Saturday, June 13, 2009

Personal Studies

People have often asked me how I got into graphic design. I chuckle. Then I share my story, starting my degree in a completely unrelated field.

But the more important question is not how I got started in graphic design, but rather: how did I get where I am today? The answer is hard work and daily application. I have devoted many evenings and weekends  of personal time to independent study. (Thanks goes out to my loving husband for being so patient while I spend hours studying at my computer). Also, I have been blessed to have opportunities, both at my day job and in my freelance work, and to experiment with all the nifty tricks I learned the during my personal study time. The result has been the equivalent of nearly a decade of daily study, application, more study, more application.

While in college, my studies were crammed into short three or four month sessions, with the subject changing from semester to semester, typically with no application of knowledge. So consequently, I forgot most of what I learned. Now that I have a career of my choosing, I can research desired topics to my heart's content, and have the opportunity for immediate application of what I have learned. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than college! As both an employee and a small business owner, my personal study has infinitely more value to my productivity and abilities than my college diploma (which is actually in a box in my garage).

In addition to my enjoyment of reading Creative Suite application manuals in their entirety, I love techno-books containing the kind of information that can't be found in the software manual. They offer history, design theory, and personal experience from some of the industry's top experts. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Stylin with CSS (Charles Wyke-Smith)
  • Bulletproof Web Design (Dan Cedarholm)
  • A History of Graphic Design (Phillip Meggs)
  • From Gutenberg to Opentype (Robin Dodd)
  • Dynamics in Document Design (Karen Schriver)