Graphic Design Programs

GD USA is an excellent resource for those working in the field of graphic design. In January, the online publication spotlighted their top picks of graphic design students to watch. 29 talented individuals made the list as tomorrow’s trailblazers and game-changers. Their collective contributions and experiences are already quite impressive.

This month GD is following it up with a list of 35 colleges – the ones who’ve nurtured, supported, and guided the previously-listed top students, plus a few more outstanding schools. The list of programs is diverse, including non-profit, for-profit, art and design colleges, and public universities. It provides a clear testament to the wealth of quality graphic design programs across the country.

You may ask what is graphic design, and what career paths will be available to those studying it?

As far as careers go, the sky’s the limit. Graphic design is the sharpest tool in today’s design toolbox, used to communicate ideas and information. Through images and typography, graphic design informs, inspires, and persuades in every field imaginable. Science and technology, healthcare, entertainment, education, business, hospitality, and government all need graphic design to communicate, advise, and guide us.

If graphic design sounds like your teen’s passion, GD’s list is a great place to begin your exploration of “best fit” programs.

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Is Fashion Your Passion?

Display at The Fashion School Store

Display at The Fashion School Store

Fall is in the air. And so is fashion. Just as my fall sweaters are beginning to scream for attention, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, and Michael Kors are parading their Spring/Summer 2015 designs at New York Fashion Week. Even Serena Williams is in this game. What’s a girl to do?

If fashion is your design passion you have a lot of top college programs to consider. Make sure The Fashion School (FS) at Kent State University is one of them. Located in northeastern Ohio, it’s consistently ranked among the best fashion programs in the country. In 2013 Fashionista.com called it “one of the top American fashion schools [that] keeps getting better.” And the esteemed Council of Fashion Designers of America ranked it in the top ten.

The program offers a BA or BFA in Fashion Design alongside a BS in Fashion Merchandising. And, if you’ve got your eye on an advanced degree and the business world, consider combining your BS with an MBA. This new, five-year program offers graduate level coursework in fashion theory, design management, and fashion research methods from the university’s College of Business. What a great way to launch a career…

When I sat down with J.R. Campbell, Professor and Fashion School Director, he said the school’s success and popularity have them bursting at the seams (no pun intended!). Since their founding in 1983 they’ve grown to a student population of over 1500.

Kent St fashion design school (7) chalk boardWhy so popular? Kent State offers the benefits of a focused, stellar program in a state university setting. That translates into acquiring the skills you’ll need to succeed in a down-to-earth environment. Students gain conceptual, technical, and production design knowledge as well as the problem-solving capabilities required to be successful in today’s fast-paced design industry. Resources are abundant, and include:

An extensive library collection of fashion, historic costume, painting, and decorative arts;

The Fashion School Store in downtown Kent, which sells clothing designed by Fashion School faculty and alumni, creating the opportunity for direct customer feedback in a live retail environment;

A satellite campus in the heart of it all, New York City’s Garment District, with studio and study space for 120 Fashion School students each year; and

Graduates with a high degree of confidence and a reputation for job placement over 90%.

What type of student will succeed at the Fashion School? According to Campbell, “motivated, focused, driven, passionate, and willing to work hard.” So, what are you waiting for?

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Guest Post: Pratt & Fashion Design

It’s fashion show season at art and design colleges across the country. So what’s it like on the inside? I asked Pratt junior Landry Low to give us her perspective.

DSC_0063 -a close upOne of the biggest benefits to going to school in Brooklyn is the fact that I am in one of the major creative hubs, not just in the United States, but also around the world. We have everything at our fingertips – between our close proximity to the other four boroughs and what is available in our own backyard.

I live on the first floor of a brownstone apartment, a short 15-minute walk down the street from Pratt Institute. My roommate, originally from Barbados, is a communications design major (focusing on graphic design). We walk to school together most days, always commenting on how lucky we are to be in such a beautiful neighborhood with a diverse community, rich with culture. Our campus itself is a sort of oasis in the city – complete with expansive lawns, scattered with a constantly changing collection of sculptures. As an Arizona native, I have a special appreciation for the nature on our campus (as most of the nature I’m used to only comes in shades of brown). Whether its tulips and cherry blossom trees in the spring or the colorful foliage of the changing leaves in the fall, our campus is a showcase for the natural beauty that the East Coast has to offer.

I usually try to get to campus a bit early to eat breakfast on the lawn with my friends and cats (we have 16 cats393634_4324009334870_272715025_n -a that live on campus!). Most of my classes start at 9:30 and each meets once a week for a three-, four-, or six-hour time block (with a lunch break splitting up the 6 hour classes). I typically stack my days so that I have two-to-three classes a day, which opens up the rest of my schedule for work. Through work-study I work as a campus tour guide in admissions and as a shop technician in the metal shop.

My favorite day of the week is Tuesday, as that is when I take my six-hour Shape & Form class (a construction based class that is taught in conjunction with our design class). Every other week during spring semester, our department brings in professional fit models for us to fit looks on from our junior thesis collection. This is in 1000896_10201399309767694_1501697596_n -apreparation for senior year, when we’ll spend both semesters developing, creating, fitting, and presenting a final thesis collection. Our entire class is involved in the process – we take photos, videos, and notes for each other, allowing us all to participate, collaborate, and communicate our ideas not just visually, but verbally as well.

As a junior Fashion Design major, I take a four-hour design studio class (Fashion Design), a six-hour construction class (Shape & Form), as well as another four-hour design class (this semester it’s Cut & Sew Knitwear). DSC_0715 - aAfter that, I am free to apply my remaining credits to two liberals arts classes of my choosing, still leaving room for another elective which I can take from any department in the school. I have taken classes in all different areas including Metal Fabrication, Welding & Forge, Intro to Electronics, Woodworking, Perception and Creativity, and Astronomy. One of the best parts about going to a school like Pratt is that I have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills that allow me to create complex cross-disciplinary work. Not only does my own work improve through the implementation of various skills, but I also find that my work has grown dramatically through the collaborative work that I have done with students in other majors as well as in my abroad studies.

Drop me a line if you’re interested in posting about your favorite college art program.
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Which Animation Program Is Best For You?

Does location matter?animation - bart simpson

In this case it might. The 2014 list of top Animation college programs is out from Animation Career Review (ANC). Coming as no surprise, those at the top of the list represent some of the best art and design colleges in the country. And, three of the top five are in California. Why, you may ask? The answer is Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks.

For many designers and fine artists, college location may not play a significant role in your future career. Companies recruit graduates from across town and around the globe today, so students have flexibility. However, as you narrow down your college search, considering proximity to future jobs isn’t a bad idea either. Studying and learning in a geographic environment with accessibility to numerous professionals working in your field will provide added value. Having a high concentration of internships, networking opportunities and potential jobs in your backyard can only prove beneficial to your future.

animation - disneys frozen2ANC’s top five programs include:

Cal Arts
USC
SCAD
RISD
UCLA

I have to add that while researching this topic further I found a 2013 ranking of top employers by Fortune Magazine. To my knowledge, Fortune hasn’t published a 2014 ranking yet, but I thought this was worthwhile to share, especially since it highlights Dreamworks Animation studio.

 

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Why Art History?

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Art and design are all about doing. Creating, building, drawing, painting, sculpting; you get the picture. Sometimes we forget that an important aspect of creating something new relies on understanding something old; something that others have created before us. It could have been designed last month or constructed two centuries ago. The age doesn’t matter; it all adds value.

Just like today’s artists, those of the past depicted the world as they knew it, they brought new ideas to the public’s attention, and they broke new ground. Through their dedication, they’ve enriched today’s broader understanding of varied perspectives and viewpoints. And perhaps unconsciously, they are guiding and influencing today’s and tomorrow’s artists.

If your passion is to understand the indigenous peoples of Pre-Columbia or the natural beauty of the world as depicted during the Renaissance, you’re not alone. There are a number of excellent art and design history programs to help you explore and comprehend a specific time or place, or to provide you with a broad understanding of artistic influences across a wide time period.

Chinese statues, Chin Dynasty

Chinese statues, Chin Dynasty

The study of Art History typically incorporates theory and criticism, as well as archeology, conservation, and museum studies. Period-relevant cultural and social contexts are examined, and many programs integrate studio work for an additional hands-on perspective. Apprenticeships and internships in galleries, museums, or educational settings are encouraged for a comprehensive understanding of potential career opportunities. Study abroad experiences add even more depth.

According to SnaapShot 2012, an annual online survey by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, the top career paths for art history majors include education and training, library services, curatorial and museum/gallery work. Careers in publishing, grant writing, and auction houses are also common.

Where do you begin your search? Try some of these colleges:

Most institutions offer a BA, but some provide the opportunity for a BFA as well. Minors are common for those wanting to add value their studio focus. If for no other reason, I’d suggest taking art history courses just to give you a different perspective. They’ll enhance your life, and work. Among those I’ve taken, the one on indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Africa fascinated me, and forever changed my life… in a good way.

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