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Life After School

In the past we have discussed what type of design education you have — if any. Obviously, many of us here attended some sort of artsy program in one way or another. And most are now happy (supposedly) and working for somebody, as a freelancer or with your own operation freed from the man. For this discussion I would like to focus on those designers who came out of college and started working for a firm.

One question that was recommended to us as a discussion is: what is the effect of attending a graphic design program at a state-run university ($12,000*) as opposed to attending a specialized institution ($60,000*) like The School of Visual Arts, RISD, Pratt or MCAD? Do you receive a better education at the higher-priced school? Are your chances of landing a succesful job after college more probable if you spend more money on your education?

People talk and rumors fly, but is it true that students who attended the higher-priced schools are more egotistical and think they are the best thing since sliced bread or David Carson? I didn’t make up the rumors, I’m just asking.

And to make things more interesting, to all employers out there, how much emphasis do you put on the design education prospective employees have? In that first contact, the resume, as you are scanning through it and trying to weed out some candidates does the school they attended figure into your decision? Please, be open and honest about this.


* Figures are based on the e-mail I received regarding this topic, if anybody has accurate numbers of how much these programs cost please send them to me.

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PUBLISHED ON Aug.21.2003 BY Armin
jonsel’s comment is:

Hmm...at risk of seeming egotistical...I graduated from Portfolio Center (2 years = approx $ 28,800 now, was a bit less then) and I definitely looked down upon many other "art department" graduates. I made the assumption that, since many at PC had already gone to college and gotten BFA's, those programs weren't as good as the intensive 2-year PC plan.

I should say I've seen enough good books from many different places that I've recognized some of the folly of that early thinking.

But, I will say that books from dedicated art-only schools - PC, ArtCenter, RISD, etc. - are more consistently good across graduating classes.

On Aug.21.2003 at 09:12 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

In any profession, the status of the school you attended plays into one's ego.

I was just chatting with someone last night that was looking at an interactive porfolio (online) from a Yale Master's grad. It wouldn't work on any of the machine's in his office.

The tuition is not a direct correlation to the quality of the education. I attended a state University and taught at a private college and the only real difference is that the private art schools tend to be solely art schools. Which has its pros and cons.

There are a lot of crappy art schools at the tech-school level, of course.

On Aug.21.2003 at 09:33 AM
april’s comment is:

Generally speaking, I think there is a certain level of pretentiousness when graduating from an art school as opposed to a state school. And I do think the chances of getting a better education are significantly higher. While state schools may have equally nice facilities, they often lack the dedication and diversity of teachers.

Also, a recent grad usually has more confidence (thus tenacity), knowing that his/her resume says "X Institute of Art" rather than "Michigan State".

However, a strong portfolio and an innovative leave-behind can throw all that out the window.

On Aug.21.2003 at 09:42 AM
Bradley’s comment is:

I went to Portfolio Center, and like any other school, it is what you make of it. Before then I was a history and film major from Indiana University, and I was really attracted to the PC methodology and the fact that as someone who loved design but had taken no classes in it, I wasn't locked out or forced to get a four year BFA. At the end, I felt well-rounded, I felt like a solid thinker with the training and discipline to DO something. So that was cool. Most people outside the profession haven't heard of it so there's no pedigree attached whatsoever, which I don't mind.

Some people go to PC and quickly don't see the point in it because its a rather loose curriculum and, well, if you've ever met Hank Richardson... but a lot of people, uh, take the intensity of the program a bit too far and the pride and ego coming out of there is pretty high. I know it was for me, and I've seen it in others.

There's no substitute for experience, but the advantage of doing a program like PC is that it REALLY opens your mind to endless possibilities...more than you can imagine. THAT is priceless.

On Aug.21.2003 at 10:06 AM
tim’s comment is:

This question has been plaguing me for a long time.

I graduated from UW-Milwaukee, not known for its design. However, MIAD is also located in Milwaukee. I had the same professors that taught painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic design and typography that MIAD students had teaching their classes as well.

After attending several AIGA functions and talking with several art directors and firm owners they indicated that, much like April said, the portfolio is the strongest seller.

In my situation, I decided I got the best education for my dollar. At work we’ve killed this topic, that’s why I wanted to bring it to a different platform on Speak Up!

Thank you Armin for rewriting some of my entry to Speak Up! I need to work on my grammar.

On Aug.21.2003 at 10:15 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Perhaps one consistenly true factor that is coming out of this discussion is that the quality of individual professors is perhaps the most valuable experience regardless of the type of school you attended.

On Aug.21.2003 at 10:35 AM
Michael B.’s comment is:

As an employer, I'll hire anyone from any school, as long as they're smart, articulate, well-read and have a good portfolio. In fact, I've noticed that sometimes a great student from a school with no particular reputation is better than someone with a famous school on his or her resume. With the latter you risk getting attitude and a sense of entitlement; with the former you may get a classic "self-starter" with real passion and drive who will lunge at every chance they get. I went to a state school myself, so this may color my views somewhat.

On Aug.21.2003 at 10:40 AM
eric’s comment is:

In defense of elitism, i've always believed that you tend to get what you pay for. I graduated Art Center College of Design in 95. I think that the tuition was 6000 a semester. I don't want to know what it is at present.

However, I believe that people essentially educate themselves. Education doesn't define you, but it does create opportunity. Design schools (opposed to art schools) offer a kind of concentration that you can't get from a broader program. And very important to any educational/carreer discussion is that your classmates are an essential source for contacts and resources. Attending a targeted cirriculum puts you in contact with hundreds of people that are driven in the same direction you desire.


Of note, and perhaps contradicting myself, Speak Up is entirely free. It's as detailed and tasking as you care to make it. Most importantly it is a very driven community filled with a multitude of voices.

no, let me correct that: this community isn't free, it's priceless.

If you can't find the right information here then i offer that the answer likely doesn't exist. I am constantly humbled and in awe of all of you.

Tim, thanks a lot for the topic.

On Aug.21.2003 at 10:43 AM
Sam’s comment is:

here we go . . .

Transferring site to new server: 72 hours

Yearly hosting: $400

Swearing about design in a community of designers: priceless

On Aug.21.2003 at 11:02 AM
Tan’s comment is:

I think the environment of the school that you attended is more important than the prestige or cost of the program. I went to a 4-year state university, but one that had an extremely aggressive "cut" system. About 140 freshmen started in the program, but fewer than 20 graduated a year. You had to compete and apply for a limited number of junior year positions, and not every junior gets accepted into senior year. As a result, the grads were cream of the crop and very, very self-motivating, not to mention talented. I think there are a number of state programs in the country that also have this brutal system -- Cincinnati, Washington, Western Michigan, and a few others.

That sense of competitiveness prepared me for the real world more than anything else.

I now teach part-time at a couple of design schools here in Seattle -- the Art Institute of Seattle and Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Both are 2-year programs, but are completely different. The Art Institute is filled with 19 year-old skatepunks that can't write their name on a test. SVC, on the other hand, is similar to PC -- a school for professionals who are changing careers and are serious about design. Again, the difference has to do with the aggressive, mature attitudes of the students. At SVC, they come to conquer.

As an owner, I've seen portfolios from hundreds of programs from Canada to Florida -- 2-, 4-year, BFA, MFA, Art Center, Emily Carr, etc. What I look for is talent and intelligence, professional maturity and development, and hunger. Credentials from a good school may get a student an appt with me, but after that, they're on their own. And a good portfolio is worth 70% of the grade.

In 2-year programs, the talent and hunger is usually there, but the maturity isn't. Next come the expensive schools, which can turn out talent, but they also tend to turn out prima donnas and design artistes who can't start off with a $28,000/yr salary (mostly because of crushing student loans). And MFAs are a mixed lot. If they worked for a while, and went back to school -- they can be awesome. But if they took it in a straight path out of high school, most MFAs become too academic to adjust to the rigors of day-to-day, grunt agency work.

So that leaves 4-year programs, which I still consistently find to be the optimal duration and structure for a design degree. Of course, there are exceptions to everything I just said.

On Aug.21.2003 at 11:02 AM
Rebecca’s comment is:

I graduated from a Junior College with an A.S. in "Graphic Design Technology" and an A.A. in Fine Arts (drawing, painting, & photography). My first job right out of college was as a bank teller for a year. I didn't want to work 3rd shift typesetting. Then I was hired as the sole designer at an in-house agency for a corporation in Florida. I was there for 3 1/2 years before taking my current position as part of a 3-wo/man in-house design team.

A portfolio speaks for itself, educational institution aside. However, at my first design job, I found my predecesor's Offer of Employment Letter--with a starting salary over $3,000.00 more than mine. (He graduated from an art school, but worked at that company only 6 months.) Fortunately, my direct supervisor understood relative industry pay scales. At my current job, I got my requested salary.

A few more thoughts:

Interview skills, inteligence, and portfolio should win over any Art Director. (Thank you for the confirmation from the other side of the desk, Michael B.) If they don't, I wouldn't want to work for the snot anyway.

Darrel is absolutely correct. The professor's name on the sylabus is more important than the name on the school's door.

Every designer has the responsibility to continually update their skills--whether through more classes, Internet tutorials, conferences, or plain ol' study.

Out of about 20 former classmates, only 2 of us are currently employed as Designers. Take from that what you will.

On Aug.21.2003 at 11:10 AM
graham’s comment is:

only my feelings, don't take this as gospel.

it's all about the work, and showing/seeing the real thing-i.e. if theres a poster, showing/seeing the thing itself and not a picture etc. etc.

in terms of design education, anything obviously a 'project' tends to be a turn off because it's often prefaced by a 'we had to do this . . .' or a 'we were told to . . .' kind of thing. it's more interesting to know what you feel, what you want to do. work done under one's own motivation is far more interesting than anything else, and sketchbooks are often the most interesting thing. too much 'i thought you'd want to see' second-guessing (you can do enough of that when you're working) and not enough 'this is what i believe in and if you're into it then lovely'.

a cv (or 'resume') isn't massively helpful, and to be entirely honest only gets noticed for the wrong reasons-spelling, grammar, too much info or overplaying one's hand (executive sanitation engineer for a multi-national corporation rather than washing up at pizza hut for example).

phone the person you want to see-and keep phoning them until you speak to them and can hook up with them. try hard not to have to leave a portfolio.

loads more i'm sure.

On Aug.21.2003 at 11:10 AM
Max’s comment is:

Not to get off topic (it's related), but I was also wondering how others have experienced designers' attitudes/egos from different geographical locations? I've run into designers from New York that for whatever reason get transplanted in the midwest and think they are far superior than us rubes, even if all they were doing in New York was slapping a logo on a photo for a fashion ad.

For me, it has also gone both ways. I've met some very great and humble designers from some larger design-centric cities, and I've met people that need to just give up and work at Kinkos.

Does geography also dictate status, in anyone's experience? Further, does it affect any employer's decisions about a potential candidate?

On Aug.21.2003 at 11:13 AM
David W’s comment is:

In defense of elitism, I've always believed that you tend to get what you pay for.

Blah blah blah. My school is better than yours. His is better than mine. The money doesn't matter. University of Cincinnati and Syracuse consistently produce great designers. I always meet great designers from schools I have never heard of and plenty of bad designers from top schools.

What matters is having passionate, talented and experienced faculty and they are spread out across the country and the world. Schools also can definitely help with a network of faculty and alumni that can get you in the door or even hire you.

Design schools (opposed to art schools) offer a kind of concentration that you can't get from a broader program.

That is just not true. If you are in good design program, you are in a good design program. Having non-design classes with non-designers is very valuable as well. All of your design inspiration should not come from design. Learning about other arts, visual or performing, helps you learn about design.

On Aug.21.2003 at 11:13 AM
Lee’s comment is:

I got my design education way back in a relatively good school in Sydney. The design course offered at COFA

was a collaboration between "state-run university" (UNSW) and the art college itself. COFA had already established firm roots in fine arts education. I was part of the 2nd year "pioneering batch of design students". Simple - COFA academics (mostly fine art bg) teach, we learn and get a degree with a UNSW chop on it at the end if and when we grad. We used to joke about the kids from Billy Blue. As the course/curriculum was still new (2nd yr), we were guniea-piggish as students - picking up a lot of things but mostly indirectly (a personal opinion). There was about 40+ in my class - half of them good and the half not-so-good. I think i was somewhere in the middle. It took 4 years (5 for me as i got slightly distracted along the way) to graduate. Flipping through our graduating annual, you'll notice that the half /half ratio i mentioned had not shifted much over the 4 years.

Having a good education, or more importantly - a good mentor, will definitely give you a head start over others. What you do with that head-start is another story. Raw talent helps a great big deal. Hard work can compensate for the lack of, in some cases. With the current climate assocciated with the creative industry in general, i find it quite difficult to justify a "$60,000" design education fee. That's a huge investment that will take a while to reap returns. But then again, you might be that talented or lucky. A good-enough education, adequate talent and the first few years in a good design company with a good senior/mentor will give you the same end result or better. My first brochure in paid employment was a disaster - "How do i separate colours?" Disclaimer: That was 9 years ago. I have read a little about the Tomato Huddersfield? design-cum-pro education initiative. From what little i have read, that would have been very attractive if offered when i started out. A classmate and friend of mine, for his mandatory pro internship, landed himself in one of the best creative shops in Australia back then. As a consequence, he had a big leap over the rest of us, especially in the "html web" arena. Although i haven't seen his work since school days, he has progressed rapidly and i have heard that he is still doing very well. Tim! You hear me?

Fast forward to present. I am now fortunate/unfortunate to be in a employer position. Fresh design graduates apply for vacancies every so often. The ones from the more established institute in my area have, in the past, asked for a lot more in their starting package (unjustified in many cases) and are generally percieved to have stars in their eyes. However, times are tough and i believe this has changed.

I once brought onboard a young lad that dabbled in a little design education but never finished it. His portfolio was not great but i saw talent that could be nurtured, enthusiam and, most importantly, a great attitude. I was, and still am, very happy to have him as part of our team.

These are a few points i'd like to share about me, as an employer, receiving job applications (mostly through emails):

1. I take that 3 minutes more to look and read an application sent through snail mail over email. People tend to be more eloquent and careful on ink. Most email applications read like spam.

2. I almost immediately delete email applications with "no subject" as Subject. I don't bother with those that have kindly cc-ed me, along with 200 others, in their email applications. I laugh at those that read - "Design Revolution - I am the Holy Grail" (you don't have to shout. Your work will).

3. A young art director from a competitor that had just folded, once applied for a job. He asked for a salary that was equal to 3 of my finest AND a 25% share in the business. I was dumbfounded. His work was only competent. But then again, he was an "interactive dude in the new economy".

4. 9-10 fresh portfolios nowadays are too trendy for my taste (subjective).

5. It's not about your cert. It's about your book. How good is the work - before, after, now and the future? And, will having you onboard equal ROI?

-- Btw, congrats to Amin and posse on SpeakUp's rapid progress and popularity.

O.k. I'm done.

Thanks for the space.


On Aug.21.2003 at 11:32 AM
jumpingcow’s comment is:

i'm in a unique position at my agency - only 3 years out of school myself, but i'm in charge of freelancer submissions here. i create the shortlists of talent that my CD approves for each job.

echoing the thoughts of some others here, i've seen great books from West Podunk U. and Little Sisters Of The Poor State, and books so bad i've had to laminate them (to prevent the stink) from 5-figure-a-year "instututes," although PC and Creative Circus are usually consistently good.

resumes are just a placeholder. great books land great jobs. no, check that, the thinking that goes into a great book lands a great job.

personally, i've experienced quite a bit of snobbery from peers due to my "bargain basement" degree (penn state).

kinda off the topic, but as far as things that help you get jobs go, we ask all our interviewees if they subscribe to Archive.

On Aug.21.2003 at 12:23 PM
Tom’s comment is:

Just curious if anyone knows who of the design heroes we discuss and interview actually were institutionalized?

On Aug.21.2003 at 02:23 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>actually were institutionalized?

Like in a nut-house?

I'm sure Chantry was. Just kidding Art — if you happen to be reading.

On Aug.21.2003 at 02:26 PM
Patrick’s comment is:

I think it all boils down to getting your first job. If you have no experience, your schooling (including your portfolio of school projects, your knowledge and resulting attitude) is all an employer can judge you by. And the better your education, the better the first job you can get, the better your career starts. From there on out it's all exprience and portfolio.

That said, I think it's that first job that makes the most difference in how you develop into a working professional. Whether from a State U or an art school, there is so much still to learn from your first boss. I'd venture to say it's more important to get a job working for someone great than learning the basic school curriculum from someone great. If you can get that job, of course.

I went to a state school (U. of Georgia) that had a strong design department. You spend the first two years in basic art classes, than apply to the design program for the last two years. Only about 20 were let in, twice a year. One thing that was invaluable is that they required a summer internship of some kind to get experience (with some placement assistance). After graduating, I ended up with a full-time job at the same firm I interned at.

On Aug.21.2003 at 02:39 PM
tim’s comment is:

This has been a very interesting discussion and the responses are absolutely wonderful. A real pleasure to read.

On Aug.21.2003 at 03:03 PM
Tracy’s comment is:

Are great designers made (from education) or born? (enabling them to be great regardless?)

I think it's both.

I think there's alot to be said for going to a great school and having someone mentor you and help focus your natural creativity...to help you begin to think conceptually...beyond the obvious. Afterall, graphic design is a way of seeing, of understanding and translating... and a certain amount of this can be taught... but there has to be a deeper passion for graphic design for you to be able to push yourself into being great...and that's what you're born with...that drive that compels you to keep going forward after you see someone else's work that makes you feel inadequate...

I've always been told that a high brow school may get your foot in the door faster, but ultimately it's your book and personality that will get you a spot at the dinner table...and many of you have confirmed that.

That said, I think it's that first job that makes the most difference in how you develop into a working professional.

So true. I almost went to Portfolio Center.

5 years ago, I graduated from the little local 4-year university with an Art Studio degree (they didn't offer a formal design degree...but did have a handfull of graphic design courses..so I took 'em all.) I had landed an internship that turned into a FT job at a local ad agency. The CD there had just come from DDB in Dallas and told me about PC and how I should seriously look at going, then they hired a PC graduate as a copywriter (Travis Sharp... maybe some of you PC grads know him.) And the experiences he talked about having had there made me sooo envious... I totally felt like he was more prepared to hit the ground running and he was extremely talented. So I was convinced. Atlanta, here I come! Then I got the applications and quickly realized that paying the tuitition to go to PC without selling a few organs was going to be really tough for me. So where did that leave me? Intimidated? Yes. Doomed? Hell NO! my only option was to make it happen for myself...thus leading me down the road I hope to always be on of continuing design self-education. And Speak Up is one of my favorite textbooks!

I live in a small design community and have hopped around and worked at the "larger" firms in town and worked alongside people that went to larger, better schools... But it was because I wanted it bad enough to improve myself and can admit that sometimes the person beside me is better than me... and now, rather than getting all intimidated, I ask questions and see what I can learn from them... I think one of the most important things is to remain teachable.

So, here's to Travis!

On Aug.21.2003 at 03:08 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Good thread indeed. I went to college in Mexico, so that's almost worse than a no name state school in Dinkyland. I can safely say that only 5% of my teachers were any good, my classmates... God, my classmates were a joke, 2-3 semi-decent designers but that's about it; no competitive drive, no aspirations to learn more, hell, no sense of design history at all. I have to admit it took me two years of college to realize that this design thing wasn't that bad and then the madness and obsesiveness began. I'm getting off track here.

So, coming from a no name, non-us college I only had my portfolio which at the time I thought kicked major ass (looking back it did not) and my delightful mexican charm to get me a job here. Apparently it worked, I had little confidence that my education would get me a job so I worked harder on expressing my ways of thinking and always saying how much design meant to me. And the mexican charm was invaluable.

Oh, and my tuition was fucking expensive. Plus, they charged like $200 for parking privileges, plus the cafeteria food sucked, plus the basketball team sucked, plus they were all snobby rich kids. I had a great time.

On Aug.21.2003 at 03:25 PM
vibranium’s comment is:

I went to a sub-mexican school...a 2 year A.S. program at an Orlando (FL) Community College.

Of course I am very proud.

Given Mr. B's hiring philosophy...my resume is on it's way...

I agree with whoever said 'it's what you make it' - so very true.

On Aug.21.2003 at 03:41 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

I actually got a job offer from a solid firm shortly before I went to Portfolio Center, and I wondered for awhile how things would be had I taken it.

Probably pretty good. And in some ways, probably better than they are now, considering finances and whatever else. At least I knew some people in the city where I got this offer, as opposed to coming to a place where I knew nobody.

But I also think taking the job would have been more short-term satisfaction because when I got to PC, I realized how badly I needed some of the education. I also started seeing just how many options there were out there, along with seeing things in a totally different light.

In the end, I expanded on and fleshed out a lot of my ideals, became much more optimistic, had a stronger work ethic, knew what made for "good" vs. "bad" design, and all sorts of good stuff. Its safe to say that without PC, I'd never be where I am now...not even close.

Although student loan payments have prevented me from getting the Harley I've wanted for the past 14 years, and will likely continue getting in my way for the next 5 or so, its still worth it.

On Aug.21.2003 at 04:02 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

I think one of the most important things is to remain teachable.

Spot on.

On Aug.21.2003 at 04:03 PM
Cahill’s comment is:

Well you all seem very versed in the world of design academics, so I offer a question. I am currently a Senior at my high school, and I am stuck on the decision of what school to attend. I am currently thinking either RIT, MCAD, MICA, and the two in-state universities. My question isn't exactly what choice to make, but rather what would be the important factors to include in the decision? Most private design schools alot of money, but is that a sacrifice worth making? Is there really any advantage to going to a private school?

Right now I really would like to go to MCAD simply because it would be straight design for 4 years, but the more sensible choice to me is RIT, where I can take more than just art and specialize in other interests such as business and IT. I'm really glad this topic came up because I'm in quite a bind!!!

On Aug.21.2003 at 04:50 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Cahill -- don't do it. Study to become a corporate tax attorney or something. Or better yet, move to Hollywood and try to get into movies. Really. It's much more money and much less stress.

On Aug.21.2003 at 05:00 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

Very supportive, Tan!

I'd suggest only going to a strictly-arts school if you know you are destined for that realm. I really value my undergrad years because I was exposed to many things, one of them being design (not as part of the curriculum) which ultimately led to my career. If you know this is what you want to do, congratulations on figuring it out so early in your life. Follow the dream, dude.

On Aug.21.2003 at 06:29 PM
David E.’s comment is:

is it true that students who attended the higher-priced schools are more egotistical and think they are the best thing since sliced bread or David Carson?

Carson never studied design anywhere. Just some trivia for y'all.

On Aug.21.2003 at 07:29 PM
marian’s comment is:

Well, I'm one of the uneducated ... OK, not quite: my education consisted of 10 years typesetting books (including work with Robert Bringhurst). In retrospect, I wish I'd gone to school, at least my first few years in business might not have been quite so hard.

As a former employer, although we almost never had positions available, the few times we did (and the times we did "informational interviews") there are 2 main things I based my evaluation on: portfolio and intelligence. Being able to articulate your thoughts and express yourself, especially in writing, is huge. I'm with Lee on those email applications. People who got through my door usually got there by writing to me in a real voice, with something to say--and they gave some indication that they knew what I was about.

I'm probably brutal in a portfolio review because I'm not good at giving feedback unless I'm really wowed (and I only was about twice, though we didn't get a lot of people coming by). But I did ask a lot of questions about what kinds of things they learned in school and I can't say I was terribly impressed. But Vancouver's kindof a backwater, and I don't think our schools are very good. That includes Emily Carr, IMHO, so you ECIAD grads can go ahead and get all huffy at me if you like. But I have to say that I was instantly suspicious of anyone coming out of the multitude of 1-year McPrograms (and if I knew that beforehand I'd be unlikely to meet with them). If someone had called me up and told me they'd come from RISD I'd have looked at them for sure, but after that, they'd be judged on the same criteria as everyone else.

My beau was teaching design drawing at ECIAD for a while and he structured his class as though he was a client and the students' assignments were contracted work. He was at times quite hard on them, by the sound of it, but i thought it was a great preparation for the real world. But ultimately he came under a lot of criticism for being too hard, and "mean." Some of his students thought-- and still think--he was the best teacher they ever had, but there is a commodification of the education system that's happening throughout institutions across North America. The attitude is "I paid to be here, it's up to the teacher to make sure I come out with the knowledge and the good grade."

My mother started to run across this 15 years ago teaching Sociology in University. Many students think that they will be fed the information to make them successful, and when they are asked to think, or come up with their own ideas, or are criticised, they complain to the dean, or give a bad evaluation to the teacher and often the teacher is reprimanded or forced to give a higher grade.

Because of this, and other restrictions on behaviour and comportment, it seems that a lot of what education--especially art/design education--used to be about, which is discussion, disagreement, argument, wacky ideas, irreverence, fantasy and all that other stuff that doesn't fit so well into a perscribed curriculum, is no longer available to the student. My beau was just discussing this the other day with one of the drawing teachers, who said that the days of being able to go out for beers with a class and really have it out over ideas and theories is gone, because god forbid, the teacher might say something provocative (or swear!) and next thing you know s/he's up against a tribunal. (Not to mention the whole drinking thing.)

I also remember hearing, from a silkscreening instructor, about 2 Emily Carr students who went into the studio and printed every night, and plastered the halls with their one- and two-colour silkscreens. They were irreverent and funny and sometimes mildly offensive (he, the instructor had collected them all), and the students were considered pariahs in the administrative establishment! They littered the halls! When one of them recieved a yellow-slip for being late for class he blew it up, and printed it at poster size and plastered it all over the school. Can you believe most teachers were furious? And this is a fucking so-called art school? thankfully those 2 students went on to enjoy some success in the art world (I have, alas, forgotten their names), and probably some day the very institution that reviled them will celebrate them as illustrious alumni.

All this, btw, is just from talking to educators from Universities and colleges in a wide variety of fields. But it sounds like more than ever no matter where you get your education it's going to be a combination of great teachers who don't give a fuck about the establishment, luck to be with a group of intelligent and driven co-students, and your own insatiable desire to learn.

ALSO, the thing that has always surprised me is how few design students have a real grasp of print. If I ran a design school I'd spend a year on printing, prepress and production for print ... and even now if there were a good course on that, I'd sign up for it today, 'cause I still get into the pressroom and go "what the fuck?..."

Oh shit, did I get all ranty? Sorry 'bout that.

On Aug.21.2003 at 07:39 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Carson never studied design anywhere.

Hence the intended irony of my snarky commentary.

On Aug.21.2003 at 08:36 PM
Chris’s comment is:

I employ 4 people currently (and I started as a designer, hey, I am still a designer but now my primary function is to run the biz)...

So anyways, what do I look for? Definately strong people skills and character traits. I look for people who can communicate well, honestly, I look for the people who I can take to meetings with clients and feel confident they'll be able to handle the client when I hand it off to them (the project and the client).

I also look for a stellar design portfolio, however I think that designing is secondary to being able to handle the position. If you can make the client happy, the design is secondary to however you accomplish that.

That's not to say design isn't important!!! It is very important.


On Aug.21.2003 at 10:10 PM
Sam’s comment is:

Cahill, I second Jon's advice to consider the opportunity of a more rounded, filled-out education. 12 years later and I am kicking myself still for not realizing how much stuff is available to learn, or at least be exposed to, in college. I've found in work that anything you know, whether it's typography or grammar or Shakespeare or the dialects of the Sub-Sahara, will one day be relevant to the work you do, in ways you can never predict or expect. It's especially true in design because design is that kind of meta-profession that inserts itself into all other fields. The more you know, the more you know and the more you'll have to talk about with the broadest range of people.

On Aug.21.2003 at 10:15 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Cahill - I went to RIT and spent a good amount of time afterwards un-learning what i picked up in the design department. In retrospect, RIT strikes me as more the vocational training of design "professionals" than the development of passionate designers.

They do have a world-class design and printing collection/library though: Lester Beal's estate was acquired when I was there.

As for other factors in deciding which school to attend -- well, only you know what you need. Have the courage to listen to yourself.

On Aug.22.2003 at 12:20 AM
Keith Tam’s comment is:

Thanks, Marian, for your comments on Emily Carr. I graduated from there, thank you very much ;-) Just kidding!

I think Emily Carr suffers from being a somewhat well-known school (at least in Canada). From my observations at grad shows, it's tending to attract people who want to become trendy designers. Having been through the system myself, though, I can attest that Emily Carr does offer a very well-rounded design education. It is a process school, so it might not produce the flashiest (job-ready) portfolios around, but most work produced, IMHO, is honest and conceptually sound. One area it seems to be lacking is real-world technical skills, for example software and especially typographic skills. I must admit I picked up the nitty-gritty of graphic design and typography before I went to Emily Carr, in part-time jobs and also after I graduated.

I went straight to the University of Reading in the UK after I graduated from Emily Carr to do an MA in Typeface Design. A very obscured subject, I know. I did it not because I wanted to earn more money after it, but I just love type and wanted to be there to be immersed in it. I did not shop around, at all. It was either Reading or no grad school. It was an amazing experience. There is nothing glamourous about the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication. It's housed in a really run-down former World War II hospital, and the facilities are nothing to brag about. It proofed to be a great complement to Emily Carr. Reading has a completely different approach from Emily Carr in that it sees design (and more importantly typography) as more of an objective means to communicate, rather than an artistic, expressive endeavor. I was exposed to type history, techniques, amazing resources and typographic research. I learned a lot! I even had a chance to study and handle genuine copies of books printed by Robert Estienne, Nicholas Jenson, John Baskerville, Aldus Manutius, etc.! Now which school can give you that? More importantly, I learned how to make a typeface and learned to see and judge type designs. And I improved my writing and research skills. There is still room to improve, but I was very satisfied with it.

So what am I doing right now after all that, you ask, one year after I graduated from Reading. I'm running a design business, a one-man band. I did applying to several design jobs, but nothing came of them. I'm not really interested in working for a design firm anyway. I want to focus more of typography and type design, really. My business seems to be finally moving into the right direction. Did my educational background help me? I can't say, but probably not, at least not by much. Everyone designer in Canada knows about Emily Carr. But hardly anyone in graphic design have even heard of Reading, however well-known it is in the typographic circle. Who cares if you have a Master's in Type Design?! I get blank stares when I mention I design typefaces. Can't you download fonts for free anyway? What, you have to design typefaces?! I'll be starting to teach one typography course at Emily Carr next month though, and yes, my Master's did help me there.

School themselves don't make good designers. Passion and enthusiasm do, but not without hard work. Trendiness doesn't make good designers either. Well, in fact I'm still trying to find out what 'good design' really means.

Oh, for those of you from the other side of the border, Emily Carr is a provincial institution (your equivalent of a state-owned college, I guess), and U of Reading is also a government-run university. Though I had to pay 'big quids' to get into it as an international student.

On Aug.22.2003 at 12:23 AM
Cahill’s comment is:

>Cahill -- don't do it. Study to become a corporate tax attorney or something. Or better yet, move to Hollywood and try to get into movies. Really. It's much more money and much less stress.

Haha well then :D I've always taken into consideration the low amount of pay of being in the design business, which is why I think it is more responsible to goto a school that has more than strictly graphic design. I've thought about design business management, much like what Chris currently does, which I think I would really enjoy because I would always like to be in some way connected to the world of graphic design in one form or another. I would also consider being a college professor or possibly high school art teacher. The former would take somewhere around 7 years of school among other requirements, but I don't know why but for some reason I love teaching people. Hmm...maybe I should pursue project management or something ^_^x Choices are endless out of high school, I know I'm going to miss this luxury soon enough.

Kingsley, although RIT doesn't maintain a passionate design school, do the other opportunities as the school advocate considering it as a school possibility?

On Aug.22.2003 at 07:51 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>Right now I really would like to go to MCAD simply because it would be straight design for 4 years,

Cahill, as opposed to Sam's approach which is very valid and makes a lot of sense I myself would go for the design intensive programs like MCAD or RISD or Pratt. Looking back at my 4 years of college in Mexico (which is nothing similar to the programs run here) I wish... no, I would kill, to have had a better exposure to more topics about graphic design during that time. Since I have gotten out of school I have had to do a lot of catching up, because I had some senseless classes at college that are worth shit to my profession right now, where instead I could have been learning about design-related topics. To this solution I would offer complementing it with extra (yes, that would be on your free time) studying on some of the topics Sam mentioned — grammar, shakespeare and whatnot. Four years of design is not a bad deal if you ask me.

On Aug.22.2003 at 08:30 AM
Adrian’s comment is:

Another bit of advice when looking at schools:

I know it's been said it all comes down to the professors, and it really does. Look at who will be your professors, your foundation professors and ones that you will have the most contact with. Ask to see where they worked, what they have done and where they went to school.

Interview them, because they are going to have the most influence for the next couple of years.

I recieved my MFA two years ago (yes I went back for more school) and I am glad I went when I did. After my first year the faculty was starting to change and now I think a few professors are still there from when I started. Many of the new professors are recent graduates, some have very, very little professional experience.

So, my advice to anyone who is looking to go to any school is, get to know who will be teaching/guiding you for the next two-four years. Make sure they are the exact people you want teaching you.

On Aug.22.2003 at 08:32 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Of course I was kidding. You have a good attitude.

Listen, the fact that you know enough to ask these questions in this forum is already impressive. It's more than I did at your age.

You probably hear this alot Cahill, but you're still really young. Trust me on this: life never turns out exactly the way you think it will, and you have lots to discover about yourself and the profession you think you want. There are countless numbers of graphic design sub-specialties, from book design to UI design to design management. They're all equally interesting, challenging, and worthwhile. Find a school that can show you many paths to all of these places.

...but you know, corporate tax attorneys can make $500K+/year w/i just a couple of years out of law school......

On Aug.22.2003 at 08:40 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Cahill, if you are considering MCAD, you may also want to consider CVA: http://cva.edu/

Both are good schools. MCAD is one of the few schools around that has seemed to seriously focus on non-print curriculums.

I think everyone summed up the pros and cons of an art school vs. a general school. In hingsight, the advice I'd offer is go to a state school with a good art program (less $$$...large student debt REALLY sucks later in life ;o) and take 5 years. Take as MANY art classes as you can--if for no other reason than you'll miss being able to do that once you graduate. Accesorize your design education with classes in business and marketing or really whatever other interests you have.

I've also noticed that some schools really focus on the theories of graphic design, while others really focus on practical applications of graphic design.

Some employers like to see student work that is purely theory based and experimental. Others prefer seeing work that is more applicable to real world jobs. Neither is right/wrong.

On Aug.22.2003 at 08:46 AM
graham’s comment is:

from pretty early on i knew i wanted to do something that involved drawing of some kind, and probably drawing letters. my school books were usually covered in band logos and i loved record sleeves, book jackets, title sequences . . . different place and time, i know (london, 20 odd years ago), but at school ('a' levels, between 16 and 18) there was a graphic design course/exam. i was rejected (twice) from a foundation course and worked in record shops, going to interviews for artworking/paste up at least twice a week for 2 or 3 years.

i finally got a job operating a pmt camera (they don't exist anymore-i think i bought the last bottle of developer in london about three years ago), and then worked in a very small design place near where i was living in london. i was rubbish-this was when, if you needed a circle, you used a compass and a rotring and some cs10 board, and about a day later you might have a reasonably clean arc (if you were lucky).

i applied again to a foundation course-i got a reserve place, meaning if anyone dropped out i'd get in. i came close to being sacked from the design place-i left before it happened to start a bit of freelance. a week before term started i got a call-a place on the course.

honestly, going to college is the fourth best thing i've done (after meeting the missus, kids and tomato).

i don't really know what courses are like in the u.s.-but if you have the chance, go to college. maybe in europe.

On Aug.22.2003 at 09:04 AM
Cahill’s comment is:

Obviously this isn't an easy topic, and that is to be expected! I think at the moment it comes down to two schools, MCAD and RIT. Choose MCAD and enjoy graphic design for 4 years and come out with a good degree. Choose RIT and indulge in other interests while getting a similar degree, but probably similar only on paper. RIT is more sensible, but MCAD is something I want to do for the rest of my life. And since when have designers been sensible?

I guess I'll just have to vist both and see which one fits me more.

On Aug.22.2003 at 09:26 AM
Sam’s comment is:

To extend what Adrian said about the quality of professors, my experience at Portfolio School [sic] was that my fellow students were just as important and valuable (and maddening and competitive and confusing and everything else) to my experience as the teachers.

Also, I like Tracy's question of whether designers are born or made. I am definitely not a born designer--I came to it late in life, struggle with the basics all the time, and make all the mistakes that natural born designers seem to convert into inspirational work. They got some green grass over there on the natural-born side.

On Aug.22.2003 at 09:43 AM
marian’s comment is:

Keith Tam, now I'm impressed. I'm impressed that you went to Reading (do you know Shelley Gruendler?), and I'm impressed that you went to that length to learn about a subject that interested you. That's the kind of thing that, seen on a resume or letter of introduction, would have got me as a former employer to say, "Holy shit, we have to look at this guy."

Typography is indeed one of the skills I've noticed lacking in Emily Carr students, and I've had arguments with people about this, so it's interesting to hear you say that.

On Aug.22.2003 at 09:43 AM
Paul’s comment is:

Cahill, I think Darrel's advice about a state school is really sound, but for a slightly different reason.

The world of design is constantly changing. There were people only a generation ago whose entire careers consisted of typesetting: these craftspeople have been almost completely supplanted by the computer tools graphic designers currently wield. Granted, technical skills are not the primary focus of most art schools (I can't speak for the ones you are considering), but a broad cultural literacy is one of the most valuable assets you can have as a thinker, and this will see you through any kind of technological changes that the future may throw at you as a designer.

My advice would be to find a good liberal arts program for at least your first two years, then do studio art/design classes for the next 2 to 3. You'll learn how to write, which is really about organizing your thoughts, and you'll be exposed to more of the options available to you beyond design, which are always worth exploring, even if you feel you already know your path. Best of luck to you!

On Aug.22.2003 at 11:08 AM
Cahill’s comment is:

Paul, that is some really great advice, in fact that has been what was poking the back of my brain about going to a liberal arts school with a strong arts program. Thank you all for the very crucial advice on such a serious topic, it means alot to get advice from people who have lived what I am thinking about. Believe me I will be carrying all this advice in my mind when I walk onto the campus's of both schools.

On Aug.22.2003 at 11:36 AM
Michael B.’s comment is:

[A] broad cultural literacy is one of the most valuable assets you can have as a thinker, and this will see you through any kind of technological changes that the future may throw at you as a designer.

Paul, that is absolutely right. Well said. Cahill, listen to Paul.

On Aug.22.2003 at 11:53 AM
rebecca’s comment is:

Marian, where can I sign up for your typesetting class? I need it bad today.

On Aug.22.2003 at 11:59 AM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

I went to Northeastern University in Boston to study sports medicine. It's a very big school, so I figured if I wanted to study something else I could change within the school. Two years in and lots of taped ankles later I left the program. I studied philosophy and the environment.

I used a Mac since my father got a Lisa in the 80's and did art and "computer graphics" all through high school and my first few years at college. Then my friend that was in the design program asked since I didn't know what I wanted to do but designed on the side, why I didn't do graphic design.

I'm embarrassed to say, but I didn't know what that was then. No idea. The next semester I entered the art department and graduated three years later with a degree in Graphic Design. The art department was small, we only had three full time professors but they were rather accomplished in their own right. Basel School of Design and Yale.

I loved it. Loved it. But the students sucked. I'm not tooting my own horn but by the end of the program it was my friend and I that were rockin' and that's it. Like Armin mentioned above, no drive no nothing. Kids were placing JPEGS in Quark documents in their last year of study. Hmmm... The school was neither tech or theory based. Kinda watered down versions of both.

It's what you put in yes and I did that. But man was is kinda sucky to just hang with professors and one friend. Sure there was the AGIA stuff and my job at Cosmic Blender but jeez. I thought of switching to Mass Art or something. In the end I stayed.

What's my point? For some reason I wished I went to a pure design or art school just for the feedback and competition. Then again, perhaps I wouldn't be me today.

I don't what school one attends matters. You matter.

On Aug.22.2003 at 12:00 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

I don't what school one attends matters

I should have paid attention in English class. I meant to say, "I don't think it matters what school one attends."

Agreed, Michael B. - Paul, well put. That's the key right there. Ideas are what matter. Technology is always in flux and anyone can learn that stuff.

On Aug.22.2003 at 12:06 PM
kia’s comment is:

I started out my design career without a design degree. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and built my portfolio while I was working. I have a bachelor's in molecular biology. It raised a couple of eyebrows and probably resulted in a few resumes being thrown away when I couldn't send my book over, but I think I got my jobs on the strength of my portfolio.

When I was in a position that required me to hire designers, a lot of times I did look at the school they went to if they didn't have a lot of experience. Some schools teach graphic design as "how to operate Photoshop and Quark". I didn't hire those people very often.

In 2000 I decided to go back to school at Art Center in photography, not design, but finally they are allowing students to cross over into other majors so I'm taking classes in the design dept as well. I'm one term from graduating with a BFA in photography, which probably won't help me get a design job any more than the molecular bio degree did, but my portfolio is stronger than it ever would have been without going back to school.

By the way, Eric, tuition at Art Center is now $11,500 a term and it's going up again in 2004. Thank god for scholarships. It was $8500 when I started. I would seriously question why anyone would pay $92k+ for a design degree anymore, but there you have it.

Anyway, I definitely see a difference in my work. I think it's stronger, and having lots of talented people around me has raised the bar for what I feel is "good" work. There's also undeniably an alumni network. People do hire their buddies, and it's easier to assume somebody's going to be pretty good if you know they got the same education as you did.

Nothing trumps a good portfolio though, and I've seen plenty of my classmates graduate with bad books and look with puzzlement at the piles of rejection letters. Hopefully I won't be one of them!

On Aug.22.2003 at 09:10 PM
kia’s comment is:

Oh yeah.

Those two guys from Emily Carr? They're Kenn Sakurai and Dave O'Regan. We had the same gallery rep in Vancouver. They rock my world.

You can see some of their stuff at poplab.

On Aug.22.2003 at 09:27 PM
Robin’s comment is:

Yes, That Emily Carr grad Kenn Sakurai was notorious at Art School but had garnered quite a following since those days. My graphic design instructors talked about him constantly in a negative way but everywhere I go he seems to have curated gallery shows as well as design work. I recently saw his exhibition here in Los Angeles with Dave O'Regan at an impressive scale gallery. The work is visible at www.esm-artificial.com

On Aug.23.2003 at 06:55 AM
gentry’s comment is:

In regards to the post above, Can you tell me where these fellows are showing in Los Angeles and if they are showing there right now?

On Aug.24.2003 at 04:33 AM
Brad’s comment is:

I saw the above mentioned Kenn Sakurai & Dave O'Reagan exhibition last week at sixspace gallery in Los Angeles. Wonderful, wonderful vibrant and witty works. I believe this past weekend was the last for the exhibition. The gallery space was massive, maybe 2500 square feet and the two of them filled the entire thing with their prints and paintings, it was simply awe-inspiring. I hope they come back soon.

On Aug.24.2003 at 11:45 PM
Javier’s comment is:


long-time reader, first time commenting.

At Korn Design we are toying with the idea of launching a post-degree year long paid internship program, offering one recent grad the opportunity to gain professional experience, refine their portfolios, and get coaching on their interview skills. Kind of like a junior design position with a clear end date that would serve as a launch pad for a design career. Would any of you have found that attractive as an opportunity right out of school?

On Aug.31.2003 at 01:34 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

I don't get the Kenn Sakurai & Dave O'Reagan work. Maybe that's because I'm a moron.


That sounds like an interesting idea, I'm sure plenty of students would take an interest. Sort of an invitation to get "used" for experience, but it seems like your plan could manage that well--i.e., you're not paying too much. There needs to be a mentorship-type program like that in more places.

On Sep.01.2003 at 03:48 AM
Jennifer’s comment is:

You have to love their work. I certainly did. Ooops, what's this all about?

"I don't get the Kenn Sakurai & Dave O'Reagan work. Maybe that's because I'm a moron."

Just reacting to the above comment.

On Oct.18.2003 at 02:36 PM
jamey’s comment is:

I'd like to reinvigorate this discussion, if I can.

After meandering through the comment log, I'm left feeling frustrated that the ephemeral cost-to-value question seems paramount to interrogating the critical role of design education: How is design education changing in response to new economic models, new information technologies, and a expanded cultural awareness of design? What constitutes a effective design curriculum amidst these shifts? What pedagogical approaches (schools?) are helping young designers become not JUST skilled makers/technicians, able to create solutions across media, but agile thinkers, able to generate new questions through design?

On Oct.22.2003 at 09:42 PM
juniper’s comment is:


-wow, that word must have cost at least 10 bucks and a university degree. designers can only think amongst themselves and it's an understood idea. they cannot work well with digital, manual, analog and lithography pinters as they only learn how to do things such as image separations like cmyk and rgb. it's not that simple unfortunatel when actually going out and getting designed work printed. this is why when you look at mock ups and business cards of esigners, they are all laser printed or bubble jet output. designers haven't a clue how to make their designs work out after they leave their computers. it's sad, but true.

On Oct.24.2003 at 09:59 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> this is why when you look at mock ups and business cards of esigners, they are all laser printed or bubble jet output.

Um, offseting a mock up for a business card can be costly. And, it's a mock up, as in I'm mocking it up so you can see how the hell I want it to look in the end, not sure what you expect from mock ups.

> designers haven't a clue how to make their designs work out after they leave their computers. it's sad, but true.

I have a feeling that you are a pre-press (or press) person, so I can sense your frustration. But that is a very false generalization. Designers, when they start out, have no clue how to get a project from file to final shipping, that's why they need to be educated and after a few years they start learning and in the end they can know as much as printers.

On Oct.25.2003 at 09:29 AM
nancy mazzei’s comment is:

thanks to Graham. The first person I met when I graduated was Tibor he said exactly what your saying While it was 72 hours after graduation and I was seeing double, At the time I wasn’t sure I "understood" where he was coming from but I've come to use the advice he gave me everyday. individuality...outside of the education you have to do your own seeking.

On Oct.31.2003 at 10:22 AM
Senpin Magrohval’s comment is:

"Kenn Sakurai & Dave O'Reagan"

Where are these two from? What is Emily carr and how prestigious is it compared to most other art institutes here in the United States? Are they a big deal here in the USA? Is Emily carr a big deal? Are they as old as Tibor?

On Oct.31.2003 at 08:27 PM
Dean ’s comment is:

>Um, offseting a mock up for a business card can be costly. And, it's a mock up, as in I'm mocking it up so you can see how the hell I want it to look in the end, not sure what you expect from mock ups.

On Nov.01.2003 at 04:42 AM
Dean’s comment is:

By the way,

checked out the above links on

Kenn Sakurai & Dave O'Reagan.

Damn, they are good. Does anyone know if they went to design school or if they are fine artists or both? It looks like they might be Canadian, and Canadians are generally pretty funny folks.

On Nov.01.2003 at 04:50 AM
jonsel’s comment is:

I feel that mock-ups or the final product generally "designed' by a designer on computer looks nothing like the final product after it goes to press.

Like Armin said, this is something you learn. Frankly, it only takes one press run to figure out that what you see on screen and the comp off your Fiery/Canon will not match the final printed piece. It is our job to understand this and properly convey it to our clients so they aren't shocked when the slick comp is quite a bit different from the uncoated paper stock used on press.

We've all learned this from some minor and major mistakes. I think it is unrealistic to expect designers to instantly have the knowledge and experience of a pressman or a 10-year veteran designer. We screw up, we learn, and we move on.

My school only taught production during the first and second quarters, and it still focused on rubylith and handmade mechanicals. This was 1994 even! I hope nowadays schools have at least one production class to explain the difference between Pantone and CMYK and RGB at least!

On Nov.01.2003 at 11:07 AM
The HULK’s comment is:

Hey, Lets's face it, graphic designers have very little knowledge of how printing their own design work , works. I doubt that one jon gives them a tip off on what went wrong. I've worked pre-press at a printing company for years and can't believe how many designers come in with their files and look at the end result and throw all their blame our way. These hot-shots really have no clue. And I've seen it get even funnier when they get t-shirts made or posters printed without bleeds, proper crop marks, or even the understanding of CMYK. All a designer needs and owns is their computer, that's why you all talk about your mac's all day long...go beyond what's in front of your face..what happens after you design? maybe some of you should buy more gear and see if you can actually finish a job off yourselves and learn a thing or two. I bet a designer couldn't even get images ready for a 2-color letterpress job.

On Nov.01.2003 at 02:22 PM
jamey’s comment is:


On Nov.01.2003 at 06:13 PM
surts’s comment is:

I doubt that one jon gives them a tip off on what went wrong.

Damn those Jon's for keeping all the knowledge to themselves. sigh - it's called collaboration

On Nov.01.2003 at 06:23 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Can we please go back to a helpful conversation?

Um, the Hulk, did you ever do anything to educate designers on their mistakes? It's not a rhetorical question, I ask because the printers I prefer working with are the ones who take the time to explain what I can do to make my files better for final reproduction. My sense is you rolled your eyes and cursed Apple... as helpful to designers as your pseudonym.

On Nov.01.2003 at 06:30 PM
Jill’s comment is:

If you aren't coordinating the print production, try to find out who your client has hired to print the piece. This way you can work with the printer to ensure the final piece looks the way you, the client, everyone hopes.

And, HULK...how 'bout tempering your screed with a little of the Bill Bixby in you? This is an important issue facing recent grads. Until design programs incorporate production fundamentals into their curriculums, designers will have to learn about this from people like you. You can handle us "hot-shots"--c'mon--you're the HULK!

On Nov.01.2003 at 07:41 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

Damn those Jon's for keeping all the knowledge to themselves.

How I wish I even had the knowledge to keep to myself! Damn me indeed.

On Nov.01.2003 at 10:18 PM
THE HULK’s comment is:


On Nov.07.2003 at 03:49 AM
j-man’s comment is:

I just rented the Hulk on dvd the other day, and was pleasantly surprised. The CG was a little predictable but the story was quite riveting. two thumbs up.

On Nov.10.2003 at 10:38 PM
Marsha’s comment is:

Hi, I am currently doing my finals project for InDesign and am working toward my AAs in Computer Grapic Design (for print) I worked my back & wrists to the point of damage doing 4 color silkscreen and also helped with the 2 color off set press. I LOVE design..always have an vocational Rehab is sending me to school to get me the book learning I need to be qualified to design and hand the next generation of manual laborers the projects to do. I'm 46 yrs young so I know that I'm in competeing in a youth market for work....Have any of you used Adobe InDesign? cool program but...worth the $$ for my home computer?

On Nov.26.2004 at 05:11 PM
Phil Belair’s comment is:

Might I suggest checking into academicsuperstore.com

by sending them a scan of your student I.D., you will be able to pick up the entire Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Go Live, and Acrobate Professional) for $365.95

If you are just looking for InDesign, it's $175

I highly suggest getting the full suite if you can swing it and your computer can handle it.

On Jan.24.2005 at 07:21 PM
Ron Coviks’s comment is:

Not bad programs.

On Jan.25.2005 at 08:57 PM
Mark’s comment is:

I was reading this thread for grins and it seems someone has picked it up and brushed it off so I'll comment.

I don't got no degree� err, I didn't go to college. I started off working as a "typesetter" in '91 on an L300 with a SE30 front end. We had wooden keyboards and had to walk in the snow, uphill to get to the processor� you get the picture. Then, for many years I was stuffed into the "production artist" box and could not escape. This was quite frustrating but paid the bills, especially since I didn't have those nasty student loans. Sorry for the dig, I couldn't help it. I realize not every production person is cut out to be a designer or art director, I have worked with some meat-handed fools. But I persevered, had some natural ability and find myself working as a freelance designer/art director. After 15 years in the industry my education, or lack thereof never comes up. People look at my creative product, the fa�ade of organization I present (and trust me, it is a fa�ade) and the people with whom I work with in the past. Nobody asks about my awards (which I refuse to enter any competitions after working at DDB) or any of that pretentious rot, the just want someone capable who isn't a dick. And I am capable.

On Jan.31.2005 at 12:18 AM
Amber’s comment is:

it seems the question being answered is, "Given the option to attend a non-certified Art & Design institute or an acredited one, which do you choose and which is better.

First things first. They give degrees out with different names because the work involved is different. BA =4years. BFA = 5 years plus written and studio thesis.

I would not have gotten a great inhouse design job without MIAD on my resume. The company i worked for, right out of college, wasn't going to hand over a 100 year old brand to someone with an associate's degree.

One thing not being mentioned here is that BFA programs require reading and writing intensive classes. Essays and engaging critiques seem to be more common in instututes, from what i have seen.

Did I ever question going to MIAD? YES. Is Terry Coffman the antichrist that should be tared and feathered like the short squirly crook he is, absolutely. Did I get what I paid for? Yep.

the school you went to is just like any other employer on your resume. The school let you in, you finished their program and moved on. Given the choice, everyone (admit it) would rather have worked for a company that people know and respect.

Side note: schools are flooding the design job market.

On Feb.04.2005 at 01:54 AM
Mitch’s comment is:

BA =4years. BFA = 5 years plus written and studio thesis.

not true. i am in a 4 year BFA program. tho i do think its reasonably true to say that a BFA degree generally tends to be more studio intensive than a BA, however, the intensity of writing varies dramatically program to program.

On Feb.04.2005 at 09:26 AM
Jessica’s comment is:

I am interested in getting a Masters in Graphic Design. Living in St. Louis and not being able to quit my job has limited my school search to those with e-learning programs. I've been looking at the Savannah College of Art & Design and I'd love to hear opinions of that school, or of any other online Masters programs out there.

On Feb.04.2005 at 04:04 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Is Terry Coffman the antichrist that should be tared and feathered like the short squirly crook he is, absolutely.

Wow, that's harsh. As a MIAD grad I'm familiar with Terry. What did he do to you?

On Feb.04.2005 at 04:12 PM
terry coffman’s comment is:

that is harsh

On Jul.22.2005 at 07:03 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Wow... I don't know how I missed that. Sorry you had to read that Terry.

However� if there was indeed an antichrist and, who knows, it happened to be you, would you consider being "tared and feathered" a real punishment? I mean, we are talking about the antichrist, not a freshman or sorority wannabe. What next — does he have to chug a full keg while being held upside down? Yeah, that sounds about right. Then leave him out naked and stranded in a state road at 1:00 am, that should teach him.

On Jul.23.2005 at 10:23 AM
Maya Drozdz’s comment is:

First things first. They give degrees out with different names because the work involved is different. BA =4years. BFA = 5 years plus written and studio thesis.

That depends on the program and is not necessarily the case. NASAD and the AIGA have a document that describes what's required in programs that offer different degrees [e.g. BFA, BA, AA]. Here are a few relevant excerpts:

Four-Year Professional Degree Programs with Majors in Graphic Design - Within the framework of a four-year undergraduate program, the professional degree with a major in graphic design that meets NASAD standards is intended to prepare students with the knowledge and skills required for a career as a graphic designer. These degrees are usually titled Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design or Bachelor of Graphic Design. The overwhelming majority of credits (at least 65%) are dedicated to design-related course work with at least 25% in graphic design. The remainder are taken in the liberal arts. The program is specialized, rather than broad-based, and designed for students who know they want to become graphic designers.

Four-Year Liberal Arts Programs - Liberal arts programs are the most common undergraduate degree in the United States. They place greater emphasis on general education and lesser emphasis on studio design and visual arts studies than professional degree programs. Normally, 30-45% of the total credits are in art and design, with the remainder being course work across a range of fields. Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science are the usual degree titles.

The AIGA and NASAD do not recognize a four-year liberal arts degree in art or design as adequate preparation for entry as a graphic design professional.

Two-Year Programs in Graphic Design - Community colleges and technical schools offer courses and curricula described as graphic design, commercial art, graphic arts, and visual communication in a two-year program of study. Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Fine Arts are typical degree titles. Effective programs prepare students for: 1) technical support positions in the field of graphic design; and/or 2) transfer to a design program in a four-year institution. communication, and information theories.

It is the position of the AIGA and NASAD that two years of study are insufficient in preparing someone for entry to the field as a designer and that there is a limit to what students graduating from two-year programs can expect in employment in the field.

The full PDF can be downloaded here [first PDF of the three]. You may also want to check out What In the World Is Graphic Design?, an AIGA site geared toward high school students considering studies in the field.

On Jul.23.2005 at 02:31 PM
sheamami’s comment is:

Cool topic. It was great reading it. I have a Liberal Arts degree in two foreign languages and have been out of school for 3 years. I have decided COMPLETELY to go back and study photography. Looking at PC and Creative Circus. Any comments? Too much $$$? I want to be creative with the best of them.

P.S> ARMIN - I had fun reading your descriptions of mexican students. I lived in Puebla and went to UDLA for a year so I totally relate.

On Nov.16.2005 at 04:41 PM