How General Assembly’s Visual Design Course helped me learn a skill.

A year ago, I joined the Fellowship program at Experience Institute. The premise of the program is to Leap out of the comfort zone and learn in different environments. Broken down into three terms, I apprenticed with three different companies; a Hostel Management company, a Soccer Marketing Agency and a Colombian leadership development consultancy named Apprecia.

The three companies were facing a similar challenge, they all needed to produce content quickly. Whether it be travel, leisure, sports, or corporate education, nowadays it is crucial to make and share visually engaging content in order to stay connected with their customers. However, sometimes the companies don’t have the bandwidth to do it, or they miss opportunities because designers are busy with other projects.

During my third term with Experience Institute, I set out to find a way in which I could shorten turnaround times and streamline design projects. I figured that if I had a deeper understanding of this skill, I could communicate better with designers and save them time by presenting more finished ideas. I also figured that, eventually, I could create visual content, which will allow me to become a more agile and versatile content developer.

With the amount of resources and tools that exist, it is easy to become overwhelmed and intimidated by a topic or a skill. Visual Design is not the exception. As I researched and talked to designers I began to think that my goal was too ambitious and that accomplishing it would be impossible. That thought disappeared when I found General Assembly.

General Assembly offers a Visual Design introduction class in their Chicago campus. I immediately signed up.

Aaron Maurer, a seasoned graphic designer and illustrator, was the instructor. In his two hour class, he introduced the basic concepts of visual design -Color Theory, Typography, Visual Principles, Layout and Organization, and File types and software.

These concepts I learned in the class served me as the foundation that allowed me to plan my learning experience and building a framework to practice and experiment with different creative elements.

But that wasn’t all. Aaron, did more than just define the concepts. He gave us examples and shared his best practices for social media visual designs. For me, as a marketer, these two hours were exactly what I needed. I came out of the class with a solid foundation that allowed me to go back to Apprecia with a new vocabulary. As a result, the creative meetings were more efficient, and I was more precise when communicating my ideas. Soon after, I even produced my first graphic with Photoshop. I created a web asset that was used by El Espectador and the American Chamber of Commerce in Bogotá, two of Apprecia’s media partners.

My last term at Experience Institute was challenging. Learning a new skill is never easy, but it is more manageable when you can cut through the noise and lay the foundation that allows you to design a plan that fits your learning style. General Assembly’s Visual Design course was the perfect start and the space Apprecia gave me to experiment and learn proved to be key in the development of this skill.