Any advice for students?
Travel, hitchhike, hop freights, do whatever you can to experience as much life as possible while you’re young enough to enjoy it. I never set foot in a classroom upon (barely) graduating high school so I’m not the ideal ambassador of secondary education. If you know what you want to do, fucking do it.
When you are at college, do not just sit in your bedroom on the internet. Make sure you go out and see things, anything from a film or exhibition - to sitting in the park with friends. Everything you do will have some kind of impact on what you are creating.
Accept that learning doesn’t stop the day you graduate. In my studio, we had a rule of thumb that said that most graduates took from 6 to 18 months to become a useful member of the studio. You don’t become a good designer the day you graduate.
There are no perfect jobs. Try to learn something, even a little thing, on each project you are involved in. Doesn’t have to be a design thing, could be a business thing, or a client thing, or...
I would say.. if you want to be an artist, keep making art and make it a daily part of your life. When you are done with school and there are no teachers pushing you to make art, it can be really hard to get started again if you stop.
Just go and deal with your time. Be prepared for whatever comes along. Don’t buy into the big status commodity culture that designers generally aspire to: food, dress, cars, lifestyle. Live modestly when faced with lots of money that you have to say no to.
I teach a little, and I’m always surprised by the excuses: Transit wasn’t working; My team-mates weren’t motivated; I’m really busy. I’ve found that even when these are in-fact the case, our clients are rarely lenient. In my mind people are largely separated into two groups: those who did it, and those who have an explanation for why they didn’t. Life is better if you’re in the former bunch.
A good advice for students would be this: please, don’t believe that there is a ‘real world’ outside of school. The older we get, the more we realize that there is no such thing as ‘the real world’ at all. Or maybe we should put it like this: there is no difference between the ‘unreal world’ and the ‘real world’. Everything is the real world. Everything is a context in itself. School is part of the real world. When we were students, we still thought that there was a ‘real world’ waiting outside of school. In a way, we ruined our school experience because of this. We couldn’t wait to graduate, to get into ‘the real world’. After we graduated, we realized our mistake. There is no ‘real world’ outside of school. The context outside of school is not more real than the context inside of school. A good designer is constantly aware of the context he/she is in. And it is our experience, as teachers, that the best students are the students who realize that school is a very real world, a context in its own right. We wish we had that insight when we were still students.
Don’t listen to your teachers that much.
Flip Flop Flyin
Trust your instincts. You can learn from your teachers, but you know yourself better than anyone.
Be informed, ask questions, use your time. learning never ends, but it’s quite rare after school to have dedicated time to study, so use it wisely. If you are patient you’ll figure that out later
Don’t let your teacher invade your pure spirit, be open to advice but hold onto what’s inside and realize how special and unique it is.
If you can’t create exciting graphic ideas as a student, you’re going nowhere fast. Becoming a great designer demands being a prolific thinker, ahead of the crowd. You have to start out by being the best in your class. If you have to sweat each assignment to come up with a great idea, do something else in life. (Trust me, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.)
School is the best time to sketch, investigate and practice.
Deadlines and Budgets are usually very tight once you are out there working so now is the time to try out every idea possible. Question your teachers and most importantly question yourself.
Get a website and do your own thing. Don’t copy other people as there’s enough of that going on at the moment. Also the tutors aren’t always right.
Know thyself. Become honest about why you’re involved with design. It’s not a glamorous, easy or lucrative profession, so why are any of us involved? How committed are you? If you’re not committed to it, bail out before you waste your life! However, if you’re committed to design, then put the same kind of effort in to it that you would for anything, or any person, that you love.
Create a singular purpose for your life. Let go of everything (people, places and attitudes) that do not support that purpose. Amplify that purpose by sharing it with others. Rinse. Repeat.
Spend lots of time on the fundamentals
Engage the design community
Find a good mentor
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; every big success involves ten small failures, if not more.
I tell my students not to overlook the obvious when looking for a design solution. The obvious is usually understood by everyone and when it can be transformed into a new image, it can be a powerful solution.
Work hard, think and don’t imitate other designer’s work
You begin your education after you leave school.
Try anything. Try everything.
Study the past, and wait until you are ready to say “that’s my profession.”
Fill/Stroke is a collection of three individuals who have always been good at collecting content, but never really good at sharing it. We formed in early 2008, and have been honored to interview some of the greatest designers of our time.
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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