Coming Home: A Graphic Designer’s Exploration of Culture, Connection and Intuition
This is what I know to be true: Through making, I can know. I am first and foremost an observer. Although the ideas of imperfection and unjudged love surrounded me in Louisville, it took moving outside of my culture and self to truly understand these lessons. Nothing is too precious. A designer has a dense core consisting of habits, morals and a sense of self while the outer bits of the designer merge and change in conjunction with the external world. Design is a process, and sometimes the process needs time to marinate. By embracing imperfection, I also embraced intuition and chance. Pausing is important for not only reflection but also rejuvenation. I’d rather add than divide or subtract. Design can connect people, ideas, and memories. When writing one’s thesis, bourbon is always good to have on hand.
Before making my way to the graphic design program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I never felt like I could pull up a seat and sit at the cool designer table. I didn’t speak the language of graphic design, nor could I ask the right questions or even trust my own voice. In short, I felt like a design fraud. Luckily, however, with the tools of graphic design and a willingness to trudge into the deep, dark trenches of self, I can confidently speak the creative language and know what questions to ask. The past two years and most intensely the past six months, I explored the impact of my cultural and familiar roots on my designer self. Additionally, I learned the value of connection to place, others and self but most importantly I validated and came to trust my own intuition.
Through my own active creation and thoughtful reflection, I finally allowed myself to design on my own terms. By creating happy accidents, experimenting, and embracing the undiscovered, I began to trust myself as a designer in my own right. My words and methods finally became valid, true, and important.
Sarah is a graphic designer and art director living and working in San Antonio, Texas but her true heart belongs in the Bluegrass state.