Art Center College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Annis Naeem

Entertainment Design

3rd Term

In what ways has Art Center helped you grow as a designer?
Many of the things I previously held to be “design law” were childish misconceptions. There are no rules in design, and no solid methods.

You can't wake up and follow the same exact process every day. Eventually that process will eat up your motivation, or you will fall behind.

So the most important thing I've learned is to keep my mind open to fresh ideas, and to always add things to my skill set or mental library.

What has surprised you the most during your time here?
I would have to say the social structure and hierarchy that exists here—it is completely different from any other college. You don't have your popular clique of athletes and cheerleaders; little attention is paid to those types of things here.

The students at Art Center are so centered on academics and excelling in design that the most respected people and role models are those who are the best in class. It doesn't matter where you come from, what you wear, what you look like, what kind of car you drive, who you are dating or what team you play on. It only matters that you are the best student in your class.

I strongly believe that this is a huge reason for Art Center's success: the motivation of the students, and the collective willpower and competition that drives us through all-nighters and long days of work.

What is the most valuable lesson you've learned so far at Art Center?
Be nice, courteous, helpful and, most importantly, share. All these things will help you grow as a designer.

Don't hide what you create from your peers and the world because you are afraid of your idea being stolen. If you do, you will never have the chance to hear someone else's criticism, input and thoughts on the matter—and that might help improve your original idea.

What's the most challenging aspect of studying art and design?
For me, it would be staying grounded. Realizing what I want to achieve in my designs, and not being influenced so heavily that I am labeled a “copy.” You always have your design celebrities and role models, but being overshadowed by them until you yourself make your own mark in the world is definitely challenging.

The same goes for being at Art Center. You're expected to learn at a fast rate and apply it at an exceptional level.

If you're not originally from Southern California, what surprised you most about the region?
Coming from the Northeast U.S., I was surprised by two things. First, the beauty and openness of the West Coast—everything always seems picture perfect.

I'm still not used to the palm trees, mountains and overall landscape. The second would be the people, whom I find much more relaxed and a great deal nicer on this side of the country.

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