Experiences of a high school news-mag designer

Last year, my junior year, I joined my school newspaper as I writer to get out of taking PreCal.

I was a decent reporter. I wrote my stories, got them in on time, and even managed to snag myself a editing position by the end my first semester in the staff class. But my writing never stood out. Never won any awards. Never blew anyone away. I was okay with it, I guess. I made friends and got to go on a couple of trips that got me out of school.

Going into my senior year, our staff only had two returning designers for a 32 page publication. With such a high ratio of pages to designers, I volunteered to help out a bit with design. Wary of a reporter picking up design with no experience with any Adobe software, I was assigned four pages my first issue. I ended up picking up an extra four to add onto those during last minute deadline days.

By the next issue, I had 14 bylines.

Before this semester, I was always scared of programs like Illustrator, In Design, and Photoshop. Scared of all the buttons and shortcuts that made the computer do funky things. However, after of couple of days spent playing around, I figured out it really wasn’t that hard of a concept to pick up. I also figured out that I really, really love designing.

While content is important, design can make or break a page. Little elements like pulled quotes and info graphics and and fonts can pull everything together. Design is what catches the readers attention and tells them what to look at and when to look at it. Design directs the story.

I’ve also discovered, to the annoyance of some other staff members, how to make dogs. I spend a whole off day working on making minimalist dogs. I wouldn’t shut up about dogs that day because I was so happy. I had finally found a way, through graphic design, to use my creativity to express my love for these dumb animals. (I mean, have you ever seen an italian greyhound. They’re dumb)

This little job as a designer for high school publication has impacted me in ways I never thought it would. It’s impacted my future. I want to stick with design, whether that’s through journalism or marketing or any other outlet, it’s something I want. It’s something I’m going to work for.

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