I love this conversation with writer Ashley C. Ford on The Creative Independent. In it, she discusses her approach to time management when working in a creative field, prioritizing projects, and learning when to say no. The Creative Independent has more conversations with artists on their website, and they publish daily. I think it’s an excellent resource for learning about finding balance in this ever-changing industry.
Since I am newly graduated and feeling extra reminiscent of my time at school, I thought it would be fun to share the story of how I got into my field. Below is a condensed timeline of how I found my fit in web and user experience design:
As a kid, I loved playing with software and computers, and as the son of a professional photographer, I have early memories of art and technology. I didn’t consider myself very creative growing up, but I truly admired art and design, and frequent visits to my dad’s studio made me enthusiastic about the creative industry. In high school, it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career that would mix my creative and technical abilities, so going to college for graphic design was a no-brainer (although my family was a bit skeptical at first).
Adventures in art school
I enrolled at The University of Akron and began taking art classes in my first semester. In their design program, the first year is dedicated to a foundations curriculum, so my courses included things like drawing, 2D, and 3D design. These courses helped push me in significant ways and made it much easier to transition to my actual design classes, where idea generation, concept development, and process were vital. I liked how well-rounded the curriculum was, and I enjoyed learning from my instructors, but it wasn’t until my first web design class that I really dove into my passions.
Learning to code felt like magic to me. Going into my first web design class, I was very excited and a little bit nervous, since I knew this could be something I would really enjoy, but also challenging at the same time. But it turns out when you’re driven to something, and nothing can pull you away from it, actually learning the material and practicing it is no hard work at all. I threw myself into web and loved the class for making me think more critically about design, the satisfaction I gained from creative problem-solving, and the foundation skills I learned from coding basic HTML and CSS.
Web II and onwards
Once I found out how much I loved web design and coding, everything else I was doing seemed to benefit from it. I began studying graphic design in closer detail, researching other artists and designers, and working more diligently and thoughtfully on classwork. My work improved considerably during this time, and I started genuinely enjoying my education. Later classes like Web II and Interactivity taught me core principles of user interface and user experience design, things that excite me just as much as, if not more than, web.
The real world (learning doesn’t stop after school)
During my time in college, I was fortunate enough to land an internship doing graphic design work for clients. I also managed the website for my art school which gave me more experience dabbling in code and taught me valuable lessons in communication and working independently/remotely. Now that I’ve graduated and am working a new full-time job, I feel like the learning has just begun. While I can confidently apply the skills I learned during school in my new position, there is infinitely more to understand, many years of growing to do, and so much more to accomplish. While coding websites may not be your fit, it indeed is mine, and I hope this blog post can inspire you to find what excites you in the design field.
Extraordinary examples of what is possible in layout and animation in web design. With new tools like CSS Grid and other front-end techniques, it is an exciting time to be designing for the web!
This is an exceptional list of tips & techniques for productive design criticism by Frank Chimero. I learned some of these points in practice in design school, but it’s helpful to remind ourselves of smart ways to conduct and respond to critique, primarily when working in a team.
Interesting report on emerging trends in logo design for this year: “The key takeaway from this is not to imitate, but to find a way to push these ideas forward and make them your own.”
I suspect this is advice I’m going to keep coming back to. I also love this quote from Niemann: “This isn’t something you’re born good at, you get good at it,” says Niemann. “A top tennis player doesn’t just stop training once they win.”
Discovered a new app today called Solis, a Live Design Output that integrates with code editors to deliver real-time, multi-viewport previewing of HTML, CSS, SASS, and LESS as you write it.
Fascinating article on the people we don’t see who keep design agencies running behind-the-scenes. I also just finished reading AIGA Eye on Design’s first ever magazine issue, and it includes lots of articles related to this core theme of “invisible”.
Fontanello is a browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox that lets you display the basic typographic styles of a text by right-clicking it. Check it out here!
— Gemma Warriner (@GemmaWarriner) February 19, 2018
Gemma Warriner is a designer and researcher exploring text visualization. Gemma’s Twitter feed showcases her latest experiments in variable fonts, and they are stunning visual eye candy!