Feb 28th, 2016

Elizabeth – Graphic Design Student

Elizabeth Hildreth

Graphic design makes the world go round. Seriously. Just imagine a world without it. No street signage, no business logos, no album art, no website layouts, no book covers, no packaging labels, no clothing tags, no airport wayfinding, no app interfaces, no magazine spreads, no election campaigns, no advertisements. It’d probably be the end of the world. As design giant Paul Rand famously summed it up, “Everything is design.” Simple statement, big concept. 


When I tell people I’m in graphic design, there’s a range of responses. On one end of the spectrum are people like my grandparents, who don’t understand and are convinced I’ll never have a good job. In the middle are the people who politely smile and nod their heads, thinking they might kind of know what I’m going on about. Then there are the fanatics who wish they could be me. 


Still, I don’t think anyone really understands graphic design until they’re in it over their heads. I didn’t really grasp what design was until my senior year, when everything finally started clicking together. But I still can’t explain it in words. Maybe my school projects will help show it, though: www.elizabethhildreth.com


The graphic design program reminds me of a roller-coaster. It’s thrilling, sometimes stomach-dropping, starting with a slow incline that leads into a twisting, accelerated ride. Lots of ups and downs and upside-downs. It’s one of those rides you get to the end of, and you’re amazed that all of it happened so quickly and that it’s already over. And as wild as the ride was, you’re so glad you had the courage to go on it.


Wisdom I’ve learned from other students:


  • Start exploring design now. The more you know about past design, current design and the people behind the work, the better off you’ll be.
  • Build a design community around you. Be friends with the people in your cohort, meet people at different places in the program, get close to professors.
  • Figure out how, where and when you work best. Then design your day around that, building good work habits.
  • Pulling an all-nighter is a living nightmare. We weren’t designed to go without sleep. 
  • Try to take a class from each professor at least once. I’ve learned so much about my own strengths and weaknesses learning under different teaching styles and design perspectives.
  • Be humble. Be willing to fail as you experiment and try new techniques or tools or ideas.