How to get the most out of my summer

As we all know it’s summer holidays for a lot of students now. I’d really like to use this time wisely and improve my skills.

I’m already drawing here and there but I’d like to be quicker at using programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, Rhino, etc. and actually be able to activate the design aspect. Tutorials are great, however, they don’t always push you to create something new. How can i continue using these programs with more of a purpose?

I’d also really appreciate some top book recommendations of any sort that I can flip through this summer.

Thank you

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Wow. These are great questions for a student to ask. Good for you.

Here’s an idea. Reach out to a handful of other like-minded students who want to better themselves over the summer and come up with three fictitious branding projects. Tackle one a month. Do something like this:

Week 1 – Sketch development for logo.

End of Week 1 – Set up Zoom meeting to present sketches and get feedback.

Week 2 – Develop logo.

End of Week 2 – Present three logo ideas and get feedback.

Week 3 – Apply logo to marketing materials to create a branding campaign.

End of Week 3 – Present branding campaign and get feedback.

Week 4 – Polish branding campaign based on feedback.

End of Week 4 – Present final branding campaign.

Everybody in your group would work on the same project independently so you can see what sort of solutions others are coming up with.

Do a coffee shop one month, a tech startup one month, and a hardware store one month.

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Get a job at a good local print shop or sign shop.
If you pay attention, you might learn more about design files than you will ever learn in college.
Printers are considered essential businesses, but many may have scaled back staff. You might approach them on a college intern basis.

Why are you using Rhino? I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t — I’m just wondering what your motivations are given that you mentioned wanting to use your time wisely and improving skills. Are you interested in a career in 3d CAD modeling to create products, as in, maybe, industrial design as opposed to graphic design? I guess I’m asking why Rhino as opposed to many of the other 3d apps out there.

@Just-B My schooling teaches all design- including architectural. We have been given many tools to use, Rhino being one. I guess I am more interested in Photoshop and Illustrator though.

Thank you for the suggestion @Steve_O.

For a book recommendation, I suggest:

Universal Principles of Design

This is actually a really good idea to have a time line, and due date I might use this for my own projects.

Gonna mention it again…

Entry level jobs in Graphic Design these days, for the most part,
require a degree AND two years of real world experience.
I highly suggest that if you are able, you get a job in some part of the field during the summer. Even if it’s just feeding a press, floor hand or operating a cutter. Keep your eyes open and ask questions and you will be miles ahead of your classmates when you graduate.

Sitting at home drawing pretty pictures without much guidance will only familiarize you with the software, not give you any resume life skills to actually work in the design field.

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Unfortunately this is a reality. Never stop creating and updating your portfolio but I’ve had first hand experience with this…
I graduated college 2013, thought I could have any job while building my portfolio, and it wasn’t until I decided to quit, move for my boyfriend’s job (now husband) and restart the job search that I finally started (2019) w a design internship (unpaid) and lucked out w a print shop job right after that. Now I’m working as a Project Manager for a direct mail and web services business.

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