The Ins and Outs of InDesign at the Art League of Long Island

Exterior of the Art League of Long Island

You may recall that I mentioned I was taking an InDesign class at the Art League of Long Island last month (if not, you can catch up here). The class has concluded and I am now an InDesign pro—okay, that may be an exaggeration. But the teacher, David O. Miller, more than got me on my way.

This was my first class at the Art League, and when I began back at the end of November, I was unsure what to expect. I’ve taken graphic design classes before that have left me no better off than when I started. But I am pleased to say that David’s class was nothing like that.

Here’s a little about the class and my overall impression:

Duration
The InDesign class was broken down into four sessions, held once a week on Wednesday night. It ran from 7:00 – 9:30 pm, and to be honest, before I met David, I had secretly hoped that he would be one of those teachers that would shave off the last half-hour. But his gregarious personality and advanced knowledge of the subject matter made the class fly by. Thanks, David, for keeping us the full length of the class!

Class Size
The intimate class size was ideal. With only five students, it felt like you were getting personalized and individual instruction—which made asking questions and getting to know classmates easy.

Classroom at the Art League of Long Island

Computers
Obviously, InDesign requires the use of a computer—and the Art League had just the space and set-up for the class. Since I haven’t used a PC in years, I was delighted to see a room full of Mac desktops, all equipped with the Magic Mouse (if you are a Mac user, you need to get a Magic Mouse—it is, well, magical—trust me!).

Skill Level
I went into the class with a basic understanding of InDesign. When I started my new role in marketing last fall, I was tasked with having to update publications (despite never having worked in InDesign before). Thanks to a few patient graphic designers in my office (who answered all my questions), and a quick Adobe InDesign tutorial, I had just enough knowledge to open the program. David did a wonderful job getting us all up-to-speed and comfortable using the tools in InDesign, and even taught us useful shortcuts on a Mac (which I now use every day and have no idea how I lived this long without them). I would say the class is appropriate for a beginner-to intermediate-skill level with InDesign.

InDesign at the Art League of Long Island

What I Learned
I learned that you never stop learning…and that there is lots to know about InDesign….and that I may be slightly afraid of Illustrator (the next program I would like to tackle). In all seriousness, I walked away with a very functional knowledge of InDesign. To give you an example, one project at work was taking an incredible amount of time for me. I had to Google things like, “how to add a layer” and “why won’t this box move in InDesign” so many times that I grew frustrated. But after the class, all of the issues I had been struggling with seemed so simple—and the project that I had worked on for weeks was done and looking good (if I may say so myself).

Overall, this class covered everything from what each of the tools were used for (which is a good place to start), to all of the things that you can use InDesign for (like writing a book), to having us design a business card and flyer, and finally, teaching us how to package our work and send it off to the printer. Learning not only about the program, but what we can do with it, puts the whole application in perspective, and it provided a great stepping-stone to learn how to use other Adobe products.

Outcomes
Should you take this class with David, you can be sure that you will gain some degree of proficiency with InDesign. You may not be an expert (remember learning anything takes practice, dedication, and the desire to enhance your knowledge), but you will understand the basics. From there, what you do with the program is up to you!

Would I Take Another Class at the Art League?
The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” I am consistently impressed with the work the Art League does, not only for the community, but for artists who want to pursue their passions. The hard work of Charlee Miller, the Executive Director, and her dedicated staff make that all possible.

I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to take a class with David and get to work with the Art League. I swear, if they offered a degree program, I would enroll in a heartbeat.

Art Gallery at the Art League of Long Island

I looked forward to every class (despite being exhausted after a long day of work and way too many hours already spent trying to figure out InDesign). But I could feel a sudden burst of energy with each step I climbed up to the second floor of the art gallery, as I perused all of the new work being exhibited, and made my way to the classroom. The excitement of challenging myself to learn something new was palpable. And, hey, I was surrounded by incredible artwork in a beautiful building. It was the perfect environment!

If you are on Long Island, run—don’t walk—to the Art League. Even if taking a class is not on your agenda at the moment, life at the Art League is never dull and there is always something fun happening.

A big thank you to Charlee Miller, the Executive Director at the Art League, Annette Bernhardt, the Marketing Coordinator, who does a great job publicizing all of the exciting happenings on social media (follow the Art League on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), and to David O. Miller, who made this class one of my personal highlights of 2016—and to whom I owe all of my InDesign knowledge.

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2 comments

    1. Thanks, Kathrine! I wish you lived in NY, too–that way we could meet in person! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The Art League is such a wonderful place and I wish everyone could experience all of the incredible things they do there.

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