From the IFD Mailbag …
Sketch First

Hi All,

Recently, I received two emails from graphic designers in our program who have questions that might also be on your mind. Here's the first one …

Besides the Graphic Design Success program, what else do you recommend to get my graphic career up and running?

AWAI has a brand-new program that was designed to help our novice graphic designers launch and run a profitable freelance design business. Graphic Design Business in a Box is chock-full of strategies and advice. Our graphic design and business experts collaborated to make sure it includes everything you could possibly need in order to get started.

We also recommend attending our Graphic Design Success Bootcamp 2005. Master-designers Roger C. Parker and Lori Haller will be hosting this action-packed, 4-day seminar. Attendees will learn design concepts that will shave months (if not years) from their learning curve. In addition, they'll get tips on "Selling Yourself" from Bob Bly, a master of self-promotion, as well as other working writers and artists. And they'll have a shot at real "spec assignments" that could easily lead to real paychecks.

Plus, during the Bootcamp Job Fair, everyone will get the opportunity to meet representatives from direct-mail companies looking to hire copywriters and graphic designers. Last year, nearly 25% of our beginning designers who attended Bootcamp landed jobs with clients - and we expect this year to be even better.

And here's our second question …

I have read in some graphic design books and websites that you should always do some hand-drawn thumbnail sketches before even turning on the computer. Isn't that an archaic way of designing? And doesn't this mean it will take even longer to finish a layout?

Creating thumbnail sketches is a great way to exercise your creative muscles. The more you do, the clearer the image of your final design becomes. Doing this also helps eliminate the anxiety some people feel when sitting in front of a blank computer screen.

Thumbnails do not have to be pretty. They are meant to be quick exploratory sketches to help you structure your thoughts and come up with the most effective way to organize headlines, subheads, body copy, and photos. Once you have done a few thumbnails, you can pick and choose the elements of each that you like best.

Thanks to all of you who have been writing in with questions for this column. Until next time …


The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: July 28, 2005

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