You know it all started with the feeling that I needed to know something about design. I just wasn’t entirely sure of what I needed and how to go about it. Check this previous post for how I made it into the course.
It started about 6 weeks ago with about 255 people making it into the course when I was initially placed in the Jollof rice group. But with people being dropped with every passing week, only about 54 made it to the 4th week. Necessitating a regroup that had me placed in Flowstate. Let’s talk about how I managed to make it through.
School work was intensifying, it was becoming dead serious. At this point, everyone is trying to at least pass. And I mean pass the first time. Meanwhile, here was I trying to pick up some design knowledge before moving on. So, I found myself having to take this course, one that I constantly stood the chance of being dropped at the end of every week. Yet, at the same time, I had to show up in school to learn as much as I can to not just be able to pass the exam but to be eligible to sit for it in the first place. By virtue of my situation, I was designed to fail at some point.
“Everyone is trying to pass the first time”
Having these in mind will clarify some of the decisions I made. So when I say that at the beginning of every week I had a look at the goal for that week, the materials I was expected to cover, the videos I was supposed to watch, the articles I was supposed to read and, if any, the designs I was supposed to build, you understand that it was only logical. In essence, at the beginning of every week, I did a complete assessment of the volume of materials I had to cover for that week. And I found a way to get it done.
“At the beginning of every week, I did a complete assessment of the volume of materials I had to cover for that week”
Now, many of the articles I had to read were quite long and detailed. I must say, it wasn’t funny at all. For a moment, I thought of the possibility of the course content being majorly video lectures. I would simply have downloaded them onto my phone and watched them whenever I was opportune, maybe while waiting for clinic to commence, while eating lunch or even while trekking around school. Instead, I had to read articles on whole new concepts which I thought would require a clear mind to fully understand. And I was right, at least to some extent. I did read several of those articles only to feel like I didn’t understand the bulk of what they were saying. But who was I to complain, mine was to find a way.
Before long, I came to the realization that there weren’t many video materials out there to study the design concept, that the design process was still relatively new. No wonder senpai said that many Nigerians, including designers, lacked an understanding of the theory of the design process. Since there are not many resources to learn with, I had to make the best use of what I had. It seemed like a huge challenge.
With every week came a new exercise and/or quiz and, for the first two weeks, a medium post was a part of those. The thought that I would need to write a post every week felt like a drag. I couldn’t think of how that was going to be possible. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it all the way to the end. But one thing kept me going, the fact that I was already here and I was the only one. I knew I needed to find a way.
“A post every week? What a drag.”
I remember vividly those times I was in class reading some of the articles on visual hierarchy, of course before the lecturer arrived. I remember when I was in the theater trying to understand what Gestalt really meant and how to use it. I also remember trying to write a post at the end of the second week. Truly, it wasn’t easy covering those materials and still writing a post. It wasn’t. I’m just glad I made it through. Now, I know more on the principles of design than the average designer out there. I would just need a lot more practice.
And then, having managed to make it to the end of every week, I had no way of knowing if I would remain a student of the course by the following week. I remember being tensed on Monday mornings in anticipation of yet another message. Something to confirm that I was still a part of the course. I still sense the relief I felt upon receiving those messages. Senpai did say at some point that he didn’t get sleep all through the night just because he was preparing our materials. That was quite touching. But just before that line in the same email, he said “*After this week the next set of people would be dropped. no pressure 😬*”.That was week 3. And behold more people were dropped by the end of that week. By week 4, we were regrouped. It was then that I became a member of Flowstate.
It is worth mentioning that by the fourth week after the regrouping, the course became much more interesting. I was a lot more practical. We had to add text, captions and use fonts in the wireframe we had previously made. And by the fifth week, we added images. That was also when we learned about color — the five-letter word that could consciously and subconsciously influence users’ feeling about a design. Color was something else entirely and learning how to use and combine different colors was awesome.
The final message we got from senpai during the last week had me paying a visit to Pinterest where I saw great works by different designers. I even saw different mock-ups for Android applications, my primary interest for now. I know this may sound awkward, but I intend to build an android from start to finish. Since I wouldn’t be employing a designer, I have chosen to learn something about the design process. And if along the way, I discover that there is something else I need, I would try to learn that too. The point is I would try to complete the process from the beginning to the end, and I would try to do it on my own. In trying to achieve that, I would learn what needs to be learned. With Design 101, I know I have learned a part of the design process.
I even had a look into the amount of design that could be achieved just by a combination of circles and rectangles. Those works were beautiful and with that singular act, I knew even more. I didn’t realize when I began analyzing the designs I saw. Almost immediately, I could tell the ones I could reproduce from the ones that I couldn’t. I know that the ideas and possibilities are limitless. I just need to take a peek at what others have done, try to reproduce it and, with time, get an inspiration on how to develop my own idea.
Writing this post and sharing my design on Instagram were my final exercises for the course. And I have attempted to do just that. I stood a chance of getting my design reposted by senpai if my work was good enough.
Just today I followed senpai on Instagram. To be frank, I wanted to know if my work was reposted. And guess what, it wasn’t. Of course, I felt sad but that was until I saw the works that were reposted. Those works were pure. And I knew my work would have been awkward if it was in their midst.
This is my first exposure to design and I intend to use what I’ve learned from design 101 to keep learning, keep building, keep testing, and eventually create something that would solve a problem. Once again, Thank you senpai.