What I Didn’t Learn in Design School is a series of conversations with designers who have come to realise that there is so much more to our creative fields than originally taught during their studies. During our studies we are commonly taught the basics, but does that really help us prepare for how the industry really works? That’s not to say design school is useless, but it shouldn’t be treated as the be-all and end-all.
This series is for anyone in the creative industry who want to push boundaries with their work. Each month two amazing designers who have somehow rebelled in their creative practices are selected to give us some tips and tricks on how to make the most of your career. They will each give a brief insight into what it is they do, and are then given the opportunity to ask each other questions about how to beat the design school system. The first lineup had illustrator and artist Georgia Hill, who made a big impression on us at our Kaleido Issue 2 launch event, and Reactive’s Creative Director Gabriel Tamborini.
To our surprise, Georgia said she struggled with her type design unit the most during her university experience. There was something off with what she was being taught, and that was because her mentors were pulling her towards a more digital realm. She felt that turning her hand drawn type into something digital lost all it’s personality, when what she really wanted was to appreciate the imperfections in the detail of her work. In saying this, there are elements that she learnt in university that she still uses today, such as learning how to set up her documents, being able to communicate with valuable people, and understanding how briefs function.
Gabriel hopped between different universities and courses during his studies, but eventually decided to stick to a visual communication degree to focus on digital production. What he realises now is how fast the digital world was moving, and it was hard for his course to keep up with the fast pace. Being taught the ropes didn’t really allow enough space for creative innovation either. Luckily he wanted to keep motivated during his studies, always initiating personal projects and spending time learning new things such as coding.
A list injection of kick-ass advice? Guilt can be a great motivator… The sooner you start something you are trying to avoid, the easier it gets. And have empathy with anything you are designing. Whether it be for the client, the product or the consumer, do it with a genuine interest.
So what haven’t you learnt at design school? How can you use that to shape your future and make you the type of designer you want to be?
To keep in the loop with What I Didn’t Learn in Design School, check out their Facebook page for regular updates and inspiration.
Photos: Michaela Parry and Tatjana Leung Kei