Skill improving exercises needed!

amaher15's picture

Hey All

I'm a graduate designer struggling to find work. I realise that my work is lacking in taste and creativity, I'm okay at the ideas side of thing it's just the more artistic attributes of scale, rhythm and negative space that I struggle with.

I was wondering if anyone else ran into these problems outside of uni and what you did to overcome them. Are there any exercises I can do to improve my art skills, I draw everyday on trains and read through typography manuals in a desperate attempt to get better but I just feel I'm lacking that edge.

Thanks in advance
Andrew

Nick Shinn's picture

I always recommend finding a text-heavy old advertisement from the days of letterpress, one with roman, small caps and italics and some justification, and attempting to create a facsimile digitally.

First, you have to identify the typeface (Matt McGrew will help), and find one which has a corresponding digital version, then set it in InDesign. The H&Js are particularly tricky.

Sure, this is old school print stuff, but typographic sophistication is increasing on screen, and the point of the exercise is to develop an eye for fine distinctions, and practical taste, through solving subtle visual-technical problems.

In fact, why not try to duplicate the document in html?

amaher15's picture

Wow thanks Nick.

I'm looking forward to the release of your new site so I can read some of your essays they sound pretty fascinating, particularly the one on Helvetica and its relationship (on not so relationship) with Fascism.

I'll give the Facsimile a shot, it sounds like it could be really great, I feel a Muller Brockmann search could be in order :).

If you've got any other exercises I'd love to give them a shot.

amaher15's picture

Brilliant Indra!

That one looks mean... in the best possible way.

ballack00's picture

The point of the exercise is to develop an eye for fine distinctions, and practical taste, through solving subtle visual-technical problems.Des Moines Muay Thai

hera's picture

practice practice practice
and look at everything
and copy things shamelessly as exercises (not to promote as your own work!)

Chris Dean's picture

@amaher15: Where did you study and what degree program did you do? By “Graduate designer” do you mean you hold an unergraduare, masters, working towards PhD?

Chris Dean's picture

@Indra Kupferschmid: And thanks for that awesome link! I’ll be sure to share it. How did you come across this?

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

@Chris As we say in the footer, I set up the challenge with André and Nick.

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