Graphic Design Q & A

Note: All images were created for school assignments back in 2005–2008. So they are OLD.

1. Are you a graphic designer? What do you do?

Yes! I’ve been working at a small design studio for over five years now. I design print materials, from posters, brochures, postcards, and programs. I also design ads, front end websites, and flash web ads. Recently, I’ve been working on a lot of illustrations, which I really enjoy. I illustrate in many different styles depending on what job I’m working on.

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Illustration for Taipei Toy Festival poster design

2. What would you tell someone in high school considering this career path?

Get the ball rolling and take art and graphic design classes. Graphic design class will introduce and get you familiarized with industry standard programs. If there are no art or graphic design classes available, the next best thing is to make things. Just be constantly creating.

For myself, I took one semester of graphic design in grade 10, and didn’t take any art classes throughout high school. Why? I didn’t know I would be pursuing graphic design. Funny how things worked out. But what I did do was draw. All the time. I had a dedicated last page in all my notebooks where you’d find drawings, and the margins in my notes were always filled.

4. What do you think is more beneficial for a career in graphic design, going to a  4-year university, or is a 2-year school fine?

In the end, what matters is your portfolio, and what it is you really want to do. Do you want to specialize in something, like illustration or web design? Check out the school’s website, and student portfolios. See what kind of projects are assigned, and the work the students are creating. Go to a school that can help you develop the skills you need for the job.

I went to a college that offered a 3-year Graphic Design program. Before applying to the school, I looked into the program, checked out the graduating class portfolios, and I was really interested and excited with the projects they worked on. Being a shorter program, there was a lot to learn in a short amount of time. The workload was heavy, and at times it was a whirlwind. But it was one of the most engaging and enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had.

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Layout design

5. What are some of the tasks and projects that you’ve worked on?

First Year
First year was all about learning the principles of design, colour theory, composition, and the history of graphic design. For illustration class, lot’s of life drawing.

Second Year
In second year we were assigned more real world projects like layout, logo, web, and package design.

Third Year
I LOVED third year. We were given a lot of creative freedom and assigned really interesting projects, ranging from poster, book, and type design, video and motion graphics.

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6. Do you have any advice on college? ; A ;

As far as getting work done, I would put on my headphones, listen to music, and get in the zone. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for input. A fresh pair of eyes and insight is a good thing.

Know that you will get better with more practice and work.

7. Were you a studious person?

If you mean, did I try hard to do well, then yes. There’s not a lot of studying during the program, but more creating, getting feedback, and re-creating.

8. When did you know you wanted to be a graphic designer?

During my first year of Graphic Design. I loved the projects that were assigned, and the creative environment.

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Graphic Design open house concept

9. Do you ever have periods when you do not feel inspired but have to create something anyway?

Yes, and I have to work through that. Sometimes the best thing is to step back, take a breather, and do something else. There are times where I’d check out design books and blogs for inspiration.

10. How do you cope with making something for someone with a completely different taste than yours?

Being a graphic designer, I have to design for the client’s target audience—not the client. That’s why creative briefs are necessary—to determine the client’s goals. When presenting to a client, I need to convey strongly how the design fulfill their objectives.

If a client still insists on a particular change that doesn’t fit the brief, I can do it… but at the end of the day it won’t benefit the interests of the client, and most likely a piece I wouldn’t include in my portfolio.

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Skateboard design

11. I’m looking at Graphic Design as a major, but I’m scared I’ll find classes really boring or hard. I’m terrible at conventional art like drawing. But I love images/photography & I sometimes add txt to pictures just for fun. What was school like & was it enjoyable or did you not really like what you were doing until after you had graduated?

If your initial feelings toward graphic design is a negative one, it may not be the right fit for you. Particular classes and assignments will be challenging, but that’s what pushes you to work harder and become better. You don’t have to be a great illustrator to be a great graphic designer, and vice versa.

I really enjoyed the Graphic Design program. Even though it was work intensive, I loved the creative environment, and working with peers that encouraged, critiqued, and inspired each other to do better. Once I started working, I learned so much more.

12. Is it easy finding a job?

I think it comes down to what you want to do and where you want to work. What’s also great is that you can be your own boss by being a freelance designer. And even then, there are times when work doesn’t come in continuously.

In my case, my boss contacted me because of an instructors recommendation. I still went through the review process, but luckily I didn’t have to do a lot of footwork applying to different places.

Final Thoughts

I really hope this post gave you some insight into what I do and how school was for me. Looking back on past school projects made me cringe—a lot of them were REALLY bad. But it showed me how much I’ve grown—still growing—and become better as a designer.

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Movie Junkie

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I’m a movie junkie. There are so many movies, I could do a series of posts regarding my favourites in the many different genres out there. A lot of my favourite movies have fantastic chemistry between the actors, the stories are heartfeIt, and of course there’s the re-watchability factor. It can be any time of the day or year, and I can re-watch any of these movies knowing I’ll love it even more with every watch. Let’s talk about a few of them, shall we?

1. Back to the Future. I love this movie. Be prepared for me to repeat that statement. First of all, the time travel. I love the trouble and adventure one can go through with time travel, for instance, the threat of Marty’s existence. Marty and Doc also have a great friendship, the Dolorean is badass, its set in the 50s, and the skateboard chase is one of my favourite scenes to watch.

2. Hot Fuzz. OMG I love this movie. Edgar Wright’s style of directing is fantastic. Also, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have brilliant chemistry—I love watching them in any movie they do together (Shaun of the Dead, anyone?). What I love most is the over-the-top action and characters. The last part of the movie is jaw-droppingly awesome. Ouch. The jaw. You know.

3. Pride & Prejudice. From the cinenematography, direction of photography, costume design, set design, and score, this movie is beautiful. Of course there’s the amazingness of this story between two of my favourite characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. This movie adaptation captures the humour, social awkwardness, and heartwarming moments. I love this movie.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I was first introduced to Harry Potter through watching the movies. It was thrilling watching the story progress darker with each film, and Deathly Hallows Part 1 is my favourite out of all of them. A few of my favourite scenes include the polyjuice potion ruse, Ron admiring Hermione, and the trio breaking into the Ministry.

5. Summer Wars. *GASP* What about Spirited Away you ask? I do love that movie, but I also love Summer Wars just as much. I love the style of animation, and how wonderfully colourful it is. I love how it reflects what is happening today; how connected we are with the people we love, as well as with everyone around the world.

6. 500 Days of Summer. I love everything about this movie. From the narrative, story and characters, the different storytelling styles, soundtrack, and of course Joseph Gorden-Levitt. Relatable, funny, and thoughtful—definitely my favourite movie of a boy and a girl that is not a love story.

A TV Kid

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For the month of June I want to talk about other things I really enjoy. First up, TV SHOWS! I love TV. I grew up on TV. A lot of shows I adored as a kid were educational—Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, Bill Nye the Science Guy. I can go on and on. But let’s talk about today, What I’ve been watching and really enjoying.

1. Adventure Time. Back in my day, we had AMAZING cartoons. I was kind of sad that the newer generation didn’t have any really great cartoons until I came across Adventure Time. It’s hilarious, fun, and EXTREMELY RANDOM. And the style is uber cute too. Also, ‘SLAMMA COW!’. ‘Nuff said.

2. The Walking Dead. ZOMBIES! For most of the first episode I was kind of bored; but when Rick got trapped in that tank and he was knee deep in it, I was hooked. I love the characters, and the visual effects are fantastic. This past season was insane, and I anticipate it won’t be letting up anytime soon. Also, Daryl. ‘Nuff said.

3. Firefly. UGHH. This show is amazing. A western set in space, with a crew you instantly fall in love with. The humour is outstanding, but there’s also heart-wrenching (and warming) moments. I definitely need to check out the graphic novels so I can return to the Firefly universe. Also, Wash. ‘Nuff said.

4. Avatar: The Last Airbender. I love martial arts, fantasy, comedy, high stakes, underdog/misunderstood/sassy characters, cute animals, restoring honour, tea, and awkward romantic relationships. That’s why I love The Last Airbender so much. Also, hallucinating cactus juice. ‘Nuff said.

5. Game of Thrones. Ahhh. Seeing your favourite books come to life is a thrill. This past season just ended and I can’t believe I have to wait another year for the next. All the actors are fantastic, and the production of the entire show is outstanding. Also, (you know nothing) Jon Snow. ‘Nuff said.

6. Community. #SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE. My favourite shows all involve a fantastic cast, and Community is definitely one of them. The hijinx that ensue is always hilarious, and I love the homage they make to movies. The paintball episode was unlike anything I’ve ever seen on TV before. Also, ‘TROY AND ABED IN THE MORNING’. ‘Nuff said.

EDIT: How did I forget SHERLOCK?! Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. ‘Nuff said.

I’m not perfect.

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There are some things I’m good at as a booktuber, and other things, not so much. I started making vlogs in August of 2010, and if you’ve watched from the beginning, you know how much my videos and I have changed—and I’m still changing. I’ve encountered some speed bumps along the way, as well as walls I’m still trying to figure out how to climb up and over. Shall I name some?

LightingLIGHTING
I know I’ve blinded some with my current videos—and I don’t mean by my dazzling smile. In 2012, I’ve colourized my videos to have a distinct look, but this year I want to try something different, and something less… contrast-y. The lighting from program to output is inconsistent, making it difficult to tell how bright my final videos will turn out. Thus the constant adjusting of effects. Until I get things sorted, I suggest not looking directly at me—like the sun.

GrammarGRAMMAR
HOH BOY. I KNOW. My grammar is horrible. Every time I record and edit my videos there are times when I don’t know what I’m saying, or why I said something in a particular way. I’m horribly embarrassed. To make sense of it all, I edit pieces of my sentences together resulting in awkward jump cuts. While my brain is going a mile a minute, my tongue is strolling behind. Solution? I need to slow down.

TwitterSOCIAL NETWORKING (SPECIFICALLY TWITTER)
I don’t know how people do it. The ability to tweet and reply on an ongoing bases—MADNESS I TELL YOU. Tweeting is supposed to be about being on the ball, and I’m about 10ft away from it. It may be blasphemy to say, but I treat my twitter account like my email… checking 2-3 times a day. Yeah, I KNOW. Also, just staying on the ball with messages through YouTube, goodreads, and tumblr is challenging. I’m working through it, slowly, but surely.

UploadingUPLOADING CONSISTENTLY
Knowing the world doesn’t end if I don’t upload every week makes me feel less stressed out. In turn, my inconsistency uploading videos have increased, and as a result, I find numerous videos awaiting me at the end of the month. Of course it’s a time management issue. Procrastination has its meat hooks in me; so I need to put my DS down, and get down to work. I’ve also been wanting to upload more creative kinds of videos—difficult but not impossible.

ParticipatingPARTICIPATING
I’ve been stuck on trying to figure out what to say about participating for half an hour. That’s how horrible I am at participating—it takes me forever to participate. I OVER ANALYZE EVERYTHING. *flips table* That’s why I like Live Shows a lot because the interaction is in real time, and they’re very casual. Sometimes I feel the pressure to act very professional and formal. Of course there’s a time and place for that. But amongst friends, I should really relax.

This post is in response to Stacy and Jessica’s discussion video: Book Tubing Things We Suck At! 

I like big books and I cannot lie.

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Big books—not only can they be used to ward off attackers, but can also offer complex stories with extraordinary detail. Intimidating as big books may seem, if the story is engaging with interesting characters, the length of the book does not hinder my reading experience. But if I’m less than enthused, well, then it’s going to be a very, very long read.

READ.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Pages: 1276
Yes, I bought the ebook version. Have you seen the size of The Count of Monte Cristo? It’s HUGE. And surely you’ve seen my wrists—they’re tiny. So reading this ebook was FANTASTIC. I can lay comfortably on my side, eat snacks, all the while read The Count as he exacts his diabolical and intricate revenge on his foes. Good times. Oh yeah, and the characters and story were thoroughly developed and complex.

 A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
Pages: 1177
One of the biggest books in the series, and so far one of my favourites. Like the other books, there’s a multitude of characters, settings, detail and sub plot. And I’m all for it! Riddled with suspense, mystery and intrigue; the game is on, characters are making their moves, and I’m driven by what will come next.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Pages: 525
A thoughtful and inspiring read about dreams, stories, and finding your purpose. Combining original illustration which were detailed and full of movement, film, and written story, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a quick read that creates an immersive and very moving experience.

TO-BE-READ

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Pages: 1056
Not unlike The Count of Monte Cristo, Don Quxiote is a brick of a book. Don Quxiote, although interesting and valiant in his efforts, he is living in another reality which makes me fear for his well being. And his companion is not helping—like, at all. It’s like the blind leading the blind. :| Don Quioxte is finding himself in misadventure after misadventure, and until I encounter a change of pace, this may take me awhile.

Eona by Alison Goodman
Pages: 637
Eona is a beast of a book, just like the dragons within this story. Our main character Eona is a fierce, ambitious character, and with her true identity revealed she must call on her dragon prowress to defeat those trying to control her. I thought Eon utilized all of my five senses making for a captivating reading experience. I can only hope Eona will welcome me back into this fantastical world.

One thing I can tell you, finishing a big book, one that I especially enjoyed, the experience is very satisfying. *lights cigarette*

This post is in response to Wiebke’s tag video: Big Books

Unfinished Book Series

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There are many series, particularly in YA, that are ending this year—The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Gone by Michael Grant, The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, and Isla and the Happily Ever After, a companion book to Anna/Lola by Stephanie Perkins. All of which I’ve been eagerly anticipating and reading as soon as they come out(-ish). However, there are series that I’ve started quite awhile ago, but just haven’t had a chance to continue on with. A mix of books I’ve really enjoyed, and a couple not so much, but in both cases leaving me intrigued to see what will happen next.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Why the wait?: A bit apprehensive…
This book was weird—overwhelmingly so. The progression of the plot reflected the workings of the Universe, random and unexpected. Although I didn’t enjoy the first book as much as I was hoping, I’m still intrigued in seeing how the story progresses and what misadventures Arthur Dent finds himself in next. There’s a whole universe I have yet to explore.

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
Why the wait?: Unavailable at the bookstore… I search every time with no luck. :|
I thought the beginning of The Thief was crawling, and I didn’t feel much for the main character. But towards the end, the plot takes an interesting turn and I was hooked. I’ve also been told the sequels are amazing, so I’m looking forward in seeing what the thief get’s into next.

The Study series by Maria V. Snyder
Why the wait?: Heard mixed reviews on the sequels.
I absolutely adored the first book. Great dynamic characters, from Yelena to Valek and even the antagonist. Set in an medieval inspired world, the magic adds a fantastical twist. Although the first book sets a high bar, I’m looking forward in finishing the series.

Mary Quinn Mysteries by Y. S. Lee
Why the wait?: So many 19th century books, so little time.
I love the Victorian era, and in a period where women are often underestimated, I enjoyed reading about Mary Quinn who is smart, resourceful, and determined. Struggling with her identity and where she comes from also added an element I can empathize with. I adore this time period, so it’s only a matter of time before I return to it.

Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins
Why the wait?: Paranormal romance is not my strong suit.
I’m quite picky when it comes to YA paranormal romance, so I was glad to find this first book a fun, quick read. Filled with funny, quirky characters, a romantic interest that’s gush-worthy, not overly rife with romance, interspersed with hijinx and drama, I’m looking forward in seeing how the story continues.

This is a post in response to Amira’s video: (My Unfinished) Book Series!

Anime & Manga

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I love anime and manga. I grew up watching anime, and started reading manga when I was a teenager. I love the style of the illustrations, the unique expressions and emotions, the storylines and the fun, often times goofy, but still very admirable characters. Like books, there is a wide range of genres and stories that can appeal to anyone.

If you’ve never read manga or watched anime, I highly suggest checking out animated Japanese films first. I think it’s a great way to be introduced to the style of the artform, and how complex, meaningful, and thought provoking these stories and characters can be. Below are titles I’ve been following/want to continue to follow. Feel free to click on the titles to learn more about the series.

Animated Japanese Films

Studio Ghibli: I highly recommend checking out films by Studio Ghibli. Hayao Miyazaki who has directed, wrote, and produced many of the films is king when it comes to storytelling. The detail and animation in the films are breathless.
Spirited Away | My Neighbor Totoro | Princess Mononoke

Just a few of my other favourite animated Japanese films.
Summer Wars | Paprika | The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Anime & Manga

There are many different genres and subgenres in anime and manga. Yes, there are genres that are targeted towards girls and towards boys, but of course can be read by anyone who is interested in the story.

Shoujo
Targeted to girls ages 13-18, these stories are more focused on romance and relationships. I find Shoujo very addicting. It’s sweet,  fun, and they’re light quick reads.

Magical Girl: C’mon. Let’s be honest. It’s ALL ABOUT the kick-ass transformation sequences, really cute outfits, and powerful weapons and attacks.
Sailor Moon | Cardcaptor Sakura | Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Fantasy: *Ahem* Paranormal romance. The underdog, but very determined female heroine is paired up with a headstrong supernatural being (usually very cute). Lot’s of fantastic romantic tension.
Kamisama Hajimemashita | Inuyasha

Drama/Comedy: Set usually in a school setting, hijinx and craziness ensue amongst the characters. Almost always hilarious.
Ouran High School Host Club | Beauty Pop | Hana Kimi

Shonen
Targeted to boys ages 13-18. These stories are more focused on action, and less on romantic relationships.

Fantasy: Martial arts, energy blasts, and bromance galore. Often hilarious as well.
Dragon Ball Z | Ranma 1/2 | Katekyo Hitman Reborn

Sci-Fi: Giant mechas (robots)!!! Just really cool techs and gadgets. Usually there’s a sci-fi/fantasy combo.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann | Fullmetal Alchemist

Mystery/Thriller: Intense and psychological. Seriously. Light in Death Note is crazy.
Eden of the East | Death Note

Sports: I don’t often read manga about sports, but The Prince of Tennis has me hooked! I think it’s Ryoma’s sassiness. The anime is definitely… wait for it… a smash. Har.
Prince of Tennis