Guest Post: Exploring New Interests Through Graphic Design
The following post was written by graphic design student Sophia Norwood.
As a graphic design major, my favorite part about the program is how diverse my classes are. I have been able to study typography, color theory, screen printing, packaging, web design and more! This wide range of classes prepares students like me, to enter the workforce with an impressive toolkit. The diversity of classes offered in the program allows us to learn what we like and dislike and helps us make thoughtful and informed decisions about our future career paths.
As an example, I began taking a photography class last semester. Initially, I wasn’t super excited to take it because I was overwhelmed by the technical aspect of producing a photo. However, during the first few days of the semester, my professor did a great job explaining how to use the camera and photography became my favorite class! In my free time, I planned what photos I wanted to take, and was eager for each new assignment. I can’t wait to gain more experience and show others my work.
I also took a class last semester called “Packaging and Display.” Packaging design is often a field that goes unnoticed, but one that is essential in the modern world. From food to shoes, to medical devices—all kinds of products need thoughtfully designed packaging. I designed a “survival kit” for competitive gymnasts that includes bandages, hairspray, athletic tape, and hair binders (photo above). It was fun to create a brand identity, explore composition, and most of all see my 3D designs come to life. It was enjoyable to create something I am passionate about. I know that this passion will continue to shine through my work, and in the projects that I choose to feature in my portfolio.
The most important piece of advice I would give a student entering the College of Design is to learn to love critiques. When I was a freshman, I wanted to create work that everyone loved at first glance. While I still do, I now know that it is near impossible to create a fantastic design on the first try, especially given the fact that we’re still learning. Critiques have become crucial to my design process, and have become a tool I use to hone my design work. During my color theory class I participated in my first critique, I presented my work saying something along the lines of, “I know this doesn’t look good, but…” I quickly learned there is no time to make excuses. My suggestion to new students is to present their best work and be open to feedback. Feedback is your best tool. I would not be the designer I am today if I viewed critiques in a negative light.
I am grateful to the College of Design for providing me with fantastic peers. I have formed many close friendships with my classmates; one helped me land a graphic design job, and another helped me assemble one of my packaging projects. It is hard to imagine myself having the same growth without the influence of my peers who have inspired me with their work, their kindness, and helpful nature. I am also grateful to the College of Design for its diverse curriculum that has allowed me the opportunity to build a stellar portfolio. Because of my education at the University of Minnesota, I know my future opportunities for employment as a designer are limitless.