As a major in the School of Communications, I am constantly told my major is an effortless way to get through college and the key to unemployment. I am an interactive digital design, or IDD major, I love what I do and I will be the first one to tell you it is not easy.
I have no doubt that health science majors spend long hours with their heads in their books, but IDD majors spend just as much time if not more working on projects with their heads in the computer. I had a project last semester where I had to illustrate 16 graphics in grid boxes. The project in total took me probably 40 hours due to the amount of precision and focus it took to get each one right.
Design takes a long time for a few reasons. The programs are very difficult to learn and get used to. A lot of times I have an idea in my head of how I want something to look but I don’t know how to do it, so I either have to find someone who can help me or find a tutorial online. It is a process. For example, I had a typography project a few weeks ago in which I had to make a recipe page. Sounds easy. Just copy and paste a recipe, add some color, a few pictures and that’s it, right? Totally wrong. The project required intense research to find inspiration, including over 100 pictures I took from other recipe books. After that I had to study different possibilities for color combinations and different type choices. Then, I actually made three different recipe pages, each one taking hours of trying different layouts and illustrating graphics. But I wasn’t done there. Each project must be critiqued and revised. The best designers spend much of their time thinking of ways to improve to make the best possible finished product.
IDD isn’t as easy as reading a chapter of a book or filling out a worksheet; with design you need to be inspired and have a sense of creativity to do it. There are days I can’t do my IDD homework not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t think of any ideas for a project. To be able to design, film, write or do anything in the School of Communications, it takes true passion and talent and I don’t think enough people realize that.
Non-designers don’t realize that design is everywhere you look. The importance of design should be stressed more because it is essential in communicating information in a clear, visually appealing way. It is what convinces you to buy a certain brand of shampoo or what causes you to pick up a certain book or magazine. They say don’t judge something by the way it looks, but we all know everyone does that.
So in three years when I graduate, will I be unemployed? Probably not. Design takes more than what is taught in the classroom. It requires hard work and hours of becoming comfortable with the programs to create a strong portfolio upon graduating.
So before you try and tell an IDD major his or her major doesn’t matter, look at everything around you: your favorite poster, album cover, or book and consider how much blood, sweat and tears were put into its design. Design does matter.