Whenever the phrase graphic design is uttered, most people conjure up images of sharp logos, popular ad campaigns or cleverly-styled packaging. However, at its core, graphic design is the practical art of knowing how to communicate through image and type. This is the foundation that students gain when they take part in a graphic design workshop at TUMO. Where these skills take them, or really where the students take these skills, is entirely up to them.

Like all workshops at TUMO, there are three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. For those poor souls out there who aren’t in the know, we’ll take a moment to give you a more detailed account:

Level I

The seeds of curiosity related to graphic design are first planted here. In level 1, students learn how to use Illustrator and explore 2D graphics, becoming familiar with the field’s jargon as well as how to interpret reality through graphics.

Level II

The Greeks may have defined love in six categories, but we’re certain they overlooked that special love that’s borne from seeing a perfectly created typeface or minimalist logo design. So it’s only fitting that students in level 2, already armed with this love and a basic understanding of graphic design, are itching to learn more. Here they start to understand what impact the right typeface or image can have on the overall product while learning to use Photoshop to communicate their ideas.

Level III

This is where the whole picture comes together. Students, armed with a command of both Photoshop and Illustrator, are able to use their skills to create their own merchandising products ranging from tote bags to stickers. TUMOians also learn about the visual guidelines used by companies and create their own for an imaginary company.

Skills gained in the permanent graphic design workshops are complemented by TUMO learning labs led by visiting, international professionals. For example earlier this year Lebanese graphic designer Khajag Apelian taught teens how to use Glyphs to create their own Armenian typeface. The goal of the workshops and learning labs isn’t to mint new graphic designers, but to give teens an understanding of how the industry works, to gain skills and insight into a new way of thinking that they can take with them in their future. These abilities are useful whether they become the lead graphic designer at one of Yerevan’s newest startups or simply find the need to think outside the beautifully designed box from time to time. After all, TUMOians are responsible for deciding what to do with the skills they’ve gained; where they go is half the fun.

Now it’s time for a little one-on-one with our three very special graphic design workshop leaders and their thoughts on…you guessed it! Graphic design. Say hello to Mariam Zakaryan, Rostom Kouyoumdjian and Razmik Zatikyan.

1. Fave thing about graphic design? MZ: The entire process of finding a solution and communicating information through images. RK: All of it – beginning, middle and end. As a designer you have the freedom and flexibility to always be learning and creating. RZ: You need to flex your brain’s muscles with graphic design and every day is different. Plus, you’re always learning and see things from different perspectives.

2. Why is it important to teach graphic design skills to Armenia’s teens? MZ: Graphic design skills will create a new generation of people who can come up with new solutions to old problems. RK: I think learning graphic design skills makes Armenia’s teens more active, more aware of contemporary taste and at the same time more knowledgeable about their legacy of their centuries old culture. RZ: The tech fields are progressing so quickly here, we need specialists to present them in attractive ways.

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