Learning and Growing

I thought I’d start things off with a little introduction. My name is Nancy Palm and I’m a graphic designer living in Northern Virginia. I just graduated with a BFA in graphic design from the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Now, this may lead you to believe that I’m young and hip. But in reality, I’m sort of young (in my forties and refusing to believe that I’m old) and have a varying degree of hipness (being hip is state of degrees depending on the day and mood).

The journey back to school started while I was working The Washington Post as a page designer for the Style section. There my passion and love for design continued to grow, but I was limited in my knowledge and wanted to learn more. So, I began taking continuing education courses at the Corcoran. I received my continuing education certificate but still wanted a more formal education. Before coming to Virginia from California, I had been close to receiving my journalism degree. But a rather large earthquake sent me packing for the East Coast. Fast forward to 2009 and an opportunity to enter the BFA program at the Corcoran as a full-time student.

It was a crazy risk. I was about to leave my job of 12 years to become a student again. I had been out of the game for a long time and had no idea what to expect. Would I even be able to do this? Would I like it? Would it like me? So. Many. Questions. But if I didn’t take the risk, then I’d never know what could be possible, and I’d be left with a series of regrettable “what ifs.”

That wasn’t an option. What followed were three intense years of working side by side with some of the most awesome and talented people I’ve met, from fellow students to educators. The instructors pushed us and we pushed each other. The hours were crazy, and there were nights where sudden bursts of laughter couldn’t be controlled. Some nights never ended, or so it seemed. (Thankfully, I have an understanding husband!) There were mistakes, misprints and doubt. But there also successes and accolades.

Some people might ask, “What about, you know, being 40?” In my case, it didn’t make a difference. We were all given the same assignment, had to produce the same amount of material. The playing field was more or less even. Each student brought his or her own skillset to the table. Mine was experience and time management (to an extent. Haha). But someone else (or a few other elses) had mad drawing skills. Another was just born knowing how to design. (It was crazy.) And others had a way of bringing us all together with their amazing personalities. What mattered, rather than age, was doing the work. And by working together, we improved while also having fun.

And before I knew it, it was over. The graduation cap and gown were worn and now sit in the closet upstairs. We’ve each reentered the real world and are taking new risks and making new mistakes that will undoubtably make us better designers. But while we may no longer have family dinners or watch “Homeland” while working, we still get together and share our experiences.

This blog is meant to serve as an extension of the learning process. It’s a place where I’ll post inspiring design that I’ve across. I’ll also use it as a place to house software tips, because it’s much easier having all those InDesign and Illustrator tricks wrapped up all in one neat package. There may be some process posts that go behind the scenes of some recent work.

Whatever the case, the purpose of the blog is simple. It’s all about learning and growing.