The past two years have collectively contributed to being the best learning experience of my life. In the course of those two years, I have changed my mindset and me now that I am capable of so much more than I had ever thought before. I have discovered things about myself that I never knew were possible, and I am positive that I will only continue to grow as a curious individual. My work and skills have drastically improved since my first day at St. Edward’s, and I am proud of the progress I have made thus far.
I have picked three projects that, together, show an evolution in my work and skills: my symbol methodology project (Graphic Design I), cognitive map (Graphic Design I), and my final Mark for Zilker Park (Graphic Design II). I have chosen these three projects specifically because I feel that these are the ones that have taught me the most. None of these three projects have been my best work, but they have each been stepping stones and have sparked improvement in my design skills.
The first project I want to bring to the surface is the symbol I created for my Graphic Design I class. This project was the first project that I had ever completed using Adobe Illustrator. Needless to say, I was proud of what I had accomplished and learned throughout the development of my final three symbols. When I started the project I had no idea what I was doing and felt lost compared to the level my classmates were at. Feeling inspired by Tuan’s 10000 hours lecture, I began to work tirelessly in order catch up and learn as much as I could about Illustrator; I had to level the playing field.
While teaching myself the “ways of Illustrator,” I also learned something that completely changed my perspective on designing symbols, logos, and branding. Ultimately, I learned the defining differences between symbols and logos and that changed the way I thought about Design. This project was mind changing and inspired me to work harder.
Another project that I think taught and reinforced the core principles of design to me was the Cognitive Map that I created as part of a Mapping Project. Here, I used the skills and techniques that I had learned during the creation of my symbols and designed a map which delighted me. I enjoyed the brainstorming and process work that I worked on corresponding to each Map. At the time of the project, I had recently read a few articles about left brain and right brain thinking, which is something that I have always been interesting. What gladdened me most about my Cognitive Map was that showed me that I can create things that communicated information which I find important to spread; it made me realize how much I could actually do with my design practice, even as a student.
Finally, I want to mention the Mark I created for my Graphic Design II course in which I have been developing an identity for Zilker Park. This project is still in the works, but I have learned so much throughout the project thus far. The most important thing I have learned from this semester from this project is that designers cannot always make design things such as brands that are liked by the designer him or herself. Designers need to identify an audience, a persona, a user in order to create a brand that is universally successful in communicated and reaching that specified audience. It takes more than designing things that are “nice,” it takes empathy and understanding of the world and groups of people that are being targeted.
Overall, I have learned more that I ever thought I would about design in class and outside of class. I feel more equipped to handle design projects on my own, and I feel more inspired than ever now to keep learning and improving.
Symbol Methodology Project
Zilker Park Mark