Where To Find The Next Generation Of Designers

Wallpaper Graduate Directory

If you haven’t caught it yet – it’s not too late.  Available December 13, 2012, Wallpaper* Magazine posted their most recent Graduate Directory online, highlighting top new design talent across the globe.  Besides ogling over the incredible creativity out there I was interested to see the schools these talented folks attended.  The results are impressive and a bit surprising.  The well-known standard-bearers are there along with those I didn’t expect to see with this crowd.  Clearly I need to broaden my horizon; I’m guessing others will too.

Initially launched in 1996, with the website added in 2004, Wallpaper* is based in the United Kingdom.  For many it’s a leading source of contemporary design, interiors, fashion, art and lifestyle activities around the world.  For those interested in a career in the world of design, it’s a knowledgeable and inspirational resource.

The Graduate Directory highlights “the next generation” of designers.  I suggest taking a close look.  The issue covers prospective up-and-comers in architecture, design, fashion, jewelry, packaging, photography, transport, travel and visual communication.  It showcases top talent about to enter the workforce in each field, and gives you a sneak peek into their talents.  The international list of schools provides a global view of program opportunities and includes a diverse group in the U.S.

A sampling of schools with noted students are listed below, with the area of design called out as well.

International schools

Royal College of Art, United Kingdom (design, transport)
ECAL, Switzerland (design, visual communication)
Guangzhou Academy Of Fine Arts, China (transport)
Moholy-Nagy University Of Art And Design, Hungary (packaging)
Beckmans College of Design, Sweden (design)
Royal Academy of Art, The Netherlands (photography)
Strelka Institute Of Media, Architecture And Design, Russia (architecture)
Institute for Fashion Design, Switzerland (fashion)
Shenkar College Of Engineering And Design, Israel (packaging)
Tama Art University, Japan (design)
ESAD Reims, France (design)
NBU, Bulgaria (packaging)

American schools

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (architecture)
Cooper Union, NYC (architecture)
RISD, Providence, RI (design)
School of Visual Arts, NYC (packaging, visual communication)
Yale, New Haven, CT (photography)
Art Center College Of Design, Pasadena, CA (visual communication)
Parsons School of Design, NYC (design, photography)
Brigham Young University, Provo, UT (packaging)
Washington University, St. Louis, MO (architecture)

So, what does this say about US design students?  Well for one thing, we’re playing in the same league as the best in the world.  Our educational institutions are providing students with the skills and tools to successfully compete with leading contemporary designers across the globe.  Also of importance are the variety of outstanding design programs in the U.S. from which students can achieve their goals.

500 Days of Summer?

UC Boulder art building & art museum

Well, not exactly, so how about 300 days of sunshine?  Every year.

I had the chance to visit the beautiful town of Boulder, Colorado last month and that’s what I found. Not a bad place to attend college! OK, full disclosure: I considered attending the University of Colorado Boulder back in the day. But that’s a story for another time.

If you’re looking for an art school in Colorado you have a number of options to choose from. UC Boulder is a large, public, research university on a beautiful campus at the base of the Flatiron mountain range. The aptly named Art and Art History department offers degrees in Art History and Studio Arts in the new state-of-the-art Visual Arts Complex. BA’s are common; getting into the BFA program is more difficult. For a BFA you’ll need to be a UC student with a minimum of 30 hours of Art & Art History courses under your belt and then go through a rigorous selection process. Few are accepted. Studio Arts disciplines include: Ceramics, IMAP (photography, digital media, video, integrated arts), Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, and Sculpture and Post-Studio Practice.

Laura Shill, the IMAP lab coordinator gave me a tour of some of the labs and shared with me how influenced they are by changing technology. “Taking risks with new technology is what students want,” she said. With each new year of students come fresh ideas, and the program adapts to those requests. A New Directions of Photography class is blending 21st century technology with antiquated processes. It’s a “collapsing of the centuries” she added. Students produce contemporary work, yet because they incorporate old world techniques they become aware of the traditions that paved the way for today’s medium.

Around 1000 students are in the undergraduate program, plus an additional 50 grad students.