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General advice or needed direction in design

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  • General advice or needed direction in design

    Hi, Iím a intermediate student in graphic design. The graphic design program at my university sort of teachs design in a subliminal way with some manadatory info and most of the time your on your own in terms of most of the information about graphic design. My first time in a class where we started actual graphic design work went extremely well for me and I felt like I was possibly finally understanding design, but I fell short once we got into packaging design. So, now Iím sort of stuck now just not seeing certain things wrong in my design or not knowing whatís wrong in my designs at all. Also, it makes me get comments that Iím not pushing my self for the A when Iím working just as much as I did before. Has anyone else had this happen in their career or during their time at school for graphic? If so what did you do or was there something out there that helped you?

  • #2
    It might be nice to have an easier time on some of the assignments, but there would really be no point in going to school if you were already good at everything. I don't think there's a better motivator or a faster way to learn than to do everything possible to avoid the embarrassment of a harsh public critique of one's work. Design school can be a real ego killer, but honestly, if you keep fighting the battle and refuse to die, you'll get better at it and find yourself passing right by the quitters.


    • #3
      You're a student, you are supposed to struggle with the work.

      I finished my degree course in 2015. Often when recieving an assignment, I would look at it and think, how the beep am I going to do this. This looks really difficult! but by the time I completed the assignment, I would understand the subject matter.

      It's the lectures, the research, the quizzing of tutors and the STRUGGLE, that makes you learn. It's the whole process. This is why now I am a big advocate of formal education.

      I used to look forward to the tutors feedback on my work because it helped me learn and over the 3 years of my degree, my grades steadily improved. I started my first year scraping passes (lack of previous formal education) by the 3rd year I was regulary getting distinctions.

      I did my degree in the UK, and I'm not sure where you're based or what the situation is at your uni/college or what is deemed appropriate, but I learned to hound tutors and get feedback on my work, while I was doing the assignment, and before the hand in. I found this very helpful. If I wasn't sure about something I would pester the tutors until I was.

      I went from being warned in the first year that I wasn't going to make it through the course, to recieivng awards.

      Just stick at it, apply yourself, and you'll get there.
      Last edited by Glitchin; 11-03-2017, 08:21 AM.


      • #4
        Hi Tdh994 and welcome to GDF.

        We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
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        • #5
          I wouldn't worry too much at this stage. If its packaging design in particular that you're struggling with - I could offer some advice.
          Is it the 3D element thats troubling you? Like how the package comes together? Try print some blank white package designs, with the die lines of course, cut them out and do some assembly. See how each panel comes into place and use it as a guide for designing the item. Or find some pre-designed items online and assemble some of those.

          If its creating an attractive design that's the problem - take a trip to some local stores and have a look at whats already out there. try re-creating some pieces, and then start incorporating your own work.


          • #6
            A lot of graphic designers have a lot of trouble at first thinking beyond the flat page.
            Some never get beyond it. Package design is a sub-specialty of graphic design, you could spend your whole career not designing packaging, but in a way it does relate to the 3D world of graphic design in general, especially when it comes to branding for retail establishments where everything from signs to cash-wraps to 3D wall art all have more than one side to consider.

            Hint: The reverse side of a die cut, like a standing figure, cannot just be reversed if there is any text at all on the figure's clothing...just thought I'd mention that.

            When doing package design, start with a real cardboard box and draw on it with a sharpie. Then take it apart at the glue joints and see how it is folded and die cut. That is sometimes easier than starting with a printed template and folding it up, but you could do the same thing. If starting from a blank template with fold and glue lines, actually print it out, put it together, draw on it and then take it apart again. Try to avoid any contiguous art over glue lines, or if you can't, just remember that printed graphics are never perfectly sized, never perfectly die cut and never perfectly aligned when glued together.


            • #7
              Thank you all for advice, but I donít know if I explained what Iím askin for clearly. Letís say for example, currently Iím being told to push my typography further in one of my designs I can kinda see what she saying, but donít see it going anywhere then just some kerning Iím bacisally really blank after searching the web l. I have these situations a lot where I spend 6 hours plus each day doing work for this class but it doesnít seem to add up to what she wants sometimes and sheís saying Iím not really pushing myself when I feel like Iím doing more than I was previously, which wasnít a problem in the previous class. Which is why Iím kinda asking if there was anything out there helped you to I guess see the bigger picture. I understand Iím suppose to struggle , but I donít its to this degree. But overall I just wanna feel caught up if that makes since it seems people around me do stuff an hour before class and come out better.


              • #8
                Ask your instructor to elaborate on what she means by pushing yourself. She's telling you to do it, you're doing it but she disagrees. Communication gap.
                Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tdh1994 View Post
                  Which is why Iím kinda asking if there was anything out there helped you to I guess see the bigger picture. I understand Iím suppose to struggle , but I donít its to this degree. But overall I just wanna feel caught up if that makes since it seems people around me do stuff an hour before class and come out better.
                  It's impossible to respond to the specific criticism from your instructor without seeing the work she's criticising. Maybe you could post a few examples.

                  Just something to keep in the back of your mind... This is one course out of many, and you say you've done just fine in other classes. it could be something as simple as your style just not meshing with what she likes. Every design instructor depends on his or her judgments of what's appropriate and what isn't.

                  Way back when I was in design school, I had one professor I couldn't please. There was one piece in particular that he held up in front of the class and said it was a perfect example of something I'd look back at in 15 years and be totally mystified as to how misguided I was in creating it. Today, several decades later, I have that piece framed and hanging in my studio office at home. I still think it looks pretty good.


                  • #10
                    Okay,Here is the one I'm currently working on just to get a general theme for a set of 5 chocolate bars. The goal for it is have to luxury mood. The concept was to make a chocolate bar set that would appeal to a person who is a millionaire and likes to party all the time basically. This wasn't the exact one that I showed her but it has some changes. But, things I do know are some kerning ,space issues, and cleaning up minor details and a need for a illustration or pattern currently(Working on that at the moment). If you happen to know a good place for stuff like illustrations please let me know because I lost the one she gave us. Otherwise I'm just gonna make a pattern like before.
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      You lost a resource your teacher gave you?
                      Ask her for it again. Or another student.
                      Attention to detail is part of your job...if you lose stuff in the real world, you gotta suck it up and ask the client again.
                      Think of this professor as a client. Ask her questions. Don't just sit there and try to figure it out on your own.

                      As for the PDF. I don't download those. Someone may come along that will.






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