Starting off in college, I knew I wanted to be in one of two fields: health or design. Since you are reading this blog on Design the Planet’s website, I guess it’s pretty obvious what route I took! It wasn’t always an easy road, but it was definitely the perfect choice for me because I absolutely love what I do. When graduation came around, I was so excited to start my profession as a “real” graphic designer. I went out and started interviewing right away, which is when I was lucky enough to stumble across Design the Planet and land an internship here.
In college, professors try to teach you everything they can about your profession, but the only way to truly learn is to be out in the field and experience it for yourself. I have learned that pleasing your professor and peers is a lot easier than pleasing a client. In school, we were designing only for ourselves, our peers, and our professors. We were designing to make the grade and hopefully get a valuable portfolio piece out of it. When I designed logos in college, I would just make up a company, dreaming up the overall aesthetic and values of the imaginary business and easily designing a logo I loved. With clients involved, I learned that I have to put my personal style aside and get to know their overall vision. This can be challenging at times, but can be also very rewarding when the end product is something that truly represents the client. The most rewarding thing to me is seeing my designs out in the real world, as opposed to only seeing it in my portfolio. Now, I can drive around or pick up a publication and see my work in action!
The one thing I do not miss about designing in college would definitely have to be Kinkos! Kinkos was the only real source we had for printing projects. It was a real hassle getting them to understand how I wanted things printed. I always found myself arguing with them that my .pdf just wouldn’t print from the jump drive directly to the printer, and that they would have to print it behind the counter because the file size was too big. It was always fun trying to explain PMS colors to the person working the printer and arguing with them that the colors just aren’t right. It was also a struggle having this amazing print idea, but not being able to go through with it because I was a broke college student who couldn’t afford fancy paper or embossing. Now that is all in the past, and I get to work with actual printing companies (yay!). It is as easy as emailing them my file and specification, and poof! They magically send me back a proof file! I never want to have to print at Kinkos again, and hopefully I will never have to.
In college, when you are given a project, you have lots of time to work on it. In the real design world, there are strict deadlines and budgets. This has been a true learning experience for me trying to stick to hard deadlines. Keeping a project list has helped me tremendously. The great thing about being in design is that it truly does not get boring. Everything seems to be exciting and new. I love looking at my project list and seeing a variety of different projects instead of one or two of the same. I have been working as an intern at Design the Planet for three months now, and I feel that I have grown so much as a designer and as a business professional. Fortunately, they must have recognized this, because I was officially promoted to a junior designer! No more college, no more internships, just real clients with real projects. What more could I want?