First GDA Meeting of Fall 2019

GDA 9/11/2019 – FIRST MEETING FALL 2019

This semester has gotten off to a grand start. After a fine first meeting (with a few hangups) we’ve looked into the year’s planning:

Things to do in GDA 2019-2020

GDA Wants:

  • Design battles
  • Program Q&A (hands-on specific activities)
  • Workflow and speed (fast way to get as many ideas on the table as possible)
  • What in graphic design one did we learn to be passed down?
  • What we think you should know vs what the state says you should know
  • PSD Mockups

Being creative, working on drawing skills, thinking about projects creatively, really absorbing as many of the concepts that you can, working on organization of projects and thumbnails, talking about color all of the time, working on craftsmanship, were all seen as important things.


After a short presentation on what its like working in the design industry, we had a short Q&A session on the program and the state of design in North Carolina.


Freelancing, Job Hunting, Valuing Yourself

Several other standard questions came forward:

Q: What do you do, when your client sucks? What about when they won’t listen to reason and they want bad design. What do you do?

A:You present multiple options. Because client is paying you need to give them what the want. Do a creative brief first. Always give your client something to refuse so you know what they like/don’t like and so they feel in control.

Q: How should I value myself and how much money should I ask for?

A: Valuing yourself is essential but can be difficult to pin down – estimate the amount of time it will take to do things. Think about how long it will take you to do each project. Consider mistakes you might make. Write down your estimate. Then do the work and look at how much time it actually took you to do it. Think about how much you want to get paid. Think about outside expenses – rent, laptop, electricity, phone, software, water bills. You have that overhead cost that you have to cover. Beyond that, you need to get paid. Beyond that you want to make a profit (plus 20%). You also want to retire, so don’t be afraid to set aside some funding for your future.

Q: Should we always charge by the hour or should we charge by complexity?

Good question! You can do either. One will certainly give more risk for you, the other will give more risk for the client. For many of you, if you feel you might make mistakes, you should consider lowering your rate and charge by the hour. WordPress, for example (5 pages. Find the theme. $1500 cost)

What should you charge as students? At what point do you feel comfortable? First off, be honest with the client about your experience. Set a price point and a goal and say “If I go beyond “$300 at $25/hr, I will call you.”) the businesses you’re working with also needs to make a profit. Go beyond $300/hr. give them more. Make them feel good. Get in the habit of going beyond NOW. Look at those estimations you make and the time you put in and decide if it is worth that amount of money.


Q: Will this program help us get work?

Well, to a degree. Job hunting is important. This program narrows each class down, giving you the skills you need to get employed and stay employed. About 60% of the people in this program have a job working in the field before they get their diploma. Graphic design is a trade. In the eyes of the law, you don’t need a cert, license, or training. You can be Backney McNeckBeard with CS2 living in your grandparents’ basement and consider yourself a graphic designer.


Q: How similar is what we do here to what we will find in the workplace?

At big companies – all designers sit and sketch ideas. Art director picks the best ideas to be fleshed out before you go to digital versions. Each person is given a task and they use the programs needed to accomplish it.


Q:Do companies hire designer to stay or do they just freelance/one off/intern to do jobs?

Good Question. It depends. If the internship is a job that is an actual job and would require another person to be paid – then it is required by law that you, as the intern, get paid. If the intern would put a tax payer out of a job, they must get paid, unless they are a volunteer. If what you do as an intern gives a positive addition to the company or client it must be paid for. Coffee running, shadowing, sitting in a meeting… these you would not get paid for. Updating social media, updating websites, working on designs for a client, these are all items an intern would be paid for.

Walk of Shame

At the last GDA meeting, we had superlatives given by Amanda Hoffay and Jena Chow to the graduating students.

Each student received a pair of personalized sunglasses. Each of them had a series of comments specific to each person. Each comment was lovingly created based on literally years of knowing one another. Frankly, at the community college level its great that everyone enjoys themselves, but they also come together in ways that bolster their time here and the rest of their lives. The connections we make running through the wringer that is advanced education pull us along, bring us to our peak talents and charge us up. In seeing each student smile and begin talking about their superlative really brought us all a lot of joy.

and, they make any schmo off the street look cool. Case in point:
Tyler Dockery in glasses: Something that makes any schmo look good

One other thing we did here was take some time to go on a walk of shame. Tyler Dockery pulled out some old high school yearbooks from the early 1990’s and we discussed fashion, trends, etc.

Here’s a choice photo of tyler dockery with a single pierced earring, multiple snakes chained together. Awesome.