So one day I'll write my memoir... or at least a few blog posts about my decision to switch careers and leave my teaching job at Shepherd... but today I just want to write about how touched I am that a lot of my students still come to me for help and design advice.
When I was teaching there were a number of amazing times where I felt like I was doing a good thing... that my students were actually learning and becoming amazing, passionate, and caring designers. However, there were also a number of times where I questioned if I ever knew what I was doing... if I was doing enough... if I was doing too much. Being out of it for a semester and half now... I can confidently say... "YES! I did know what I was doing... and I was doing it very right." By no means perfect... I didn't always give the hardest critiques and there were times where my advice was wrong... but I DID do what I set out to do when I decided I wanted to teach graphic design... and that was to inspire my students to LOVE what they do.
When I write that, I always feel the need to include a disclaimer... yes I know there are days when we don't LOVE it... the days when our client picks the lamest logo comp out of the bunch or when legal tells you for the umpteenth time to make the type larger... but I'm SICK of typing that disclaimer... so this is the last time you're going to read it! Yes there are times when EVERY JOB SUCKS... but what I tried to teach in my classroom and what it seems like my former students carry with them is that with that crap... comes five million other experiences of pure design awesomeness.
So back to me feeling touched... It warms my heart and soul to get an email, facebook message, or text from a student asking for me to take a look at something, or to ask me for professional advice, or just to share a really cool design find with me! To know that even after graduation... after all the days of driving them absolutely crazy with my note taking requirements, repetitive critiques, and "move this tiny thing over a sixteenth of an inch" comments... that somehow through all the craziness I gained their trust and love. It's an awesome feeling to know that I shared my passion for design with so many talented young designers... and that even after we're no longer together in the classroom... that they're still just as excited about design as I am!
We all have different outlooks on design and design as a profession. Through my undergraduate experience at UD I learned that graphic design can be whatever you want it to be. That anything is possible if you work hard enough. That graphic design and communicating visually is FUN, EXCITING, and ABSOFRICKENLUTELY AMAZING! And it means the absolute world to me to know that I passed on that outlook to a number of my former students. It doesn't have to be about winning awards, becoming famous, or seeing your name on some trendy design blog... it's about you... and you loving what you're doing.
Design equals love. It really does.
image by one of my former students, Jeffery Baker