Design School Skills I Still Use


Sometimes I will be working on a project and the voice of a professor from the past will pop up in my head with their favorite piece of advice. I was thinking the other day about the little bits that I actually still remember and use often.

1. Measure twice, cut once. You will save so much money and heartache.

2. Adhere it twice. When sticking two things together, adhere them using two different methods. For example, pin it together AND glue it. This will guarantee a strong bond.

3. Take a picture. Before I glue something together, or move something to a different workspace, or disturb it in any way whatsoever, I take a picture of it. I've probably tried a bunch of different compositions already, and if I take a picture and then something gets messed up I don't have to sit there trying to remember how it all went together. Don't trust your brain to remember what it looked like. Just take a picture.

4. Change the blade. When using an X-acto knife, you cannot change the blade enough times. Seriously. Paper and foam board dull the blades SO quickly. I change 'em out often so I don't mess up my project.

5. If you don't know how to do something, learn it! I once told a professor about my concern that my Photoshop skills were not very developed yet. He brushed this off, and told me the ideas are the most important thing. "You can LEARN Photoshop, but you can't learn how to think." So true. He repeated this idea frequently to the designers throughout my college career.

6. Shiny black paint shows every flaw. As a freshman in Industrial Design, we had to make 5 perfectly shaped spheres out of 5 different materials, and then paint them black. The professor intentionally chose a shiny black paint because it will showcase every dimple, every crack, dent or rough spot. I don't use a lot of shiny black paint, but I always remember that. (The balls were never returned to us, for fear of passing them along to other students. When asked what they did with all those spheres after the project was graded, the professors told us that they stood at the end of the hallway and bowled them down the hall for fun. I don't think they were joking.)