My name is Brittany Palmer, and I am excited to say that I am a student in the Limited Access Graphic Design and Digital Media program at UNF. It is a rigorous program with limited space, but I applied and am now in my second official semester as a graphic design student. I’ve been doodling and drawing since kindergarten, always taking art classes and sketching in my free time. I was worried about becoming a fine artist, and that fear held me back for quite a while. Graphic design solves that worry. The field is ever expanding, and I have been learning valuable skills in high demand programs. I had not explored digital art before entering the program, and while there has been a high learning curve, I am able to express my creativity in a way that is fulfilling and useful. The principles and elements of graphic design mirror what I have learned in my fine arts classes. The end result is different, but the process is the same.
I took many painting and drawing classes before being accepted into the program, and was excited to be in a major that consisted primarily of studio classes. Studio classes are three hours long, which gives us time to have lectures/instruction and hands-on work time in every class. My classes are project-based, which means we have up to four major projects per course using the techniques and programs we learn in class. I have created my own typeface in Typography, designed and produced a short book in Introduction to Graphic Design and animated a movie title sequence in Motion Graphics.
The studio classes revolve around learning the programs of Adobe Cloud – Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects and InDesign, to name a few. Lectures consist of learning the design process of graphic design and building up our skills in the different Adobe programs. However, our projects are not solely computer based. We spend time sketching in the initial phases of each project, generating thumbnails and roughs before implementing them with the software. Many projects are flexible, and we are able to utilize different fine art techniques in tandem with the digital techniques.
One of my favorite things about this program is how willing the professors are to work with us at the individual level. They are open to our ideas, and always encourage us to try something new or go beyond the scope of the project when we have a really interesting idea we want to try. They are molding us to become “out of the box” thinkers.
My professors suggested becoming a member of the American Institute of Graphic Artists, AIGA, (a professional association for design) and becoming involved in the design community. I started attending monthly AIGA networking events as well as participating in different poster contests and speaker events. I have learned quite a bit about all the career possibilities in Jacksonville through conversations with designers and I feel that I am becoming a part of the design community here. I am leaning toward becoming an illustrator for children’s books, but there are so many possibilities in the field of graphic design that I change my mind with every new skill I learn. I can create banners, posters, illustrations, 3D graphics, a company’s entire brand, websites, motion graphics, books – every class I have taken has given me new abilities and furthered my skill in the Adobe Cloud programs. The possibilities are endless!
If you are interested in becoming a graphic designer, find out more about the Graphic Design and Digital Media program! I met with one of our professors several times before deciding to apply, and I am grateful for the advice and encouragement he offered to me. It is a rigorous program and requires dedication, but the level of expertise and skill you acquire is more than worth the effort!
UNF graphic design student