Q&A with author David Leicester Hardy

The associate professor of graphic design in JMU's School of Art, Design and Art History talks about pouring his extensive experience into his new book, "Introduction to Digital Media Design."

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hardy-headshot-web.jpgBloomsbury will publish associate professor of graphic design David Hardy's new book, "Introduction to Digital Media Design," later this year. The 224-page book features 150 full-color illustrations with exercises to help a beginning designer create portfolio-worthy projects and quickly learn the foundations of design across digital platforms.

Hardy (davidhardydesign.com)has taught at JMU since 2016 and specializes in the user interface, user experience, motion graphics & animation, web design & development, design for extended reality, and branding & traditional graphic design. Prior to joining JMU, Hardy was a professor and director of the graphic communications program at the College of Southern Nevada. Prior to his academic life, he built large-scale websites for Las Vegas properties such as The Bellagio and Mandalay Bay and in several ad agencies, such as Ogilvy's Creative Studio in Washington D.C. 

Is this your first book?
I wrote a small self-published book in grad school based on interviews I conducted with designers, but this is my first book with a major publisher.

Why did you write it?
It was based on needing to teach digital design classes quickly and efficiently when I first arrived at JMU six years ago. I needed to teach digital design "from concepts to portfolio projects" in a 16-week semester. After a few years, I wrote a 200-level class that introduces the basics of web, interactive, user interface, user experience, and motion graphics design. This book is based on that course.

What was the most difficult part of writing it, and how did you overcome it?
Just finding time for "long burn" projects when it's much easier to answer quick emails, design small projects, and attend to the day-to-day. I overcame it by coming back into my office to write from 8 pm to 10 pm after my children were asleep.

What did you make a conscious effort to leave *out* of the book?
I left out as much tech jargon as I could and made sure to write it from a software agnostic perspective when possible. Otherwise, it would have a very short shelf life.

Who did you write the book for?
Students trying to quickly grasp the basics of digital design, professors teaching those classes, and even people who are working in the field and are trying to level up on their skills. 

Have you ever encountered “designer’s block” and how did you overcome it?
Always. The trick is to do something that's completely mindless for a few hours. Yardwork, laundry, cleaning, etc.

If you didn’t design, what would you do for work?
I'm not sure! I've been doing this strictly for 20+ years, professionally and then academically. Maybe something travel-related.

What would you tell your younger self about a career in graphic design?
Just know that everything in terms of aesthetics & tech will change every 10 years, but the foundational skills you learn at the 100 & 200 levels are timeless. 

What does success look like to you?
Having the privilege to do something you love every day, as a job.

"I gave some presentations regarding my methods & hacks for getting started quickly with digital design around 2016 & 2017. Everyone kept telling me, 'this should be a book.'"

-David Leicester Hardy

Published: Thursday, September 22, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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