Graphic Design Programs To Consider

clif bar logoGraphic design impacts our lives on a daily basis. You might even call it the daily deluge. It’s a part Facebook and the morning trip to Starbucks, the billboards and ads for the local restaurant or hospital that we absorb on the way to school or work, that afternoon Clif Bar or CocaCola, the FedEx or Amazon package that arrives on our doorsteps, and the movie and TV credits that introduce us to our late-night entertainment. It sets a mood and entices us to try something new.

 Prospective graphic design students have a wealth of college and university programs to choose from across the country. Degrees come in a variety of shapes and sizes, at art colleges, liberal arts colleges, and large research universities. Program titles vary as well, and are not always straightforward. Communication Design, Visual Communications, and Design and Technology are just a few of the programs I found.

amazon-logoSo how do you differentiate between programs and institutions? One tool at your disposal is Graphic Design USA’s 50th anniversary survey about the industry. Just out in October, it’s a good resource for identifying top graphic design colleges. Even better, it also delves into the most influential graphic design firms in the country, as well as favorite graphics projects and logos over the past 50 years. Basically it’s a ton of graphics fun!

 The magazine surveyed 10,000 working design professionals to get their results. Some of the choices aren’t very surprising, but I like the range, from art colleges to some of the country’s top comprehensive institutions. Here are the top 10. I hope you’ll seriously consider the full list as well.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Art Center College of Design

Parsons The New School for Design

Pratt Institute

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Yale School of Art

California College of the Arts (CCA)

SCAD Savannah College of Art and Design

Want more information? I blogged about Graphic Design last year as well; I hope you’ll take a look.

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College Financial Fitness: Why It Matters

money - bills 2An article in the August 13th issue of Forbes magazine highlights colleges in New York and New Jersey that are in need of a financial pick-me-up. Their “quick fix” solution is to set aside a week in June where prospective students can walk on campus with transcripts and SAT in hand, and enroll on the spot, often receiving a financial discount. A speedy admission process immediately raises enrollment numbers and financial coffers. It sounds like it’s all about the money.

So what gives? Called “tuition junkies,” these colleges are heavily reliant upon tuition and fees to make ends meet.  They follow a philosophy – which I’ve never understood – to raise prices along with every other school, but give deep discounts to attract freshmen. Hundreds of schools across the country follow this same addictive behavior. (Clearly our system of financing higher education needs an adjustment, don’t you think?)

Hidden somewhere in this up-and-down yo-yo are the real costs of attending college, something that consumers rarely see. That’s where Forbes stepped in.  They created Forbes College Financial Grades to measure the fiscal reliability and security of over 900 four-year, non-profit colleges across the country. Their research considered balance sheets, operational soundness, admissions yield, and more to try to get a true picture of the financial health and wealth of each college. Fewer than half of the schools they studied ranked an “A” or “B.” And the list of art schools comes up a little short, but here are the results in the top two categories. Keep them in mind when considering the fiscal soundness of your college choices.

Ranking

College

City

74

Cooper Union

NYC

90

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence

113

California  Institute of the Arts

Valencia

133

Cleveland Institute of Art

Cleveland

137

Minneapolis College of Art & Design

Minneapolis

242

Kansas City Art Institute

Kansas City

249

College for Creative Studies

Detroit

254

Art Center College of Design

Pasadena

288

The New School (Parsons)

NYC

309

Ringling College of Art & Design

Sarasota

336

Maryland Institute College of Art & Design

Baltimore

379

Moore College of Art & Design

Philadelphia

 

 

 

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New Design School Rankings

DesignIntelligence 2013 News

DesignIntelligence has come out with their newest list of the top design schools across the country, ranked by those they say know the most; design firms. Just released today, you’ll find a comprehensive list for undergraduate and graduate programs in Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Industrial Design. You can purchase the entire report, but the top five undergraduate programs in each area are listed here. 

If you’re wondering where to start your exploration for art programs, or just looking to expand your search, this is a great place to begin. Enjoy the journey.

Architecture

1. Cornell University

2. Southern California Institute of Architecture

3. Rice University

4. Syracuse University

5. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Interior Design

1. Savannah College of Art and Design

2. University of Cincinnati

2. Rhode Island School of Design (tie)

4. Pratt Institute

5. Auburn University

5. University of Texas at Austin (tie)

5. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (tie)

Landscape Architecture

1. Louisiana State University

2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3. Pennsylvania State University

4. Kansas State University

5. Texas A&M University

Industrial Design

1. Art Center College of Design

1. University of Cincinnati (tie)

3. Pratt Institute

3. Rhode Island School of Design (tie)

3. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (tie)


I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what research you’ve found, and whether or not you agree with these rankings.    

Lessons I Learned In Art School

OTIS sophomore photography color project

OTIS sophomore photography color project

High school students face countless questions when choosing a college and career.  They often seem unanswerable, but they’re not.  The right answer is out there – you just might need to dig a while to find it.

Many questions circle around the idea of how an art degree will translate into a career.  Should you attend an art school? Or how about a more comprehensive education at a liberal arts school or a state university?  If you choose one of the latter two, can you still focus on your art?  Conversely, are you creating a problem for yourself if you choose an art school and later on decide not to pursue a career as an artist?

The short answer is that you can get an excellent art education at any of these institutions.  So here’s my take-away:  The skills you gain by studying art will help you in whatever career path you choose.

Have you heard of the saying “everything I learned, I learned in kindergarten?”  I might amend that to art school.  As an art major you’ll gain numerous invaluable skills (besides the artistic ones!) that are transferable into any field or career.

Here are my top four:

1 – Problem solving:  It’s plain and simple; as an art student most of your time will be spent solving problems.  They might not seem like it at the time, but you’ll constantly be making choices and decisions affecting the outcome of your art.  Through practice you’ll figure out the best way to break down a problem to its bare elements, and then piece it back together again.

2 – Working with others:  For group assignments, collaboration is key.  You’ll understand the true value of it as you learn from your classmates and depend on their strengths and timeliness, as they depend on yours.

3 – Time management:  Start with the large number of studio assignments you’ll have each week.  Then add in reading requirements and expectations for other classes.  Let’s just say you’ll gain a new appreciation for jugglers.

4 – Work ethic:  This encompasses a lot: your integrity and initiative, communication, a sense of responsibility toward others (and deadlines), and the quality you produce.  Are you putting your best efforts into it? Holding others up?  And yes, you will discard a completely acceptable creation because it’s not “right” for a whole slew of reasons, or you just know you can do better.

Once you’ve made the plunge enjoy your school choice.  You’ll find campus resources to help you sort out your career path.  At an art college you’ll have more dedicated faculty and staff focused towards your particular artistic journey.  Professors and those in the Career Services department make industry resources available, stay on top of industry needs, guide you towards internship placements, and will help you network with alumni.

Art majors go on to lead creative and culturally influential lives – in whatever fields they eventually pursue.  Artists end up working in the arts, sales, management, education, and healthcare – to name just a few.

Summer Programs

English: The Art Academy of Cincinnati, locate...

The Art Academy of Cincinnati
(photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer  is a great time to relax, soak up some rays, and hang out with friends.  It’s also a great time to expand your artistic horizons through a pre-college summer institute or local art class.  Here’s a chance to hone your existing skills or test the waters to find out if art is the right path for you.  You’ll experiment with new media, build your portfolio, and make friends with the same focused interests.

Numerous summer programs exist across the country as commuter classes and residential institutes.  If you can afford it I’d suggest a residential institute at a school you’d like to attend.  Some offer credit, or even waive the portfolio requirement when you apply for their college program.

Residential institutes typically last from one to six weeks, and they give you the opportunity to live on campus and begin to get a taste for real college life.

While you’re searching, don’t forget to consider state schools, and those in your own backyard.  Classes near home could save you money and still introduce you to the world of college art.

Here’s a list to get you started:

OTIS, Los Angeles, California

California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California

Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Pratt, Brooklyn, New York

and of course…

Paris College of Art, Paris, France