Hello, I'm Wawlden.
As a junior in highschool, I've discovered that programming is too much for my right-side-oriented brain, so I stopped pretending that I wanted to be a software programmer and went ahead to pursue graphic design.
Critiques are very much appreciated, and any tips relating to finding internships/jobs!
Last edited by Wawlden; March 7th, 2014 at 01:02 AM.
So you want to, eventually, become a graphic designer? Let's not worry about internships or jobs at this point. At best, your work is at a high-school/beginner college student level. That's not a bad thing because you are in high school Graphic design is as much a skill as painting and drawing (btw… doing those two things will can really help you out in graphic design) and it takes a lot of time to develop the skills. Unlike drawing and painting for your self, you will be working day in and day out for your employer and for your clients, so you need to learn how to work within a ridged set of guidelines. So to become a successful designer I would propose that one posses the following skills:
- work fast
- produce high quality work that fits within the project guidelines (not just what you think looks cool -- often these are two VERY different things)
- work well with others
- (Print Designer -- posters, brochures, logos, collateral) intimate knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign
- have an intimate knowledge of typography and layout
- know how to produce and prepare files for a printer or prepare a website design for coding/slicing
- take criticism/feedback well
The biggest shock I had was realizing that graphic design is not art. It is commercial art for a very very specific purpose. Knowing how to draw and paint can give you some flexibility in how you approach certain projects. But work for a junior designer is very basic as you take work from a senior designer and flesh out the details or make other pieces based of their design. While this sucks because you are not doing your own work, you are learning fundamentals like how to lay out a brochure. Don't get me wrong, if you work for the right employer doing the kind of work you love it can be very satisfying. However, more often then not, especially when you are starting out and you are working your way up the ladder you will be selling your soul to produce work the way the client wants. Those days suck. It can be a great way to make a living if you are talented.
What part of graphic design are you interested in? What kind of work do you want to produce?
To be honest, I think one needs to go to school for graphic design. There are elements that can be self taught… well let me put it this way… after three years of college (I was the at the top 3%) of my class I probably only knew 15-20% of what I needed to know… and that's with 3 years of college. The rest is learned on the job.
I think one of my biggest issues is being able to work fast. Most people say that people just naturally acquire this skill as they improve, but I personally feel stagnant about my workflow. I probably have to learn more keyboard shortcuts and study different programs more.
I've been drawing longer than I've been getting into graphic design.
As of now, I'm interested in print design. I don't have much experience with anything else, honestly. Illustration would be nice, but my mistakes are much, much more obvious in that type of work. If only I could go back in time and shout at my 10 year old self and tell her to start practicing! ヽ(´□｀。)ﾉ
Yes, I have my eyes on a few colleges. The one that I want to go to offers a four year degree in Digital Design. I find it strange that each college gives a different name for the same course...
While I did mention speed being a key trait you need when you are employed, at this time don't worry about it. Yes, learning shortcuts can and will help improve your workflow, but speed only comes with experience. Trust me It. Will. Come.
You could be feeling stagnant because you approach your projects in the same manner. Do you start with typography and layout first, or start with images and fit your typography around them?
You know how in painting we do master studies to learn how to achieve value and composition? Well, as a designer you need to learn how to do the same thing. Let's say you want to create a poster for your favourite band, but you have never done a poster with that look and feel before… so how do you do it? By copying the masters. As a student, and while you are learning, I would recommend that you outright copy, steal, plunder and pillage any design you want in order to get it to fit within your project. You will start learning how other designer set up their type, treated their images… Now is the time to do this… build up your visual… I mean build up your design library. However, once you get into college and start doing graded work, use other designs for inspiration only, never steal.
Best of luck. Do the schools you are applying to require a admission portfolio?
I start off by whipping out my sketchbook and drawing some very basic thumbnails. I then start with images and fit the typography around it. If I make variations of what I'm designing, it's always after I finish my first design. Next time, I ought to record and time myself to see how long I'm really taking. Spending just a few minutes each day can feel like eternity over time.
Thank you, pindurski! Here I am searching the web for graphic design exercises when I could have been doing studies just like I do with illustration lol
None of the schools I'm applying to require a portfolio. They're not art colleges, but their courses look awesome nonetheless.
Well, that is a good process. Try adding another step though. GD is about creating a piece that meets a very specific objective like promoting an event or selling a product. So as you are thumb nailing embed this thought in the back of your head, "who is the target audience (age, gender, wealth, lifestyle) and, being as absolutely objective as you can, measure your work and ideas against this every step of the way. Along the way (or as you are stealing and borrowing compare what you are doing against what other successful designers have done. Let me say up front… this is a shit ton of years to even get good at, don't expect it to be easy. Most designers have people to help them along the way like project managers that can help source relevant information from the client and his/her customers… you will need to guess at this for the time being Here are some other websites to spark your creativity:
Let me leave you with one last thought. GD is NOT about how good or technical your design is, especially at your stage. It's 1000% about the idea and what makes YOUR idea better then anyone else's. Don't worry about execution, this skill will be developed over time and as you develop better skills (learn photography!!!!) Learn to begin to develop good ideas first then do your best to design it.
pindurski is spot on, for real. I would suggest creating as many thumbnails sketches as you can. Pick at most 3 of the best sketches and refine them even more on paper. Then, take those 3 and develop them in your program of choice. Basically, don't just work on a variation of one design, you need to create distinct designs so that your clients have more to choose from. Of course, you don't want to give them too much choice so I don't ever go above 5 concepts, most of the times 3 is my limit.
As pindurski mentioned, when you look at your sketches, you need to think about how your ideas best communicate to your client's intended market/audience.