Although Ball State’s Journalism Graphics program consists of various courses to develop and expand design skills, you should consider ways to practice design outside the classroom. From tutorials to internships, we’ve gathered several options to support your success as a designer.

Watch Online Tutorials
Whether you are just beginning to design or you are tuning up your skills, the web can be a great place to explore design practices. Youtube and LinkedIn Learning are great resources to check out as each platform has free courses to help you learn and advance your skills in everything from design elements and principles, to the Adobe Creative Suite, to web development. You can learn a lot by playing around with design and design software on your own, but following online tutorials can open doors to knowledge and techniques you never knew were possible.

To make it easier to follow, both platforms segment their courses to allow you to skip portions of the course you do not want to watch. In addition, LinkedIn Learning often offers downloadable practice files with their tutorials so you can physically do the technique you are learning.

Google can easily search through Youtube to find quick and easy tutorial videos specific to the skill you want to learn. For example, if you are working on a project on Adobe Illustrator, and you want to know how to change the color of multiple objects at once, you can type what you need into Google, and it will bring up several videos to walk you through the process. If you ever do not know how to do something in an Adobe program, there is a good chance there is a YouTube video that can teach you.

Best of all, both platforms are free to you as long as you are a Ball State student. Ball State purchases access to LinkedIn Learning for all students, so take advantage of it while you can. Be a sponge. Take in all the information. Practice applying the concepts or skills on your own. If nothing else, watch other designers do what they do best. You can learn a lot by simply observing.

If you are a beginner, here are a few LinkedIn Learning tutorials to get you started.

  1. Learning Adobe Illustrator
  2. Learning Adobe InDesign
  3. Learning Adobe Photoshop

Get Involved
If you’re looking for ways to grow your experience, try to get involved on-campus and join one of our many Ball State organizations. You don’t have to look too far. The College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM) is home to a growing list of student media groups, including, the Daily News, Byte, Ball Bearings Magazine, Cardinal Weather, Cardinal NewsLink, and WCRD. CCIM also hosts multiple agencies and societies like The McKinley Avenue Agency, PRSSA, and AAF. Find an organization that peaks your interests and offer to help. Often, you will learn a lot, just by being immersed in the environment.

There are also many opportunities to get involved outside of CCIM. Many organizations around campus and the Muncie community need designers to help promote their organization, events or fundraisers. It never hurts to reach out to new clubs, or organizations in which you are already a member, and ask if they can use your skills. Each opportunity will bring unique challenges and projects. Search for organizations here. 

Internships
Internships are another great way to gain experience. Working for companies, whether in-person or remotely, will give you real-world experience and ample opportunities to advance your skills. Each position will help you grow and prepare for the next steps in your professional development. Don’t wait until your junior or senior year to take advantage of these opportunities. Seek out work. Whether it is a 5-hour a week unpaid position during the school year, a summer internship or remote opportunities, always be on the look-out for ways to practice. You can search for internships on Ball State’s Cardinal Career Link, LinkedIn, Indeed, Indiana INTERNet, or directly on blogs.bsu.edu/journalismgraphics

 

Passion Projects
Practice makes perfect. So, find something you are passionate about and start your own project. Create designs for brands that inspire you, even if they will not actually be used by the company. Redesign a website that makes you cringe, start a social media page and create designs to post, dive into visuals, web development, photography etc. The opportunities are endless. Your portfolio does not have to only be paid-work. Sometimes passion projects can showcase more of your skills than work you did for a company or an organization. Unsure how to get started? Take a look at past student projects for some inspiration, or explore design websites such as Behance.

In the end, the best way to grow your skills is to jump into opportunities that may make you a little uncomfortable at first. Reach out to those who may help. Offer your skills and your time to those who can use them. Attend club meetings and learn from other students and professionals. Most importantly, don’t wait for the opportunity to come to you. Make the opportunity.