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Why travel is so important to designers?

As most of us know, the normal process of broadening one’s knowledge is that you must go to school and study areas that you are interested in, then professors in different areas of expertise will address their specialty and viewpoints so you can pursue and expand your knowledge.  But this is a “textbook” approach to education and has limits to understanding what is really out there in the world and to what scale and complexity. To make experiences and educational outlook more real, travel is often one the best choices for a student of design.

I have known and met may great and successful designers throughout my life, and most travel extensively to say the least.  Throughout the past 30+ years of the Graphic Workshop, this workshop has been a vehicle of opportunity to travel around the world, this travel experiences do give me immense confidence when I design or give advice to clients.  I often noticed that some students who have taken part in travel programs tend to be more creative in their respective design studios.

I have heard many students who often said “I couldn’t afford it”, so the question I ask is “so when can you?”  The longer you wait, the more expensive it becomes due to inflation, once you land a job, then taking time off to travel seem much less possible.  So I encourage students to travel during the spring or summer break, even take a semester or a year off and travel around the world, this is a luxury that professionals can only envy.   If you are a professional, I suggest you to make time to travel (with your spouse), find excuses and opportunities so link travel as part of your projects.  Just don’t wait until after retired to start traveling, then it would be too late to incorporate ideas into your design, you also may be physically too old to see, eat and enjoy as compare to if you are still young, healthy and excited. 

So be a “doer”, put a few desired locations you like to go on the map and just GO.  I am sure the rest of the world will wait for you when return. 

Cheers…  Mike Lin

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