Notes from a Remote Design Student

Design apprentice, Meghan Yip’s, thoughts on being a remote design student for 3 semesters.

Optimizing your graphic design workspace

Optimize your workspace by adding photos, and other inspirational knick knacks.

Investing in a good graphic design work setup is entirely worth it. This doesn’t just go for remote design students – I think it’s something that can benefit anyone who spends most of their time on a computer. During in-person classes, I would often use my school’s studio space to finish projects and as a commuter student, I didn’t carry much other than my laptop and a drawing tablet. I never cared much for external laptop accessories until I got a mechanical keyboard during the pandemic, a common gateway item into the vast computer building world. Now I’m working faster and typing louder than I was before.

During lockdown, I also made the mistake of getting back into my anime and manga phase that I abandoned years ago. Needless to say, there are a lot of figurines and plushes and posters in my room that I didn’t have before March 2020.

The blight of being in your bedroom

It was a little too easy to take advantage of turning the camera off. I can admit to making my breakfast during lectures and taking a nap or shower during independent work time and breaks. Even though I took the time to perfect my work area, it was still my bedroom. There’s a guitar in the corner, an unfinished crochet project on the table next to me, a pile of laundry that needs to be folded, a bed

What’s funny about being online for three semesters is many things that I used to consider an inconvenience are things I look forward to in the Fall, even my 45 minute and change commute from Malden to Boston. I want to print and reprint my projects in the studio five minutes before class and miss my crop marks with an X-ACTO knife, only for the printer to get jammed when there’s twenty other tasks in the queue.

When most of your print design projects are meant to be physical pieces, seeing your projects to completion only for them to live on a screen left so much to be desired. For three semesters of online design work during a pandemic, I was really proud of most of the stuff that I made.

Living in a shared cultural moment

I missed the general chaos of being in art school. MassArt is eccentric, loud, and plain bizarre. There was always something happening that made you turn your head and pause.

Community wasn’t completely lost. The major group chat we created saved a lot of us from the monotony of online learning, along with social media platforms like Instagram. One of my favorite online memories is an anonymous student posting to a MassArt confessions page about how pretentious and shallow the student body is, and all of us collectively dogpiling on said remote design student. Amazing.

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