Part Two

Projects that taught me how to design

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Chapter 5

Everything I made before design school

Let’s say design is about communication. In design school, you learn a lot about visual communication. But there are other kinds, too — aural, experiential, written, performative, and so on. I now realize that the years I wasted before design school — years spent fumbling through potential careers that didn’t pan out — were actually years spent finessing my communication skills in other mediums. Once I had built that foundation, I was ready to hone in on visual communication, and that meant going to design school. In this chapter, I’ll share the projects from my formative years that set me up to study and practice design later in life.

Chapter 6

Everything I made during design school

For its size, Rhode Island has a lot going for it. That includes a major bridge at risk of collapse, drivers that don’t understand the concept of right-of-way, and a little school of design. That was my school for three years as I was a graduate student studying graphic design. I spent those years creating close to a hundred projects and sleeping very little. Those projects — well, some of those projects — would go on to serve as the foundation for my professional practice. In this chapter, I’ll share the projects I made while studying at RISD to reveal the ways in which the school helped me grow as a designer and start my career.

Chapter 7

Everything I made after design school

In design school, your audience is often very small — often just your teachers and peers. Meanwhile, your audience afterwards is quite a bit bigger — literally anyone and everyone. That change in audience means your work needs to change, too. Plus, it helps to create work that makes money, and that reality also changes the kind of work you create. So, what happened when I left design school? In this chapter, I’ll share how my output evolved to meet these new challenges.