Graphics Greenhorn

I majored in journalism because, well, when I started college I wasn’t terrible at writing and I fit that cliche mold of an overly idealistic 19 year old who thought they could change the world. (Spoiler alert: I haven’t and I won’t.) Say what you will about the dying newspaper industry and the minuscule salary earned by reporters, but one of the cool things about being a journalism major is getting an excuse to take lots of photography and graphic design classes.

Oh…wait….I didn’t do that. Dumb.

I don’t really remember what my reasons were for not taking a photography class–a class COMPLETELY supported by my major and funded by my financial aid. I think it was something about the lab hours being too demanding and I was at the point in my young life where I had a hot new boyfriend (now husband) and was more interested in hanging out in his dark room (HEY-OH). I did manage to fit in one graphic design course, but because the teaching assistant was a big-time sarcastic bully, I skipped out on most of those labs too.

Again, dumb.

As a result, I graduated sans graphics and photography know-how. It was a true shame considering I would soon develop a mild obsession with design and photography, which I would satisfy by teaching myself. There is a lot I need to learn and I know I’m very rough around the edges—especially when compared to the high-calliber pros—but I feel comfortable with what I’ve accomplished on my own thus far.

A few recent examples.

Invitations

MIXON_WARRENCHUK MIXON_WARRENCHUK2

latinoachievementawards_VIP

Posters and Flyers

stateofthedistrictposter

Early College High School

zumbathonhope_health_and_hotsauce
legislativebriefing

theeagletalkshowbashflyer

studentadvisorycommittee

feriaposter

Brochures and Other Publications (Click the image to see the entire package.)

budgetbook

annual report

communicationsbrochure

Ombudsman Brochure 2006 (2)

 

Even Billboards (Oh yeah, I never wrote about that time I had a billboard!  Fun story for later.)

texhealthbillboard

 

 

I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about all of the graphic design nuances. There are rules and techniques that I am sure I don’t follow—more out of ignorance than an act of rebellious independence—and hundreds of styles I’ve yet to explore. Truthfully, I really have only grazed the surface of possibilities, but that has me more excited than intimidated.

I write this not to pat myself on the back or beg applause from readers. But I’ll admit I’ve got ulterior motives for laying my art and my insecurities out on the table. I try not to talk about my professional life too much, but recently at work some design-oriented projects I really cared about were vendored out to The Pros. And it has shaken my creative confidence.

But here’s the thing, too often I downplay my abilities and sulk over the fact that I would probably never be a “real” graphic designer. But honestly, these days I’m less woeful about my reluctance to seize the opportunity to learn the right way in college, and more proud of what I have been able to figure out on my own. Teaching myself was an education in its own merit. I had to admit what I didn’t know, do my own research and ask for help when I needed it—sometimes even from my own journalism students, when I was teaching, which makes for quite the humbling experience.  I established my own standard and had only myself to impress, and I think I’m finally coming around to believing I am an OK student.  I’m not an artist savant and I don’t want to be. I’d rather find joy in making mistakes, learning from them at my own pace than creating art that I feel good about.  I encourage others to embrace their interests whole heartedly and do the same.  There’s no “real” way to learn to be expressive, no “right” way to be creative.

“Take your pleasure seriously.” — Charles Eames, designer

 


10 Comments on “Graphics Greenhorn”

  1. Joy says:

    Wonderful blog. I’ve always displayed a poster in my classroom that says, “mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn” and I believe that whole-heartedly. Sometimes teaching yourself and learning from your mistakes is extremely satisfying. Enjoy your passions!!! Love you and am sooooo proud of my talented daughter-in-love!!

  2. Please pat yourself on the back and don’t ever doubt your abilities. :) These are absolutely incredible. You could probably always do your own independent job if you lose your job or get tired of working for someone else.

  3. kmom says:

    Oh my. I had no idea. You’ve been a busy woman! I think they are certainly getting their money’s worth out of you. Wow, I’m impressed! You know, of course, who you get it from.

  4. Charlie says:

    I loved this post! You don’t learn everything in college and the stuff you want to beat yourself over the head for not learning, eventually find their way to you in a test. You have some good designs :)

  5. figuring it out on your own and creating your own standard is what will (and apparently does) make you stand out from the crowd. I think your work looks great. I can relate to what you are dealing with right now. Enjoy the ride of life!

  6. Wow this is amazing! Seriously I wouldn’t have known you’re self-taught. To me these look really professional. Keep it up – you should be proud of this – yet I whole-heartedly know the feeling of what I should have done years ago and am now trying to salvage. Thank you for sharing this.


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