FROM LAURA ANGLE …
Hey guys!! Welcome to your first real design class! While this is a very exciting time, it can also be extremely overwhelming. Here are some tips to get you through alive.
- START EVERYTHING ASAP. You’re going to get everything at the beginning of the semester and it will definitely be overwhelming, but if you take the time to actually read over the assignment when you get it and start think about potential ideas, you’re going to be in much better shape when it comes time to actually start designing. Plus, it’ll give you a good sense of where you’re headed in the semester so you can better understand your workload and balance your time accordingly!
- DON’T NIX ANY SKETCHES. Odds are, the first idea you have won’t end up being the final project. By savingÂ all of your ideas, you are creating a wealth of options to come back to in case your chosen design doesn’t pan out like you were planning on. Plus, Professor Strong has a great sense for conceptualization and can see potential in the ideas that you didn’t think were worth the time, leading you to a final product that was better than you ever imagined.
- LISTEN IN CLASS. While there will be days where you will feel overwhelmed by school work and outside activities, the content Prof. Strong teaches throughout the semester is stuff super critical to design and your future career. Not only will it help make you a better designer, but it will teach you the fundamentals that every good designer knows and understands. So when the temptation to pull out your laptop and start working on that NEW 205 articles arises, pull out a notepad instead and soak in as much info as you can (You’ll thank yourself later).
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. The people in the room around you are going to be the people who grow and learn with you over the next few years, and part of being a good designer is learning to collaborate and seek out advice and criticism. You are all a resource for each other and that’s something you should take advantage of throughout the course. Additionally, Prof. Strong has plenty of office hours and tons of advice and wisdom she’d love to talk through with you if you give her the chance.
- HAVE FUN. This is your first real introduction to design, and it should be exciting, so try to remember why you picked this major when its three in the morning the night before your type specimen is due (I promise it will help get you through it).
If you ever need anything, or just want to talk, we are all resources and would love to sit down and chat! We’ve all been where you’ve been and would be more than willing to help you through it!
FROM GRACE LIVELY …
Hey guys! First of all, get excited for this class. It’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of work, but it all really pays off. Here are a couple tips to get you through it!
- I know everyone said this in their posts, but really START EARLY! This class is a lot of work and all projects require thought and planning. Start sketches early on, organize Pinterest boards, just even try to get your mind on each project really early on so you’re not totally lost. And, of course, don’t start designing the night before, it just won’t work. Plan your designs and schedule your time!
- DON’T DOUBT YOURSELF! There will be times during the semester when you’ll feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. It happens in every course (at least for me) but don’t stress TOO much about not knowing, it’ll create a roadblock for you and stop you from creating something. Instead of doubting yourself, look for inspiration, go to office hours or talk to your peers!
- RELY ON EACH OTHER! Graphic Design is a very small major at Syracuse, and odds are most of the people in your class are people you’ll be spending the next few years with. Get to know each other, go to Bird or Food.com together to work or just grab coffee together. It’s really nice to feel like you have a support system amongst people who know what you’re going through, especially come the end of the semester when you’re pulling the inevitable all-nighters and need buddies with you!
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS COURSE! Professor Strong is endlessly knowledgable, and every project really can boost your skills in one way or another. The most important thing is to really go all in on your designs, try new things and have fun!
FROM JOHN DOSCAS …
Hello, designers! Prepare yourselves for a busy semester, but most importantly, a semester of tremendous growth. This is your first course as design majors and the beginning a beautiful journey. After finally having completing this part of my own journey, here are a few pieces of advice for you:
- Take advantage of the resources around you. And that doesn’t just mean Professor Strong (even though she is an excellent resource). Your peers in this class are going to be your peers for the next few years, and you guys can do amazing things together. Get to know them, bounce ideas around with each other. Newhouse is full of creative minds that are all here to help you, don’t forget to use them!
- Manage your time wisely.You’re going to hear it a million times, but it’s one of the most important lessons you can learn as a designer. There is nothing worse than submitting a design that hasn’t reached the full potential of your vision. Set some time aside everyday to work towards your deadlines, even if it’s just sketching or looking for inspiration right after you’ve been given an assignment. Just do it, you’ll thank me later when you’re able to get more than 5 minutes of sleep before a deadline.
- Don’t be afraid to let go of an idea. It can be hard to let go of something you’ve been working on for so long, but you have to be open to criticism and change in order to see growth in yourself and in your work.
At the end of the day, just remember to have fun with this class. It can seem intimidating at times, but you can do it.
FROM JORDAN SCHNITZER …
Hello new designers!! Welcome to your first design class! I hope you guys are all super excited for this semester, it will be one of the most stressful yet rewarding classes you will take. Here are some tips to help you get through the semester:
- Absolutely do not start a project the night before it’s due or even two nights before it’s due. You will never create your best work the night before. Throw down some sketches or make a PinterestÂ board, look at anything and everything that might give you inspiration. There are a lot of assignments in the class, and starting early is NEVER a bad idea.
- If you are working on something and it just isn’t working, let it go. This is something I learned at the very end of the semester that would have saved me a lot of time and effort. There were many times when I loved a design so much that I couldn’t see (or didn’t want to see) that I could have done something much better if I just tried something new. Don’t throw out the thing you made, save it for later!
- This class is supposed to be fun, if you find yourself making something you hate then you’re doing it wrong. You have the ability to turn it into something you love and make something really wonderful.
- And lastly, it’s ok if you have no idea what you’re doing because odds are, someone else is in the same boat. Get to know your classmates and bounce ideas off of them. It’s good to get a second set of eyes to look at something, they could catch something that you might never have noticed. If you’re stuck on something, take a breather. Don’t work on it for a day, you’ll come back to it with fresh eyes and realize what needs to be changed or fixed.
FROM ALLIE GALASSO …
Hi guys! This class was definitely a lot of work and very time consuming but in the end, your hard work and efforts really show. Looking back at your final projects and seeing all that you have accomplished by the end of the semester is always an amazing feeling.
1. Something I definitely encourage is time management. Deadlines sneak up on you in this class. Trust me, procrastination is a flaw of mine. I know starting things early is usually not the way students go about things but it really does make life way less stressful. Also, leaving time to meet with Prof. Strong to go over your work is so helpful and will guide you in the right direction. As much as your opinion matters, her opinion matters more ;)
2. Keep notes. Each time a new project was assigned, I immediately had ideas of what I wanted to create and wanted to jump right into things. However, I also had other classes and assignments that I would get caught up in and end up holding off on starting the project. When you begin getting ideas, write them down and sketch them out so you have something to look back on later.
Remember that these are your designs and showing your own style and creativity is so important! Have fun with these projects and good luck!
FROM RACHEL SCHWARTZ …
Hey guys. I know that Prof. Strong will have you reading these on one of the first day of classes, so I hope that I can help guide you somehow as you begin this journey for the next four months.
I want to preface this post with all honesty, and tell you that this was one of the most rigorous courses that I’ve ever taken in college. She demands a lot of you, and wants your work to be the best that it can be, and for you to become the best designer that you can be. She will push you and you might even cry because it’s 4 am on deadline day and you’re still not even done, but somewhere within it all, you will begin to find yourself as a designer. You will begin to see your work come to life and hopefully a smile will spread across your face.
- Seeing as this is one of your first courses as a design student with only design majors, the stakes are much higher. You are surrounded by students, just like you, that know what they’re doing and will sometimes do it better than you. DON’T LET THAT DISCOURAGE YOU. Everyone is different, everyone has their own style, and what’s right from some, may not be right for all.
- There are seven projects in this course. And you might think, oh seven, that’s not a big deal. Do not mistake that number because it’s small for being a small amount of work. You will 100% spend every single day for the next four months working on those seven projects. Sketching them, designing them, presenting them, revising them, this class will consume everything you do, but just remember that when all is said and done, you are coming out of it with at least a couple of new projects for your portfolio.
- Do work that makes you happy, and work that you’ll be proud of. During our final presentations the other day, one of the students in our class made a comment about how “trying shows.” If you leave it to the last minute, aka the night before, it will show. If you work on it a few days before, it’ll show. Trust me, I know that we all have other classes to take, and other responsibilities (something that I struggled with in this course was balancing all of those) but try to make this course your fun one. Yes, it is an insane amount of work, but it’s fun. Design is fun, it’s supposed to be fun, so try not to get too caught up in the stress of it all.
If you guys need anything, to cry, complain, ask questions, whatever it may be, come find me around Newhouse. Chat me on Facebook with questions, I don’t mind. I just went through what you’re about to go through, and I think after all of it I can say that I am better designer for it.
Take a deep breathe, and start designing,
FROM CLAUDIA MCCANN …
Hi, new design babies! Get ready to get so close to InDesign and Illustrator because they are going to be your best friends for this semester! I know you are probably really nervous considering VIS 207 was the only design course offered prior. But here are some tips on how to tackle this course!
- Do not underestimate the power of Pinterest. I have become such a superfan since going through this course! There are so many cool designs and artwork posted on Pinterest, and it’s always a great place to roam when searching for inspiration or attacking that creator’s block.
- Try to come up with many different sketches/ideas before starting a new project. A lot of the time, I would pull different elements from my many different sketches/ideas to come up with my final product.
- DESIGN WORK THAT YOU LOVE/CARE ABOUT — it will make the process 100% more enjoyable
- There is no free time. Work on projects as often as you can, there are always things that can be changed/fixed. Also, so you don’t have to pull all-nighters like the rest of us.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things on the programs, you can youtube anything nowadays and you only get better by trying.
- Prof. Strong is always right ;)
- Don’t stress, everything will be okay.
Good Luck! xox
FROM DANI KATZ …
Dear future designers, welcome to your first “real” graphic design course as an official MPD major! I am not going to lie; GRA 437 is a lot of work, but don’t worry; it is so much fun! You will grow immensely and accomplish beyond what you thought was capable. Here is some advice that I leave you with to have a successful semester in GRA 437 with Professor Strong:
- Go to office hours. Trust me, I thought my first ideas were amazing the first time around too, but they can only get better from there. This leads me to my next piece of advice:
- Your design is never 100% complete. There is always work and changes that can be made to improve your work, whether you agree with that or not.
- Time Management! Plan ahead and do not leave these projects until the last minute. There is nothing worse than staying up all night and trying to beat the clock. I recommend that you do a little bit every day. Map out how long you think each step will take you and set a goal of what you want to get done by when. Also, if you are having an off day, step away from the computer and do something else. Sometimes your mind just needs a break. A nap, a quick trip to the gym, a walk outside, anything that will get you to refocus. Even though this will take some time out of the time you could be working, it will all be worth it in the end because you will return with a fresh mind, have new and better ideas, and be much more productive.
- Lastly, know that you will have a chance to revise all of your work, so don’t beat yourself up if something is not “perfect.” This does not mean by any means to submit unfinished or poor work, but don’t let it affect you if the first submission is not how you envisioned it would turn out.
FROM SARAH THOMAS …
Hey designers, this class is going to be a lot of work, but it will be well worth the effort once you look back and see what you accomplished. Be excited you’ll do great things! Here’s some advice from my experience:
- Carry around a sketchbook. When you’re going throughout your day and an idea for one of your projects pops in your head, a sketchbook will allow you to write it down and even sketch out some ideas.
- There will be a lot of work and projects at once, so start everything early. Time is goig to be your worst enemy in any project based class so make good use of it. Starting last minute will not only stress you out, it won’t allow your work to show what you’re capable of.
- Have fun with your designs! Don’t think of them as projects that you dread, thing of them as unique challenges. After all, this is what you have probably decided to do with your life. So make the most of your time here to explore new things and use feedback to make your work even better.
Take advantage of the fact that you are still in college and still learning. This is the best time to get creative and find your own style. Good luck this semester!