The Take Away

I was sitting in class the other day and the girl next to me was asleep. The boy in front of me was on his phone, and the students in the back were passing notes. I did not notice any of this until our teacher got fed up with everyone and sent them home. That’s when I realized that more than anything, I love learning. I thought that lesson she was giving was the most interesting and engulfing content I had ever heard. I am never happier then when I am given the honor to have a teacher care so passionately about a subject and share that knowledge me with me, even if it is the history of Helvetic font.

Learning to me is such a privilege, and the lessons I have learned in some of my classes go so far beyond just skills and techniques. The lessons I have learned are bigger: they shape you to think in new perspectives.

In my Graphic Design class, we were assigned the book Type Matters by Jim Williams. This book dives into the kerning, weights, and other nerdy things like the tracking of lettering. The ideas behind how to compose type, goes far deeper than just graphic design. My teacher taught us these ideas behind art that are so much bigger and more impactful, if only you take the time to get off your phone in class and listen.

Art has this power to subconsciously be appealing to the viewer. In this class, we take these ideas that are art formulas and apply them to our work. This is the beauty of typography; that it can be reduced and simplified it to its basic compounds and still is art.

This is an idea I struggled with understanding for a long time. It’s the idea that every uneducated person struggles with when they look at moderately modern art and think, ‘why is the red dot on a giant canvas called art, even I could do that’. It’s the idea that creates a barrier. Some people only believe art is art if they find it beautiful. But art can be art whether you want it to be or not.

It never occurred to me before that other kids did not find typography interesting. The more and more I learned about type and graphic arts the more I understood that some people see art as a skill not a way of thinking. Since type is this idea of simplifying art down to its bare formula of what makes art art, why not use this idea and apply it to everything.  Jim Williams classified, “Good typography is about visualizing language through the arrangement, composition, and the choice of type.” This way of thinking with an artistic background is not about making pretty art it’s about structured and meaningful art.

This concept of meaningful, simplified art that I learned about in graphic design class flows over to other classes I am enrolled in at school. There are many components to my designed major that take in many ideas from other disciplines besides art. Many of the ideas I want to center my art around are how art can help people.

I am enrolled in a class this semester, which I thought would be nothing more than a class to count for my general education credit. However, taking Helping Skills in Society is more than just another class; it intertwines with what I want to do with my education path. We have been learning about this idea in class of these five steps to helping someone. At first I thought it over kill because I thought I knew how to help someone, but the last step really made me think about my art and how I can really be impactful.

There are five main parts to give someone help; establishing a working relationship, identifying the clients problem, helping the clients create goals, encouraging client exploration and taking action and lastly termination.

This last part: termination is where you help them only to the point where they can go figure it out for them self. By distancing yourself from the person it makes them only dependable on themselves. If you stay and walk them through the whole learning process not only will they not know how to do it on their own but they will associate you being there with success or understanding.

This lesson turned out to be a lot more valuable then I originally thought. This is because in art, you usually are not there for them to see your art. When you make art to help or educate someone it is for them to interoperate and take a message away.

This is very applicable for me because I want to use art to change minds and spread ideals. I use these first steps in my work by studying the demographic and including a call to action or inspirational piece. The ideas I learned in this helping skills class helped me broaden my view of how to use my art work.

Both these ideas and lessons apply directly to my designed major. By combining the creative perspective from art classes and the helping skills view, I will successfully because to add to my degree of Promotional Communications. The helping skills will work alongside the advertising and public relations side of it and the creativity will help with my mindset.

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One thought on “The Take Away”

  1. What an absolutely beautiful reflection. First of all, listening to you talk about typography is just moving– it’s clear that you have a true passion! But I also just totally enjoyed your conversations about what art is, what it’s for, how we encounter and understand and fear it. I also love what you are making of Helping Skills, and the way you letting that class open you up to new ideas and the way you are using it to deepen your own approaches to art. It’s like you’re able to bend the class into your major while also allowing it to bend you out of your comfort zones. Really enjoyed reading all of this!

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