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Lessons Learned in GRA 217

  1. SIMPLICITY IS SO IMPORTANT.

Don’t overdo things because you feel the need too. Projects that have minimal text and design elements not only look better, but get the message across faster to whoever is looking at it. Looking back at some of my projects’ first drafts and then the final thing, it blows my mind how I thought it was possible to squeeze so much stuff into such a small space. It’s important to not clutter your projects with too much and sometimes you just got to embrace a little white space.

2. DON’T BE AFRAID OF FEEDBACK/CRITICISM.

I’ll be the first one to admit that at the beginning of the year I was very surprised on how critical my peers and Professor Strong was on my projects. However, my designs would have turned out horribly if not for the feedback I received before turn in. Whether it was going to office hours or in-class critiquing, some comments mentioned aspects I had never even thought of in the design process and they really helped me out in the end. Professor Strong knows what she is talking about, so even if you’re doubtful at first, it will all work out. Criticism is not to tear your work apart, it is to make it better.

3. PULL FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE/ACTIVITIES.

On some projects, you are given the freedom to choose your subject on what to design upon. I found that it is easier and also more fun to design a poster or website for an event or organization that already has a personal connection. Some of the student examples I saw with giant clients and international events that already have a huge promotional team and amazing design content published for them, just seemed like a hard challenge to take on. Choosing a topic that you love makes the creative process be A LOT more fun and enjoyable. Also, it is fun to then show the people involved from the events chosen your final project!

4. GET INDESIGN OR PHOTOSHOP ON YOUR LAPTOP.

Having the Adobe Indesign and Adobe Photoshop software on my laptop saved me an IMMENSE amount of time and also made it easier to finish my projects more efficiently. Yes, the Newhouse labs are always available but being able to access your project anywhere at any time is a huge advantage. You are going to be spending hours upon hours on your projects and I found it easier to work in my room/cozy in my bed then sitting in a Newhouse lab at all hours of the night. Whether you choose to just get the free trials or buy it per month, it’s a life saver. Trust me.

5. BE PREPARED TO WORK (A LOT).

Compared to my other classes, GRA 217 took up at least triple the amount of time than my other ones. This class is not a blow-off class where you can do your assignments the night before. You need to put a lot of effort into your designs and your grade will be brutal if you don’t. You are going to be redoing things at least once or twice, changing fonts and colors, and at the same time, trying to tell a story in every design. Not too mention if you have never used any of the three Adobe softwares, it takes a little time to get used to it. Although it is a lot of work, it’s a lot of fun (definitely better than writing a long, boring paper)!!

Allison Koerbel

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