the stars at night are big and bright

deep in the hearrrrt of Texas!

(Actually, those are just jets circling DFW.)

Yes, folks, I believe this may be my first out-of-state blog entry. I'm in Dallas, TX this weekend for a student design conference. (Check it out at www.dsvcstudentshow.org.) About forty or so MO State kids are down here, and I've had such a good time hangin' with my beloved sophomore comrades, as well as getting to know some of the upperclassmen. Tonight was the last night of the conference and I learned a lot (I think)... actually, it's more like I just took in a lot of information and advice and looked at a lot of work and processed it and taught myself a few things:

- Every professional you show your portfolio to will have different opinions about it. Therefore, you have the right to have your own opinion about what you think is strong and what is weak. There is no "right answer."

- I have (and all my classmates have) the knowledge, skill, and creativity to be great designers; the difference between a great designer and a not-great designer is hard work. (Just a little effort, as James Victore called it.)

- Great designers have passion for their work. Take what you love--books, music, politics, kitties (or Qian Qian's kitties)--and put them in your work, both personal and professional. Do what you like. Make yourself laugh.

- A graphic designer's best friend is her printer. (By printer I mean a guy at a printing press, not an Epson.) To repeat an analogy I heard tonight, an engineer can design the world's greatest car, but if it doesn't have wheels, it's all for nothing. The printing and the paper are the wheels of a design.

- Design is social. Collaborate or die.

- Designers need the perfect balance of vanity and humility. If you don't believe you're amazing, you'll never bring yourself to put anything on paper; if you don't know you're terrible, you'll never grow.

(Kim, I blogged from your house! Yay!)