As my convocation is coming up in about a month, and I have been gainfully employed for the last few, I have been pondering the benefits of my Bachelor’s Degree in English “Language & Literature”. And I think I’ve figured it out.
My English degree taught me to read.
We are always reading, whether it’s a book or not.
The entire world can be read. And I don’t just mean pronounced correctly, although understanding how something should sound is important for communication, I also mean that the world has a context, it has an “author’s intended meaning,” as well as many different ways it can be read, “interpretations,” you could say. Knowing how to read means understanding all the different ways something can be read, and being able to discern how it should be read.
I may be a graphic designer, but it’s far from being the distant cousin of English some assume it to be. I feel very much like my “design” is just another kind of alphabet, a spectrum of signifiers that can be arranged into messages, where every combination has its connotations. It’s a language as colourful as English itself. The reason why we don’t simply use English (words), is that it’s not the only language people speak. That is what excites me about design. I am communicating with words, but also images, the layout of the page, the font I choose and even the paper I choose to print it on. It all says something, it is all as carefully crafted as any piece of writing.
I love to read, and I love to write, and I am a graphic designer. I truly am amazed at how learning how to “read” has helped me so much in my job as a communicator. I’m writing all the time now, something I’ve always wanted to do, but not always with words.