Wrapping Up GRA437: What I’ve Learned

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

I’ve learned to always consider the “medium” of the design. Successful design isn’t just about aesthetic, it’s about how it operates and delivers. For me, this meant thinking about the vertical nature of the printed page, or the fact that a tablet design will be, literally, touched. To me, taking care to consider the medium takes designing effective content to another level; it becomes about the experience, rather than just the perception, of the design.


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

Type designers knew what they were doing when they assembled the font that you are using. The most important thing I’ve learned is to respect it. This has led me to the somewhat heartbreaking conclusion that free type probably isn’t the best type; typography should be the foundation of the design, not the final layer of paint. It’s important to use type that is both expressive and high in quality.


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

I’ve learned that just because I’m specializing in a study of design, doesn’t mean I’m an authority on design. I’ve learned to trust the opinions of my designer peers and my non-designer peers alike. In some ways, my best designs this semester came from relinquishing control. This might sound ironic for a designer (let’s face it, designers are the ultimate control freaks), but I’ve learned that thinking like a human before thinking like an artist is critical to making effective products.


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?

1. Avoid working on a project the night before it’s due. Every project needs a little breathing room before being handed in. Allow your thoughts and creative juices to settle for a bit before taking the last look at the project and dropping it on the server. Often, the solution becomes obvious simply with time.

2. Considering a project as “finished” is counterintuitive to the creative process. The work that you will do in this class aren’t just assignments, they’re projects that are critical to your portfolio and, more importantly, your own creative development. Never be resistant to progress or change.

3. Don’t be so quick to say “I like that” or “I don’t like that” when critiquing your or others’ design. It’s a disservice to the art form itself. Rather than rejecting a design, think about how to improve it. Rather than praising a design, think about what you can take away from it.


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