My project started with an interest in the relationship between languages and the people who speak them. I picked a subject that I knew I would love to research, but even as I was deep into my readings, I wondered if this was the right subject matter and how I was going to turn it into a graphic design project. “I have no idea what I’m doing” was something that I heard and said constantly during the second semester of senior year.
It was easy and even comfortable to get lost in research and ideation, but at a certain point I needed to buckle down and make specific decisions. I wanted to make sure to spend enough time developing the final product. It was tough finding a good balance between exploration and execution. Everything fell together as it does, and I ended up with a project that reflected my interests both in content and form.
1. Know what you want to get out of your project before going into it. For some it is one last big wandering experiment, and for others it is a practical portfolio boost before entering the real world. Everyone’s goal will be different, and knowing yours will guide you and can be reaffirming if you encounter self-doubt.
2. Find opportunity in the ambiguity and lack of outside direction. It can be scary and unfamiliar, but it’s important to learn how to work with these things and to take advantage of them.
3. Definitely keep your project open-ended in the beginning, but somewhere in your development it will be crucial to get specific. It’s okay if the direction you choose isn’t *the one*. There is no right direction, and each direction comes with its own set of challenges.
Carolyn is currently a designer at Local Projects in New York city.
See more of her work at carolynhampe.com.