Adobe Skill Builder for Print and Screen My Learning Journal - Julie Terry

This is a picture of Peanut. She's my assistant. Wherever I am, she follows me around and helps out. She has a chair right beside mine as I sit at the computer. She occasionally gets up and walks across the keyboard or behind the computer, which can cause a few technical problems - but it's all good. She loves watching paper go through the printer and tries to catch it with her paws. She's funny, entertaining and very pretty.

About Me

I'm Julie Terry - for the past two-and-a-half years, I've been a college Graphic Design professor. Here's the story of how I got here.

Most of my career was in Marketing Communications, where I was a manager, planner, art director, writer, editor, special events organizer and community outreach liaison.

I dabbled with Adobe Photoshop and knew some decent layout techniques in Quark Xpress. But I was mostly blissfully content in my analog world. I had solid management, communication and organizing skills and that was enough - so I thought.

In the Great Recession, I was let go from my job of 15 years. In preparing to secure another job I realized I was out of touch with what the marketplace required from creative professionals. I needed design and layout skills as much as planning and writing capabilities.

So . . . as I was searching for a new job, I got some great advice. Following this advice, I purchased Adobe software for my home computer (CS5 at that time), as well as an Adobe Creative Suite "Classroom in a Book." And I learned things I needed to know.

In my new job, I did things I had never done before - I started a website for my company, opened social media channels for them, designed a new logo. Published their monthly newsletter and created all kinds of informational flyers. I made videos, took photographs and created lots of content for the company's printed and digital communications.

Stretching myself and learning new skills set me up for my next job - becoming a full-time faculty member and program director of Graphic Design at a local community college - best job I've ever had!

I'm now responsible for helping launch the next generation of creative professionals. I have to know about the tools and resources my students need to prepare for their careers. I was delighted to find out about Adobe Generation Professional and the Educational Exchange. Even better than Classroom in a Book!

Class 1 Assignment - Recipe

The assignment was to lay out a recipe. However, before you can make a recipe, you need ingredients, right? And all of us should add more healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables every day to our meals.

So for this assignment, I layed out these Fruit and Vegetable handouts using InDesign. The flyers/handouts are pretty simple, but I had fun using a grid and guidelines, figuring out where everything would go, sizing and placing the images, adding color boxes and organizing the type as Headlines, Subheads and Copy, plus using a different font for the little quizzes at the bottom. One problem I ran into was how to place the text over the colored boxes in the quiz sections. I found out I had to turn off the text wrap option so I could place copy on top of the boxes - it just wouldn't go at first until I looked up how to turn off the wrap option so that the text would sit nicely on top of the box.

These layouts are in a double page spread, so they could be folded, with more content on the other side. Or they could be cut down the middle and used separately. I think they're clean, organized and would make good informational handouts to be printed, or placed on a website.

Class 2 Assignment - Concert Poster

I know - it's not a rock concert poster! But I love this duo, Montana Skies. I saw them perform several years ago - never heard anything quite like them. They're classically trained musicians who love technology, jazz, rock and innovation - so they've developed a spectacular sound they call "classical fusion."

I'm still very new to InDesign, but I enjoyed this assignment and tried out some different techniques. I was happy to see there are many similarities in InDesign with my "go-to" Photoshop and Illustrator programs. I learned how to clip an image into a shape, wrap text around a shape, and make a box translucent so the background image shows through and the text sits on top.

I haven't quite figured out text color yet. I could pull up the basic swatches, but didn't figure out how to match colors from picking up hues with the eyedropper or by choosing my own unique color from the spectrum. I also would like to know how to make color adjustments on images - increase vibrance or contrast, etc. I made color adjustments in Photoshop, then placed the photos in the InDesign layout.

Assignment 3: Reflection on My Learning

I've only been a college professor for two-and-a-half years. I've been doing three things simultaneously: developing a new program that didn't before exist; learning new software, technology and skills so I don't seem totally clueless to my students; and learning how to be an effective, high quality teacher.

There have been moments when I've felt completely frazzled and overwhelmed. But then I prioritize my goals and chip away at them a little at a time - and make progress. I've found that students are ok when I tell them I don't know something, or when we have to look up and learn something together, and also when they know things I don't.

I like this short, three-week course. It emphasized the worlds I'm straddling - a strong background and love for print, yet leaning more and more to digital.

This course made me face my fear of InDesign. This program is the key to what I need - my next goals are learning to set up complex, multi-page documents, exporting for print and screen, creating wireframes for websites and creating ebooks and interactive publications.

I liked how the course demonstrated some simple tasks you can start doing right away in InDesign. The recipe and the concert poster are useful projects that weren't difficult to do. And in spite of myself, I started enjoying using InDesign! I did have to look at several "how tos" and tutorials, but I figured out how to do things and to finish these projects. With wind in my sails, I will continue spending time with InDesign.

In the fall, I'm going to incorporate both of these projects into one of my classes. The class that is graduating in a few weeks struggled with me to do some things in InDesign, including working through lessons in the Adobe InDesign book. We all felt slightly intimidated and overwhelmed by chapter after chapter of going through the entire workspace and following step-by-step directions.

I believe the upcoming class will have more fun by plunging into the recipe and poster projects without worrying so much about all the capabilities and technicalities of the program, and will feel good about making something in InDesign.

I really like the Spark Learning Journal! I already have my students write a few reflective papers, but this brings it to a new level - an ongoing dialogue with themselves and a document showing their progress. I'm going to include it in my classes.


Photo by Julie Terry

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