As an engineer, Alicia Jackson’s day-to-day design experience was mostly technical drawings and blueprints over typography and color palettes. But, she says, “I’ve always had a love of designing more creatively.”

For the past 10 years she worked on her graphic design skills and developed her talent into creating invitations, flyers, and web designs. So why would Alicia choose to take a design course after her success with self-study?

She says, “Although I heard many good things about my work and have done some independent study, it was not until taking Design 101 that I really got a chance to work with someone that is a professional in the industry.”

Read on to hear more about Alicia’s experience as a Design 101 student and first-time online learner.

What were your expectations for the course?

Through the course I expected to get a better understanding of the design basics and hopefully to find out what it would take to break into the design world professionally.

What were your previous experiences with online courses?  How was Designlab different?

Design 101 was my very first online course. They set such a high standard for any course I might take in the future.

What was your favorite project/assignment and why?

My favorite project was the very final project where we were to create our own landing page. It was nice to be able to take something we were really working on and have the guidance of the course and our advisors to create the best possible design. This class was not just theoretical, it was practical as well.

What surprised you the most about the course?

I was most surprised by how everyone in the course was so supportive of each other. I didn't expect it to be as social as it was. We were able to “like” and “comment” on each other’s assignments. It truly was like being in class with people and gaining inspiration from other student’s work.

Can you talk about how you worked with your mentor? How did this make the course different?

My mentor was truly awesome! He was so knowledgeable and gave me some great critiques. He was friendly and taught me a lot about why he made certain suggestions. Steven was always available and was an open book of information.

How have you integrated what you learned through the course into your career or personal interests? Any success stories?

I’ve taken what I learned to create my newest project I used everything I learned to carefully create this design. This class made all this difference and has raised my design skills to a new level. I’ve also taken the opportunity to create more aesthetic designs at my job. This adds another level to my abilities as an engineer.

Do you have any advice for other students thinking about taking a Designlab course?

My advice for future design students is to read and be active in every single lesson. It is all good information and can take your design skills to the next level if you let it.

Check out Alicia’s Designlab portfolio and her most recent project that Designlab helped bring to life, Pounds and Purpose.

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Meghan Lazier

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