It took me a while, but I’ve accepted that I am now a designer because my thinking about what it means to be a designer has changed.

And while I can envision and practice design from a certain standpoint, I’m still very much lacking in the communication design arena. This is proving to be quite frustrating, as regardless of my design thinking, the execution of visual deliverables do not turn out the way I hope.

My lack of strong visual deliverables was confirmed last week when I received feedback from professors that indicated as much.

My frustration turned to a slight panic and frenzy to figure out how to improve my visual design skills. I have sought out some people to help me (that’s the beauty of being in a design school: there are lots of designers about), which has allayed my panic slightly. I was reminded that I can’t expect to become an awesome designer in a matter of weeks.

I tried to relate learning design skills to my learning of writing and poetry. Practice and experience and time for reflection are required. (I wrote crap poetry for years, and possibly still do.)

When I approached one fellow grad student to ask for help, I mentioned something about not really understanding how to work with white space, and she gasped, as if to indicate the situation was much worse than she expected. Fortunately, she agreed to look at my work.

I also put down Saffer’s Designing for Interaction and started reading The Elements of Graphic Design by Alex White. This is a book from Dan Boyarski’s reading list. It focuses on space, unity, page architecture, and type.

While probably a bit basic for some, it’s perfect for me, as the text is simple, and is paired with lots of examples. It also contains lots of quotes, which appeals to my literary sense.

“I fill up a place, which may be better…
when I have made it empty.”
–William Shakespeare, As You Like It