Advice from Frank Chimero

by whitewirestudio

Frank Chimero is a designer and illustrator. He also teaches graphic design at Portland State. He also has a super active blog. His recent post answers the question, “What advice would you give to a graphic design student?” and guess what—it doesn’t only apply to students. Here’s some of my favorites:

The things your teachers tell you in class are not gospel. You will get conflicting information. It means that both are wrong. Or both are true. This never stops. Most decisions are gray, and everything lives on a spectrum of correctness and suitability.

If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies, or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy.

Keep two books on your nightstand at all times: one fiction, one non-fiction.

Develop a point of view. Think about what experiences you have that many others do not. Then, think of what experiences you have that almost everyone else has. Then, mix those two things and try to make someone cry or laugh or feel understood.

Change contexts when you’re stuck.

Learn to write, and not school-style writing. A text editor is a perfectly viable design tool. Graphic design has just as much to do with words as it does with pictures, and a lot of my favorite designers come to design from the world of words instead of the world of pictures.

If you meet a person who cares about the same obscure things you do, hold on to them for dear life. Sympathy is medicine.

Most important things happen at a table. Food, friends, discussion, ideas, work, peace talks, and war plans. It is okay to romanticize things a little bit every now and then: it gives you hope.

Everyone is just making it up as they go along.

_____

And some work from the man:

chimero_a

chimero_c

chimero_b

chimero_d

chimero_e

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