The most important thing that I learned about design this semester is probably actually two things: Keep things simple and learn to take a step back from your work and look at it as if you were someone else seeing it for the first time. I learned that simplicity can look more elegant than a design that is more complex. Also, I learned that if you step outside of yourself for a moment to look at your work it will help you to look at it from a different perspective. I found that if I look at my work for too long, I start to get tired of looking at it and I begin to miss little mistakes. At that point, it is best to just close the project for a few hours or even a day and then open it later with a fresh mind.
I think the most important thing that I learned about typography is how different typefaces have different personalities. Every typeface is different and elegant in its own way. I think the most important skill that I learned from this class was how to choose the right typeface for what I am trying to create. This class also successfully made me change my favorite go-to typeface from Avenir to Baskerville, the typeface that I used for my type specimen.
The most important thing that I learned about myself is that if I am stressed, I cannot design. The projects that I was less stressed about and more excited to create ended up being the ones that turned out the best for me (my book and my specimen). Some of the other projects did not come out as well as I had expected probably because I spent most of my time freaking out about what to do and how I would have time to do it. If I can somehow manage to calm down and take a deep breath, or maybe drink more coffee, I will not only save hours of headaches, but the quality of the work that I produce will be much higher.
Three pieces of advice: TAKE DEEP BREATHS! I pretty much already said this but stressing and freaking out will only make you work slower and weaken your design. Second, take breaks. It is impossible to sit at your computer for six or seven hours at a time working on a single project without the quality of the project suffering. Take breaks after each hour or so to stretch, walk around, eat, or do whatever as long as it has noting to do with staring at a computer screen. The longer you stare at your projects in one sitting, the sloppier your work will be. I found that if I take a break and come back to my projects later, I am able to come into it with a fresh, headache-free perspective and I am able to see little mistakes that I did not catch earlier. Finally, enjoy the design process and design according to your interests. If you do not like your design, chances are someone else probably won’t either. It’s ok to not like something you’ve started. Just start with a fresh sketch and maybe some caffeine to rekindle your creativity. Most of all, do not get down on yourself when you feel like things are not working the way you hoped they would. Keep pushing yourself because challenges only make you a stronger designer.