What I Learned This Semester

What did I learn this semester? This seems to be a very simple question, but somehow I am finding it hard to answer it. This class—Topics in Graphic Design—has been an interesting one. Not at all what I expected, but exactly what I needed at this point in my college career.

Looking back at the reflections I have written throughout the semester there are many topics that were discussed. At times these topics could seem irrelevant to my education as designers, like researching and giving a presentation on a country. But I believe these lessons were crucial to helping me be a better designer. And that is what I learned this semester—how to be a better designer.

Right from beginning every single talk, paper, and presentation was teaching me how to be a graphic designer. The first assignment challenged me to take a real look at myself and figure out what kind of Graphic Designer I am. Immediately I learned that I am “general” designer; someone who can do a number of things as opposed to a designer who has a specialty. From our class discussions I also learned that I would like to be a freelance designer rather than working in as office, because I really value my free time. An I also learned  the pros and cons of being freelance or full-time. But the lessons did not just cover the basic stuff. I also learned that as a designer I will have to go out to design events and “network” with people. I don’t find this particularly appealing because I don’t like schmoozing, but this class has shown me how important it is, so I will be doing it from now on.

I now know what a high/low context society is, and what bearing that has on my design work. And I know how other countries use that context to sell their products, thanks to our culture project. Because of our field trips I know what the inside of two design firms look like, and I have an idea of what those firms are looking for in their employees. And to top is all of I got a refresher in art history. Of course there is more I want to learn, like how to attain clients as a freelancer. But I will figure that out on my own.

All these lessons have improve my standing not only as a designer but also as a professional. It takes more that good typography to be a good designer. You have to know how to operate efficiently within field, and that includes knowing how to sell soda to Egyptians. After being in this class I feel like a more efficient designer.