WWWW illustration by Kris Tate
So you've decided to venture into the world of design because you LOVE DESIGN!
You probably started out loving art first and was a known artistic person in your gang of friends? Now you are thinking about entering design university to work towards your creative future. Here are my 10 tips to help you get through it the meaningful and good way!

My story, I grew up loving art! Drawing drawing all day long!
I dreamed of becoming a cartoonist! I painted a lot and was known as the little "artist" in my primary and middle school. The "art girl".

So I knew pretty much my entire life I will be getting into the creative world.
What steered me in the direction of "communication design" however was that I have always believed and came to realize that I am a thinker. I think a lot and I am always asking questions, wether it be about the way people see design or about what a piece of artwork means.

So I ventured into the world of Communication Design.
What is communication design?
[I get asked this a lot]

Communication Design is what "I would say" the subject you choose
if your aim is to become an Art Director.

Communication Design is not just about beautiful graphically pleasing imagery and execution of a project. It is strategic planning and choosing the best option for your client. It is very very business based. You are like Graphic Designer, Business thinker, creative director and artist in one. Which is what Art Directors should be.

When you get into the world of design you need to understand it is no longer "art". The design world is stricter and less "free" so I hope these tips will make life easier for you. It's essentially a mindset you need to have. Tips I learnt and I wish I'd learnt sooner :) I present to you!

Mostly applying to Communication Design but I think it can work for all Design fields.

You have got to be self motivated and self driven! Design is not only about reading up on knowledge, it's not just about intellectual materials, those are tools you need! but essentially you need that energy!
You have to be passionate, excited and pumped about creating! You have to be excited when you learn about new design techniques, analyzing problems and staying up all night to finish off a project a day before its due date! 

You must inspire yourself! 
Not a single teacher on campus can give you creativity! Creativity is created when you are inspired by things around you! You are hungry to learn and you just frk'n want to bring something new and fresh into this world! Essentially how you do this is- What changes and what kind of impact do you want to bring to this world? THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT THIS. "how do I combine design and something I love in one! Then go for it!"

This means, don't just design cause it "looks good" cause you have the skills to do so, but do more than that! Raise the depth! Try to find a cause you truly love and design for it! The awesome thing about studying design is as long as you fulfill your brief you are good! So why don't you pick something that you truly care about and design it like how you would present it to "the actual clients"? 
Having that "goal" makes everything different! Trust me you get wayyy more excited and it won't just be a "university project" It's a project that has a true purpose!

Hard work is needed in all fields of education and life! However you gots to know how to have fun and socialize! Socializing doesn't mean being fake and trying to know EVERYONE! But attend some cool events! Like Design Expos and join creative groups! This is so important and vital for your future career! Remember the Design world is not as big as you think it is. People know people and the sooner you get the picture the more chances you'll have to work and collaborate with other cool artists. 

Everyone has to start from some place, even the most famous designers today started out as students and freelancers! Know the people in your field ;) It will do you good! 

ps. my gots to know is not a typo. I like saying gots to know :P

I know, you got that huge art ego. However Design is not "art" it is design. Design serves a purpose "solves a problem" so if you LOVE your design but your peers and teacher tells you "I don't get it, or this shape is a problem" then you have to take it in. Critique is a huge part of your studies, you have to learn to differentiate constructive criticism to rudeness. [It's hard sometimes but it's a skill]. If people are being rude you can speak back politely but if it's constructive criticism then write it down! It will help you I promise!!! :) 

If you don't know something it's ok! Too many people put on this fake mode. Just watch Project Runway you will know what I mean. They show this "I'm a designer face". Look everyone on campus is here to learn. Be genuine and authentic, design truthfully, treat people authentic and you will have awesome team mates to work with. The sooner you let go of that mask the better you will feel. Also don't follow the crowd. This is not high school, you are here as a young designer to learn and to give others good feedback so they can learn too. 

Learning to give constructive criticism is much like letting go of ego, and taking criticism. It is a skill you must master. Learning to speak about the work and not about the person makes life much easier. You will have to give critique about friends works throughout your life if you choose to work in design field, you need to learn how to do it. In your mind put your friend on one corner and his/her work on the other. Then speak about the work. Don't be afraid about what he/she might think in class because he/she needs to learn to let go of their ego too. As long as you are constructive, you will sound professional and essentially you just want to give good feedback so that the other person can learn something. This is a important skill that many bosses want in their studio. 

Before I studied comm design I was definitely not as well planned as I am now. 
Depending on your uni you may or may not have 4 subjects a semester. I had four main subjects and 4 projects in each. That's quite a bit to juggle (I know some friends who had even more!). At first I found it slightly overwhelming because if you don't complete the design you don't pass. Depending on the direction you have chosen for your design, it may take weeks to complete or just 1 week. Some materials are harder to come across, so searching online and planning out your routine is important. At least you have to map out in your head roughly how long a project will take you and which shops you need to visit, which printers you want to print at. A well printed design aka poster, package etc makes the biggest difference! SO PLAN AHEAD!  

Know your area, know where the paper shop is, know the printers around you, know where they stock the most materials and learn to use the right materials for your subject! Pencil, markers, etc. Know your tools! This also includes softwares! You have to know the master suite pretty well! The scanner could very well be your best friend! LOL and oh learn to use your library! There are so many good books available and magazines!!! People rely too much on the internet and all the sources you bring into class are the same ones. Try to bring fresh research materials to class.

ps. Your educator is also a tool. Know your teachers and their strengths! Ask them lots of questions. You already paid the fees, might as well get the most out of it all ;) 

Remember to eat food, I am so guilty of this. Sometimes I even forgot to eat because I was working! 
Then I felt soooo famished. Always have some healthy snacks around your table because you will be snacking so much in the middle of the night when you are deprived of sleep but needing to finish that final project! Don't forget to sneak in an episode or two of something really fun like "True blood, South Park, Game of Thrones (OF COURSE) or another cool series! Mini ones so you can get back to work snappy fast! Enjoy the company of your friends, design together! Collaborate  and visit music festivals! Things that will ignite the energy! MUSIC~ 

lastly. CLEAN UP! 
Do not live in that pile of grossness for too long! Open up the windows,
go do your laundry so you have fresh smelling clothes and bedsheets! 
Cleaning up can be very therapeutic. Really!

I hope your design university experience is an amazing one! :) 

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