On Design and Me
It was made clear rather soon, in the eyes of my parents and my own, that I would not become a scientist or an economist but pursue a creative career. I took art classes my whole life, at which I wasn't bad. I wanted to be a maker, a creator of content, but didn’t see myself as an artist. When I visited art schools, like RISD and Pratt, although it seemed like an exhilarating place to be, I didn’t see myself there. I thought it would get tiresome to be solely surrounded by people who are doing exactly the same thing as me. I also liked the idea of a campus where I would bump into engineers, anthropology majors, and business majors as well as design students. It makes for better people watching.
I happily enrolled in the school of art and design at Northeastern and spent my first semester abroad in Costa Rica. When I received my class schedule for my first semester on the Boston campus, I began to doubt my decision. Drawing I, Color Basics… “How is graphic design here in college any different from what I did in high school art class?” I thought. It felt restrictive and lacked substance so I became Undeclared, giving myself some room to explore my options. Upon my arrival in Boston I dipped my toes in different territories, taking psych classes, as well as communications and design classes. I enjoyed taking classes in a variety of disciplines but none of them caused quite a stir like the art and design classes did. So within a couple of months I changed my major to revert it right back to what it was: graphic design.
Although I was presented with the fait accompli of being a graphic design major, the term graphic design was still fairly unclear in my mind. The main object associated with the field was a computer, which painfully reminded me I wasn’t very good “at computers”. The sad truth being that I still only type with four fingers… The first three semesters of my degree were dedicated to foundation, introductory courses. There were few mentions of computers or graphic design, and I got reacquainted with figure drawing and stained my dorm furniture with oil paints.
Regardless of how enjoyable these classes were, I was eager to get started with the real stuff. The lack of exposure I had to the fundamentals of graphic design in my first two years at Northeastern created a void of meaning. I longed to be able to explain what it was I was studying and show some work that was not art, but design. Typography I was the first class that marked a pivotal point in my studies, I began to see it and feel it. This is what graphic design was! It felt like finally having human contact with someone you’ve seen on social media dozens of times.