I didn’t know what Graphic Design was
Graphic design was a foreign concept to me. I thought they just designed stuff on computers and sketched art.
In fact, I didn’t really know why or how it was a real job. I never met a Graphic Designer and when I was in college I thought it was a useless major to have. I should say I secretly thought that only because I tried not to judge other people since I also got those looks because I was a Radio/TV/Film major.
Even when I signed up for IMCP (Interactive Media Certificate Program), I didn’t know I was signing up to learn how to design. I only signed up to learn how to create animations with Adobe After Effects because I was only interested in becoming a video editor and enhancing those skills.
I thought you had to be an artist
The first lesson I learned when I started IMCP was that you don’t have to be an artist.
I was shocked. I thought you had to be a talented artist to be a Graphic Designer. Then I thought, how do you create a design if you don’t know how to draw? Also, I thought my teacher was lying to keep his students because he was an art major.
What I didn’t know was that he started off drawing, and then branched off into Graphic Design and Web Design. His art (his style was had a realist style), influenced his designs.
Breaking my misconceptions
Our first project was to draw emotions using shapes, dots, squiggles, and colors with markers. Do you know how frustrated and confused my classmates and I was? This project got us out of our comfort zone and made us think. In fact, a few people dropped the class after the first week.
This project taught us how to use shapes, lines, dots, squiggles, and colors to evoke emotion, and that is exactly what Graphic Design is.
It’s more technical than I thought
Everything in a design is placed for a reason. Design is not art, it’s more technical (Read my blog on What is Graphic Design and Web Design here).
For example, if I want to evoke the emotion of loneliness, I can draw a circle on a piece of paper with a lot of white space around it. I would make the circle a depressing color like charcoal gray and then on the other side of the page I would have a crowd of colorful circles. Everyone would understand that the one gray circle was alone.
I didn’t know that everything I saw was designed by someone with a purpose. Movie posters, books, and magazine covers are all designed so that customers know what the movie, book, or magazine is about.
Another thing people don’t think about is street signs. The type and size of street signs were chosen so that drivers can read them no matter if it’s day or night, or sunny, raining, or snowing.
I even read an article about how a designer changed the font on prescription pills. She made the font size bigger and added colors on the label so it could be more legible because her Grandmother ended up taking the wrong pills since she couldn’t read the small font.
It’s always evolving with technology
Back in the day, they didn’t use computers to create designs. Now you have to know how to design on paper, digitally, and be able to create web designs. I think the fact that design is alway evolving is awesome because Graphic Design will always be important. There will always be books, digital books, newspapers, websites, ads, and etc to create no matter how technology changes.
I couldn’t find the first assignment I was talking about with the shapes and colors (I just moved from San Diego to Houston, so I’m missing some things), but here is the second assignment we had. We had to draw an emotion in photoshop (this was when I didn’t know how to use photoshop, so excuse how horrible it looks).
I chose confidence. When I thought of it I knew I wanted bold colors. I chose red because when I think of a confident/bold woman, I think about red lipstick. Purple was chosen because it’s a regal color. I ended up creating an hourglass shape to represent a Jessica Rabbit type persona. Because over-confidence is dangerous, I created the black widow symbol in the middle to represent that.
Are you a graphic designer? If so, how did you decide to become one? Let me know in the comments or contact me.
– Paigon | Natasha Lane Design Co.