From the IFD Mailbag …
Program Assignment Layout, and Resources

Hello, everyone! Katie has already welcomed you to this first issue of IFD – now it's my turn to welcome you to our first IFD Mailbag.

Let's start with an email we recently received from a new student who writes:

“I'm a new 'Graphic Design Success' student. I've just finished studying Part 1 of the course and am currently working on Send-in Assignment #1. There are a few things concerning Assignment Submission that I'm not sure about. (1) Is Assignment #1 confined to a single page layout? (2) Is it alright to send more than 1 version in for grading/critique? And (3) should rationale be included to complement my rendering?

“I'd appreciate your guidance to the above points, and any additional advice that you can give to a new student will also be most welcomed.” – Anthony

Congratulations on finishing Part 1 of the course, Anthony – and good luck with the rest of the course! Sounds like you are well on the way to success. Now, to answer your questions …

  1. Although the instructions do not specifically state it, the letter for Assignment #1 should be kept to a single page. If you absolutely cannot fit it on one page, remember to put a note at the bottom of page 1 that says “over please.” Also, make sure you have enough copy on the second page. If the copy is skimpy, the page will look empty and badly designed.
  2. Send in only one version of your design. Our experts will review your work and return it to you with specific comments for improvements. You can then submit an improved design based on those recommendations.
  3. You do not have to include any rationale with your design. If you apply the design guidelines provided by the course, no explanations will be necessary.

We frequently get questions from students that are similar to those that Anthony just asked – because when you actually start working on an assignment it can be a little intimidating. Don't forget that the course is giving you all the tools you require to do a good job. Be confident in your skills and have fun!

And remember, if you have any questions regarding any of the assignments – or you need further information before sending in your assignment – you can always contact us.

Here are three more questions that may be on your mind, too – these sent in by Jamie …

“Which magazines do you recommend subscribing to? Any associations that I should belong to? And in regards to the mentor program, what do I get out of it other than the phone calls and email once a week?” – Jamie

Welcome, Jamie! Here is a brief list of magazines that our students have found useful:

  • How Magazine
  • Before & After
  • Inside Direct Mail
  • Mac Design (This magazine is useful whether you own a PC or a Mac.)
  • Computer Arts
  • Liquid Library (Expensive, but includes design suggestions, stock photos, and PowerPoint templates.)

If you are just starting out and can only afford only 1 or 2 subscriptions, I recommend Before & After for graphic design tips and Inside Direct Mail for information on the direct-mail industry.

As for associations, the Graphic Artists Guild is one to look into. (They issue a handbook on pricing and ethical guidelines that might be of interest to you.)

And, finally, a few words about our mentoring program. If you join, your mentor will critique your designs and work with you to make it the best it can be. You will not only get professional help on your assignments, you will get help with your self-promotional materials – and tips on how to get clients and how to price your work.

Students who have taken the program often tell us how valuable it was as an investment in their careers. Here, for example, is what Mike Classen said: “I just wanted to let you know how thrilled I am to be taking part in the Graphic Design Mentor Program. What makes it so exciting is that my mentor is Lori Haller. I got to meet and learn from Lori at last year's Bootcamp, so the chance to get one-on-one help and advice from her through the mentor program is fantastic!”

That's it for this week. But before I sign off, I want to encourage you to participate in our online student forum. You can post questions on the forum, and exchange ideas and experiences with your fellow graphic design students. You will also often find postings from copywriters who are seeking to team up with GD students to work on projects together.

And please don't hesitate to write directly to the IFD Mailbag. I look forward to hearing your questions, comments … and success stories.

Until next week …


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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: June 16, 2005

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