P4 Student Design Woes

I feel like all I’m doing is complaining on here. But It’s totes fine.

Something that design students don’t ever really learn in design school is how to talk and write about their work. We learn to become visual communicators and not verbal or stenographic (writing?) ones. But we have to write and explain and present so much! And not just in school. We have to write cover letters, resumes, thank you notes. We have to explain why we chose these colors and these typefaces. We need to explain why our website navigation is stacked vertically and not horizontally. Where are the hover states?! Why is this like this and not like that? This isn’t art people! We have to be able to justify every single decision we make. And not just to our professors and peers who understand design, but to people who may very well have no idea why you keep saying typeface instead of font, or fount for that matter. Interviewing skills?! Hello! You are very likely to be interviewed by non-designers who will ask you about your work and if you stumble through it, you could easily lose the job because you didn’t do your work justice. Or how about when you are presenting your thesis to the class? Can’t speak up well? That sucks for you. Someone else can and will look better doing it. What about your elevator pitch speech to investors? They hold the purse strings for your next project! You must be able to articulate your ideas succinctly.

And what about your writing skills? No one wants to see your packaging design project  where the name of the product on your cool new milk carton is called Milk. Creativity knows no bounds! If you are clever enough to design an awesome customized ligature then you can definitely come up with something a bit more creative than half those super cheesy posters on Pinterest. Yea they are visually stunning but once you read them, they lose a lot of value because they make you gag with nausea.  

You have to be able to draft proposals for your concepts! Your thesis alone should be accompanied by a mini book explaining every single step of your thought process not to mention your execution process. You have to be able to write mission statements for your projects! You have to be able to put into written words to your client what it is you plan to do with their business cards and why letterpress is maybe not the write choice for a law firm. 

We study design as a medium of expression. We must have a strong understanding of all the mediums that utilize it! Writing is one of them. There are two ways to become a better writer: WRITE & READ. 

English isn’t your first language? Read and write in your native language! Have someone translate! Or force yourself to read and write in your English! You’ll never get better at it unless you start and diligently keep up with it.

To sum up, design students should be forced to read, write, and speak publicly way more than they have to.