Things I Wish I Knew or Had Listened To When I Had the Chance

Rachel H Kay Blog

Things I Wish I Knew or Had Listened To When I Had the Chance

During my time in school at The Art Institute of Houston I took an InDesign course. One of the projects for that course was to design a poster titles "Things I Wish I Knew or Had Listened to When I Had the Chance." This was a list that many previous students had put together from previous semesters, and our class had to ad one to the list as well. The list is definitely good advice for any new comers to school, but it is also amuzing because there were and I'm sure still are a lot of students that find out important information the hard way.

The list is as follows:


  1. Know your portfolio size early unless you want to remount everything. If a teacher requires a specific size on a project, talk to them. They might accommodate you.
  2. Use spray adhesive in a well ventilated room. Eight hours of spry inhalation can made for some interesting nights.
  3. Think classy, not trendy. Cutting edge can be good.
  4. Be organized. It will save you time later, keep all your thumbnails/comps/concepts together. Buy binders and acetate sheets in bulk.
  5. Learn to use a ruler and T-square.
  6. Decorative fonts are not used for body copy. Learn basic typography rules about legibility.
  7. Use each program for its intended purpose. Photoshop for photos, Illustrator for drawing, InDesign for layout. No using Photoshop for type and layout.
  8. SHOW UP TO CLASS!
  9. Learn what a baseline grid is.
  10. Watch your kerning! Don't be lazy with your type.
  11. USE SPELL CHECK!
  12. School provides the opportunity to make mistakes. You only get to use this while in school, so lighten up and have fun.
  13. Don't piss anyone off. You never know when that person will be sitting across from the table from you at an interview.
  14. Don't be an ass. Accept criticism gracefully and don't hold grudges.
  15. Learn how to use a grid structure and apply it to everything.
  16. Learn to use type consistently. Body copy should always be the same type and size...the same with all type elements (headlines, sub-heads, etc.)
  17. Get an AIGA membership now and go to the meetings. 70% of all jobs are obtained through connection
  18. You should spend more time on paper than you do on the computer.
  19. THE COMPUTER IS A TOOL! It is a means to an end, not the way to design. Layout pages on paper first.
  20. Do good work. If you are not happy with a project, don't turn it in until you are.
  21. Talk to your teachers. They are the best resource you will EVER have.
  22. Respect your teacher. They can only respond to what yo put out. If you do not care, don't expect them to.
  23. Turn off your headphones during class. Not only are you annoying people around you, but you are probably missing out on some good discussion.
  24. Don't whine. Get it done or take the F
  25. You work for a client in everything. Always keep the client in mind. It needs to satisfy their needs, not just look pretty.
  26. Learn hoe to use type and layout. They are the most important tools you have.
  27. Learn to use the resource center. It won't be there when you graduate.
  28. Never stretch type! Never stretch anything to fit the space. Design the space.
  29. Start producing portfolio work by 5th quarter. It will save you a lot of sleepless nights by the last quarter.
  30. Don't panic. It will get done. Type.
  31. Start organizing a concept book immediately.
  32. Good art does not make up for a bad concept.
  33. If Kinko's screws up your file, STOP GOING TO KINKO'S. It is not an excuse that Kinko's cannot print it. It was probably your file, not them.
  34. Learn to cut and craft your work. Take pride in it.
  35. There should be a reason for everything, not just because "it looked good."
  36. Know your fonts.
  37. Practice talking about your work. Know everything about your client when going into a presentation. Knowing the reason you did things will get you much further.
  38. Everyone does restaurants and coffee shops. Be unique. Do a parts store, something different than the norm, not trendy.
  39. Despite the stress and anxiety, remember that you get paid to be creative...to have fun. Embrace it.

This list is definitely good advice. Some of this I learned the hard way haha!

I decided to keep it simple but to the point, so I drew a very frustrated girl below the list using the pen tool in InDesign. To keep with the comical illustration I used fonts that have a bit of a comical look rather than a basic sans-serif. So I used the Curls font for the heading and Of Wildflowers and Wings font for the body text to keep it legible, which works well with the posters comical, yet frustrated look.

I had fun drawing the frustrated girl, and all in all I think the poster turned out well. Comical, funny, yet to the point.

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About Me

Hi there. I'm Rachel Kay, a Web Developer, Illustrator, & Designer, whose hobby is to be creative and artistic, while freelancing as a Web Developer building creative, modern websites.

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