Graphic Design: Students Embrace The Pathway’s New Chapter


Trinitii Baggett

National Success: SkillsUSA member and senior Calen Pitts is excited for this year’s State Conference where he aims to bring another Championship to the Graphic Design Pathway.

The Graphic Design pathway prepares NAHS students to become successful graphic designers. Throughout the three-year course, they compete against other schools in various SkillsUSA competitions. However, in March of 2021, they left their iMac computers behind for the more traditional APS Chromebook. With the return of in-person learning, they’ve now begun to reflect on the obstacles they had to overcome during a time of isolation.
Inside the classroom, students had access to exclusive software specific to their unique designs. With that said, they had to adapt and learn to navigate different software while working from home. “At home, I was able to install both photoshop and illustrator on my personal computers,” said junior Jesus Molina. “However, the slight difference in shortcuts between Windows and Mac limited the digital designs I could do.”
Unfortunately, every computer doesn’t support Photoshop which was at the forefront of their custom art and optical illusions. The next best thing was Photopea, but it was obvious everyone wasn’t in favor of the new rival. “Photopea was pretty similar to Photoshop but the editing process and working with larger files made it frustrating to design,” said junior Jordan Barnes.
Overall, the absence of a physical teacher helped them become more self-reliant and dependent on online resources. The great energy, support, and motivation from fellow classmates are what they missed most of all. “Well, everyone in the class is really chill and willing to help so it makes my life easier,” said junior Clever LaForce. “I’m pretty good at using photoshop and I can help others so no one gets discouraged.”
When the day finally arrived they passed the Lab Safety Quiz with flying colors thus allowing them to use machinery to produce products like t-shirts, hoodies, and keychains. The pathway taught them to think bigger when it came to designing outside their comfort zone. “I did feel like I was being thrown out into unknown waters and told to swim but that greatly helped me as an artist,” said senior Calen Pitts.
Above all, the greatest lesson students learned from their experience is that facing challenges head-on made them even stronger designers. Eventually, all the disappointment about lost time disappeared because they put their best foot forward and embraced the journey. Most importantly, the greatest reward they share is knowing they believed in themselves and stayed focused on the end goal.