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

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


PSA: Portland v. Seattle v. Austin

A few weeks ago I tried to summarize my Portland and Seattle trip by making a venn diagram of every city we visited–incorporating my observations and favorite parts of each. You see, as we prepared for our summer travels the comparisons between Portland and Seattle could not be avoided. We also hear Portland frequently compared to Austin, though this article says it has recently surpassed Austin as the country’s most hipster-friendly city. Regardless, I made this graphic a few weeks ago that stacks the cities against each other, but then I shamefully forgot to post it. And then, in writing this, I realize I also neglected a post paraphrasing Portland. Shame on me on all counts: not writing about Portland, not sharing my clever, or maybe cliche, graphic and not posting in any kind of a timely relevant manner. I hope my journalism teachers aren’t reading.

Tardy though it may be, I clumsily submit this to you now. Hopefully it sheds some light on our experience and lets readers know what they may be in for should they visit any of these fine destinations. Though, full disclosure, our Austin perspective is slightly skewed. It’s the Doodle House home base after all.

seattle-portland-austin