Things I learned in school

Tomorrow at work I have a thirty minute presentation (mostly in Spanish) about myself, what I’ve learned in my life so far, and the work I do outside of Base. Especially since it’s the end of the year, it feels like quite a fitting time to look back at my years at school and summarize what I’ve learned. Right, isn’t this the time when everyone looks back and evaluates their past year?

In May I graduated from Pratt Institute with an MFA in Communications Design. My education challenged many of my belief systems and also the way I see and think about the world around me. I’m sure a year from now or five years from now I will be able to analyze what I learned even better but here are my three bullet points to organize some of what I learned in school.

The idea is the most important. The concept needs to drive the work, otherwise it is just not as truthful. The medium is the message, so the final form needs to express the meaning of your concept. In fact, maybe the most important thing I learned in school is the way you phrase your idea actually makes all the difference in the way people will respond to it. One word can change your entire meaning.

Appreciate the journey, document the process. Looking back on my sketches and scrawled notes, blog posts, saved images and video – the building blocks – helps me to understand the big picture of where I’m going with an idea. Sometimes you have to get messy in order to get somewhere, but it helps to be organized with your messiness.

Ok, I actually learned this during work on freelance projects, but it was during school so it counts as something I learned in school. I will always remember my experience working for the art director at Bard Graduate Center. He told me to create an 11 x 17 document and just try a million different options for each of the infographics I was working on. Then I would show him what I did and he’d tell me to make more. You can’t be precious with your work as a graphic designer because it’s always going to change and it will always be a collaboration.

Published by Elizabeth Pizzuti

Design, art, and cats mostly

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