom full of budding designers, it can kind of drive you crazy. I learned that it’s okay to text a classmate and say ‘hey, how’s your project coming?’ just to get a sneak peek at what they’re designing, so long as you don’t let it impact your ideas or your regard for your talents. Honestly, I think that this desire to see other student’s work mainly stems from curiosity for what my classmates are capable of creating, which continues to surprise and impress me.

Now that you’ve been through it, what three pieces of advice would you give yourself if you were just starting to take this course for the first time?

  • Uno: Don’t procrastinate/manage your time wisely. Taking this class amidst a 19-credit course load was a panic attack waiting to happen, but starting early and planning out time to dedicate to working on my projects saved me a few gray hairs (just a few).
  • Dos: Get to know your classmates! Designers are kick-ass humans and we should all be friends forever. Plus, they come in handy for late night critiques when you’re (apparently) no longer able to spell the word Montana correctly.
  • Tres: Go to office hours! I hate to admit it to myself, but I never did! According to everyone else, this is a great way to get more feedback and to share your thoughts and ideas and I regret missing out on that.


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