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 on aesthetic pleasing but not the functional content.
Therefore, my first advice would be: try your best to find a balance between aesthetic pleasing and functional content.
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.
Last but not least, communicate with Professor Strong on time when you have problem. Professor Strong is a very helpful and patient professor. She would love to help you out.