Print is Not Dead!

Over the weekend, I decided to put together a print page on my portfolio website. I thought I would never touch print design, but here I am embracing it. Let’s reflect briefly on my journey to graphic design.

When I was a sophomore in college in the early 2000s, I landed an internship at the Trump Marina. The casino is no longer in business. I was supposed to be working and learning from a graphic designer in the marketing department, but he didn’t give me anything to do. I was bored out of my mind and was not learning much. I didn’t understand anything about printing resolutions and image qualities. I was so frustrated that I focused entirely on web and interactive design. For years, I hated print design.

In Vietnamese, there’s a saying, “You will get what you hate.” It came true when I started my career at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School almost ten years ago. In addition to my primary responsibility as a web services developer, I took on a few print design jobs including signages, banners, and covers. Then I applied for the MA program in graphic design at George Mason School of Art. To my surprised, I was accepted even though my portfolio didn’t include any print material.

Through the program, I learned from my graduate classmates on basic printing techniques. I also mastered Adobe Illustrator to complete most of my assignments. I am ashamed to admit that I still don’t know how to use Adobe InDesign. Then again, I don’t design the entire magazine or book; therefore, I can get by with just Illustrator. Now I take on print design at my job or freelance gigs from my kids’ Taekwondo class or Boy Scout.

What I enjoyed the most about graphic design are grid and typography. Those are my two primary tools to create print materials.