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BD2010
Mar 28, 2008, 02:04 PM
Hello everyone, this is my first post here at Macrumors, and I am looking for some guidance. I want to pursue a career in graphic design, but need to find a good college. I love to make art on the computer, however I do not do it often because my only computer is a 6-year-old PC. I do want to learn though and I am searching for a good college to go to. It is scaring me a little though reading about how hard it is to get a job in graphic design and how little you get paid, but I want to do this so bad it doesnít really matter to me, ill work as hard as I need to. My dream job would be designing websites and album covers for bands, but I donít think that will happen anytime soon. So my question to everyone here is what are some good schools for graphic design, and which ones are going to make me stand out from everyone else when I am looking to get a job. Any information is greatly appreciated.



IgnatiusTheKing
Mar 28, 2008, 02:13 PM
Rhode Island School of Design and California Institute of the Arts are two of the ones that you will probably hear about most, and both are supposedly pretty hard to get into. Texas Christian University actually has a very good graphic design program, as well.

I hope you have a fat wallet, because you are not likely to find anything worth a damn that isn't incredibly expensive.

LeviG
Mar 28, 2008, 02:24 PM
well your country might have been useful, as this site covers more than just america

IgnatiusTheKing
Mar 28, 2008, 02:40 PM
well your country might have been useful, as this site covers more than just america

He's new, try cutting him a little slack. I didn't realize this site was so international when I first found it, either.

jerryrock
Mar 28, 2008, 04:02 PM
You can start out with a Graphic Design program at your local Community College and then transfer to a four year school. This route saves thousands of dollars and you end up with the same degree.

LeviG
Mar 28, 2008, 04:06 PM
He's new, try cutting him a little slack. I didn't realize this site was so international when I first found it, either.

well I know the obvious take on the site is that its american but as the op doesn't say a country we have to assume/guess where he/she is from which inturn could lead to a thread full of useless suggestions if they do in fact come from say australia and everyone suggests american :D

shecky
Mar 28, 2008, 04:43 PM
disclosure: i teach graphic design at a Tier A school.

top schools for GD in the USA (tier A) are generally considered to be

RISD
Yale
CalArts
Art Center
SAIC
CCA


and to a somewhat lesser extent (high tier B)

NC State
Virginia Commonwealth
MICA
MCAD


Other good tier B programs include

MassArt
Kansas City
Michigan State



You can start out with a Graphic Design program at your local Community College and then transfer to a four year school. This route saves thousands of dollars and you end up with the same degree.

most top design schools will not accept credits from a community college for any design classes, tho they possibly will for liberal arts requirements. the issue is that programs are structured in a linear fashion, so you cannot take some classes without prerequisites; thereby making is hard to impossible to do a 4-year BFA in 2 or 3 years even with transfer credits. lower-end schools may accept more credits than tier A will.

Abraxsis
Mar 28, 2008, 05:28 PM
Ringling in FL is an excellent school, and at 38k/year VERY expensive. You know its funny, I was reading about the main designers at Pentagram Design and most of them are self taught, or they "apprenticed" under someone else. Being self taught has some advantages IMO, for one you don't get pigeon-holed into creating the same crap that every other college grad is producing. (A fellow designer once told me story about train tracks, one painted black, and one orange with polkadots. They might look different, but theyre headed to the same place, they only go where theyre instructed and inside theyre still cold steel) Not to mention, as an art director, it shows me real dedication; that you were willing to be passionate, slave and sweat for your career/craft, and I know you'll do the same for me.

Now dont get me wrong, Im not saying "dont go to college," Im saying master the technical mechanics, listen to what profs want to pass tests, but TEACH yourself. I have 2 Bachelors (Soc and Psy) and a MS in Psy ... college is important, I know this from experience ... but the most important thing in design and art is passion and self-motivation.

BD2010
Mar 29, 2008, 10:13 AM
Thanks for all of you help. Sorry about not putting my country in ... i forgot about that but yes, i am in the US.

Z.Beeblebrox
Mar 29, 2008, 03:11 PM
Personally, I would recommend Savannah College of Art and Design. They have a very robust design program where you can actually pick which segment of the design industry you want to train & work in. The professors there are amazing and have long backgrounds working in the field (many still do). The courses are very comprehensive and the technology is always up to date. Not so with most community colleges. You also don't waste months toiling away with as many general non-art courses at SCAD. It's very focused, class are very small and personal. When I graduated, I had a complete portfolio in hand and had no trouble in finding a job in New York. The city is beautiful, with a huge art scene and tons of festivals, fairs, and events. I loved living there (always something fun going on, it's minutes from the beach and the cost of living is cheap). I highly recommend it, it's a highly acclaimed, award-winning school and yet cheaper than most of those big name schools. It's also fairly easy to get into, which was nice. Check it out, they have campuses in Atlanta, Savannah and online.

SCAD (http://www.scad.edu)

Krafty
Mar 29, 2008, 03:46 PM
Personally, I would recommend Savannah College of Art and Design.Hey, 3rd quarter freshmen here, sitting in the dorms right now :) (Atlanta campus)

ChrisA
Mar 29, 2008, 05:43 PM
....I love to make art on the computer, however I do not do it often because my only computer is a 6-year-old PC....

There were many happy working professional designers in 2002. Some of them were lucky enough to be using a computer just like the one you have now

I hear the same from new photograhers, they think they need the latest gear. I tell them to go look at National Geographic or Sports Illustrated from the 1970's

klymr
Mar 29, 2008, 06:54 PM
There were many happy working professional designers in 2002. Some of them were lucky enough to be using a computer just like the one you have now

I hear the same from new photograhers, they think they need the latest gear. I tell them to go look at National Geographic or Sports Illustrated from the 1970's

One thing my professor keeps drilling us on is the fact that great designs aren't born with a mouse and monitor. They come about from pencil on paper. Draw it out first, then use the computer as a tool to produce it. It's been a hard thing to do, but it's been worth it.

perp
Apr 2, 2008, 03:56 AM
disclosure: i teach graphic design at a Tier A school.

top schools for GD in the USA (tier A) are generally considered to be

RISD
Yale
CalArts
Art Center
SAIC
CCA


and to a somewhat lesser extent (high tier B)

NC State
Virginia Commonwealth
MICA
MCAD


Other good tier B programs include

MassArt
Kansas City
Michigan State





most top design schools will not accept credits from a community college for any design classes, tho they possibly will for liberal arts requirements. the issue is that programs are structured in a linear fashion, so you cannot take some classes without prerequisites; thereby making is hard to impossible to do a 4-year BFA in 2 or 3 years even with transfer credits. lower-end schools may accept more credits than tier A will.

how can u rank calarts higher than artcenter. YOU FOOL! jk...

penter
Jun 10, 2008, 10:12 PM
i felt so cool, just skimming through this post.
i have friends currently enrolled, or about to attend many of the school mentioned.
its awesome to know more ppl that are out in the same world as i am, with the same visions and goals.

mariotheotaku
Jun 11, 2008, 01:13 AM
I am attending DeVry University right now and I really like their Web/graphic design program.

Col127
Jun 11, 2008, 08:47 AM
Hello everyone, this is my first post here at Macrumors, and I am looking for some guidance. I want to pursue a career in graphic design, but need to find a good college. I love to make art on the computer, however I do not do it often because my only computer is a 6-year-old PC. I do want to learn though and I am searching for a good college to go to. It is scaring me a little though reading about how hard it is to get a job in graphic design and how little you get paid, but I want to do this so bad it doesnít really matter to me, ill work as hard as I need to. My dream job would be designing websites and album covers for bands, but I donít think that will happen anytime soon. So my question to everyone here is what are some good schools for graphic design, and which ones are going to make me stand out from everyone else when I am looking to get a job. Any information is greatly appreciated.

hey there. i don't know if you'd travel out of the US to study but there's some good schools here in canada. i graduated from the york university / sheridan college bachelor of design program. it's a really good program and growing. the profs are always adjusting to meet the needs of the industry & the students. emily carr out in vancouver is also a good program.

regarding employment and pay, that really depends. don't let people scare you away from that. granted, when you start out, you do pay your dues... designers don't start off that high (at least in canada), but once you work your way up and have a few years on your belt, you'll definitely be fine. if you freelance and have a lot of clients, you can make a lot of money :)

i work full time for a company and my pay isn't bad. i don't freelance on the side because there's a lot to do that comes with it, but i'm sure i could make a lot more if i did.

don't worry about that stuff now. if this is what you want to do, pursue it!

all the best to you!

nyutnyut
Jun 19, 2008, 12:22 AM
One thing my professor keeps drilling us on is the fact that great designs aren't born with a mouse and monitor. They come about from pencil on paper. Draw it out first, then use the computer as a tool to produce it. It's been a hard thing to do, but it's been worth it.

i would amend this. great designs start in your head. concepting, concepting, concepting.

as for the OP, going to a good design school is very helpful, but i would fathom to guess most people really learn good design when they are out in the working world. that's how i did it.

so if you choose to maybe go to a state school and do their design program, make sure you intern, when you can, within a design studio or ad agency. try to work with as many experienced designers as you can.

instead of taking a job out of college in-house as the only designer, maybe take a less glamourous production person job in a studio, where you will learn from a number of people.

ChemiosMurphy
Jun 19, 2008, 12:55 AM
Drexel has a rather nice graphic design program. Check out the college of media arts and design at Drexel.edu/Westphal

CMD is me
Jun 19, 2008, 10:36 AM
I want to pursue a career in graphic design... I love to make art on the computer

I don't mean this in a rude way at all, but that statement concerns me. Being a designer is FAR MORE work than "making art" -- you need to understand type and color theory, visual communication, working with teams, clients, etc etc. Before you even touch a computer you need to know what the client is looking for, have a plan in place, then the computer is just a means to get it done. In a 9-10 hr day you may only use the computer for an hour or 2. You need to have passion about design and helping others.

It is scaring me a little though reading about how hard it is to get a job in graphic design and how little you get paid...

This is good. You won't be disappointed then. Good designers starting out are often paid teachers wages and work longer hours (some evenings, Saturdays, holidays, etc). More than likely you'll need to work as a freelancer (how a studio often "tries out" a designer) and the work is usually unsteady for several years.

My dream job would be designing websites and album covers for bands, but I donít think that will happen anytime soon.

again, concerned here... a) bands never have money to pay a designer so many are done for the sake of doing it and b) web design is becoming a specialized field which is also very hard to get into. economy wise, right not the market is not good. design is VERY effected by the economy. it seems to be one of the first areas companies cut funds.

did i sugar coat that too much?

bottom line -- if you want to be a designer, make sure you WANT to be a designer. it is NOT an easy field for most. its like wanting to become an actor -- seems cool and the market is flooded. BUT if you can hang in there (maybe have a back up plan), have the skills needed and get the right break, it can be a great field.

good luck -- i do mean that!

DesignerOnMac
Jun 19, 2008, 04:27 PM
Being a graduate of MassArt, I would not consider the collage to be a tier B school!!! Very hard school to get into. You need artist skills and have better than average SAT scores BEFORE they will even 'consider' you! The entrance exam for art is an all day exam testing you in 4 fields of art.

Good designers are paid well. Doing band art is something EVERY designer dreams of doing, but usually does not happen.

As far as pay is concerned, the pay isn't huge to start, but once you have experience the pay is very good.

After graduating you might want to consider finding a job as a graphic designer at an ad agency or design studio.

CMD is me
Jun 19, 2008, 04:49 PM
Good designers are paid well... As far as pay is concerned, the pay isn't huge to start, but once you have experience the pay is very good.

Agreed, but the problem is too many people think design is easy and they can do it to. There is a lot of really really bad design out there. Really bad. With everyone now having a computer and knowing what a "font" is, its made it even harder to make clients understand the cost of GOOD design. I've reviewed a lot student portfolios and you can tell who has potential and who relies on the computer to "think" for them.... its similar to what has happened to Photography.

It comes down to, if you have the passion, drive and God given talent to be a designer and are willing to put in your dues, there is a lot of opportunities out there. Its just not a field for a passive 9-5'er who wants a good job right out of school.

davisjw
Jun 19, 2008, 08:59 PM
In terms of proper Universities I know Virginia Commonwealth University was number 1 a few semesters back- I got there for Advertising but the stuff I've seen out of there is quite good. I'd say if you can study at a University so if all else fails you have a proper degree.

junker
Jun 26, 2008, 11:38 PM
In terms of proper Universities I know Virginia Commonwealth University was number 1 a few semesters back- I got there for Advertising but the stuff I've seen out of there is quite good. I'd say if you can study at a University so if all else fails you have a proper degree.

Yeah, I just moved from Richmond Last year after a 6 year stay there. I heard the same thing and I tend to believe it's a damn good school.... I know it's sculpture/painting programs was rated #1 in the nation (for whatever that's really worth.) The really great thing is - if you live there a year before you apply and get residency, you get in-state tutition... I think it's then only 2 grand-ish per course... or was it 2 grand per semester? I don't remember... nonetheless, worth looking into.


And Richmond is a suprisingly cool town. I was very suspicious of it before I moved there in 2001... with all the southern rebel crap. disclosure: I'm southern... born in Nashville TN, but to a wild band of hippie artists - not rednecks :)


Anyway, check it out.

Ps. I went to SAIC 89-93, Knew some people who went on to Harvard, dated a girl from MassArt and knew alot of folks from SCAD... all great schools and some great artists from each. It comes down to you and your passion, drive and willingness to kick ass in what you do. The education is great - but it ensures nothing. Learn all you can while you can - life is short and truely can end in a flash. Don't let your only mark on the world be skidmarks off a road.

jammedpearl
Jun 27, 2008, 08:59 AM
If you are open to the online experience, i would suggest either Art institute of Pittsburgh or the International Academy of Design and Technology.

I have been conducting a decent amount of research trying to find a new online school to go to and these are the two that have the most appealing programs and methods... just stay away from the diploma mills like Phoenix and Westwood.

idyll
Jun 30, 2008, 01:43 AM
Yeah, they are so incredibly expensive it's crazy! Ringling cost around $36k per year for me!

indiochano
Jul 3, 2008, 12:03 PM
Ringling in FL is an excellent school, and at 38k/year VERY expensive. You know its funny, I was reading about the main designers at Pentagram Design and most of them are self taught, or they "apprenticed" under someone else. Being self taught has some advantages IMO, for one you don't get pigeon-holed into creating the same crap that every other college grad is producing. (A fellow designer once told me story about train tracks, one painted black, and one orange with polkadots. They might look different, but theyre headed to the same place, they only go where theyre instructed and inside theyre still cold steel) Not to mention, as an art director, it shows me real dedication; that you were willing to be passionate, slave and sweat for your career/craft, and I know you'll do the same for me.

Now dont get me wrong, Im not saying "dont go to college," Im saying master the technical mechanics, listen to what profs want to pass tests, but TEACH yourself. I have 2 Bachelors (Soc and Psy) and a MS in Psy ... college is important, I know this from experience ... but the most important thing in design and art is passion and self-motivation.

couldnt agree more... it doesnt matter which school you go to...

idesign245
Jul 6, 2008, 08:02 AM
If you are open to the online experience, i would suggest either Art institute of Pittsburgh or the International Academy of Design and Technology.

I have been conducting a decent amount of research trying to find a new online school to go to and these are the two that have the most appealing programs and methods... just stay away from the diploma mills like Phoenix and Westwood.

Don't go to the International Academy of Design and Technology!! It's awful... I speak from the experience of wasting 3 years and $40,000 there. I'm going back to school in September to a real college (for graphic design). The IADT here in Toronto is shutting down and I doubt it'll be the only one.

needlnerdz
Jul 6, 2008, 11:34 AM
Might I suggest checking out liberal arts colleges that have a design program? [ If you are from California- they are an incredible deal ]

They may not be as specialized as the tier A or B schools listed (nor the enormous fees accompanying them), but I felt incredibly privileged to have gained an overall education and not one that was centered solely in design. In the real world you will have to deal with much more than just techniques of art and design (duh).. and gaining a broad spectrum in your education not only helps you out day to day, but it offered a great amount of 'outside' material to play with in my designs and creative endeavors. Another plus (this may be limited to the california state university system)- is the open campus policy. I was able to heavily infiltrate the sculpture, printmaking, recording arts, physics, etc- departments without the need of declaring myself as that particular major. As many have told me and I will pass along, your portfolio and personality are what will really matter in the end.

[ of course the design networks built and aided by the top schools will be of great help.. much will depend on the previous PP ]

Hope that helps your search!

MacPM8
Jul 6, 2008, 07:34 PM
Anyone heard of Portfolio Center in Atlanta? Got any idea/reviews on that?

junker
Jul 7, 2008, 10:39 PM
Anyone heard of Portfolio Center in Atlanta? Got any idea/reviews on that?

Yeah, I had a buddy go there (from Nashville) He's now out in CA. working as an Art Dirctor....I haven't talked to him in a few years, but I know it got him into the field...I can't personally quantify the quality of the education, but he seemed to like it.

I think anything can be good.

If anyone wants my opinion, it's like this: Read, study, practice, copy, look, learn, accept criticism but don't internalize it, be diligent, on time, courteous and with clear intention. With all this in your actions - you're well on your way to a better life... and that's the best revenge we're all looking for, now isn't it? ;-)

candyman
Jul 9, 2008, 11:38 AM
I'd like to throw my vote in as an alumni of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. It is a great school (a bit pricey) but well worth it. Plus Pittsburgh is a very artistic town in itself which helps in the experience. I think any of the AI's would be nice. Pittsburgh just had so much more history behind it and was the closest to my location at the time.

macworkerbee
Jul 10, 2008, 08:47 AM
Sorry I'm a bit late to chime in but put another vote in for SCAD. You can even pick Savannah or Atlanta campus now. The program is great there. I did a double major or graphic design and illustration and had no problem getting a job in NYC after graduating. I'm making pretty good money and love what I do.

usclaneyj
Jul 10, 2008, 12:03 PM
SCAD is a pretty good school. I didn't go there, but plenty from 'round these parts did. They all seem to have liked it.

Plus, there's nothing quite like living in the lowcountry of South Carolina/Georgia. :) It's a lifestyle that you can't find in many other places of the US.

RainForRent
Jul 10, 2008, 01:10 PM
Montserrrat in MA looked like a good school and I had a friend go there that loved it. I attended a liberal arts school in FL and took advantage of their Design program. I had a fantastic professor who has done just about everything there is to do in the design world and had almost too much knowledge. At the end of the day, where you went doesn't matter as much as who teaches you. You may go to a top tier school but have some jackass TA giving you classes and wasting your time. You and your own drive are your own best teacher.

poe diddley
Jul 10, 2008, 03:18 PM
if anybody even mentions Full Sail in a positive way for a GD school you need to be shot in the face. i say this being a full sail grad of the "digital media" program. they hype you up with all this "job placement" garbage at the open house before u actually start to help wow your parents. it's more or less a lie. they have a placement department, but they might as well not. they have yet to help me get a job, and i graduated in 2001. all my jobs i got myself, and honestly probably could have gotten them without the full sail stamp.
i'm not going to say i didn't learn anything there, but it is not a replacement for a real design school. basically u touch a lot of bases there and get a pretty well rounded idea of a lot of different digital mediums, but there's not enough time to really concentrate on any of them. i guess you're supposed to do that on your own time. it's more or less a bunch of one month seminars on several different subjects. you do learn a lot of things, but it's not enough of any one of them to make you any kind of expert.
oh and did i mention how insanely in debt it left me? yeah i thought it would be no problem to run out and get some killer job when i graduated to pay for all these loans i had to take out, but that never happened. i'm actually probably going to go back to school at a real university, but sadly, none of the full sail credits will transfer anywhere. and it's not like i was the retard in class either, as my average was a 96 and i never failed a single class, and very rarely missed a day. i kinda feel like a jack of all trades that no real job exists for since i can't really say that i specialize in any of them.
don't waste your money. go to a real school. and then maybe your credit won't be shot like mine is from going to full $ail

eskalation.dk
Jul 10, 2008, 04:21 PM
What about studying outside USA? For as far as i know, the best school is ECal. But, saying oh i want to study graphic design is like saying oh i want a car... You kinda need to say a little bit about what you wanna end up doing! :D

pujapuri
Jul 15, 2008, 04:20 PM
Another vote for RISD.

Azin Squeeze
Jul 19, 2008, 06:42 PM
Drexel has a rather nice graphic design program. Check out the college of media arts and design at Drexel.edu/Westphal

I currently go to Drexel, I'm entering my Sophomore year and I have to say although Drexel is expensive its an awesome school that combines work and social life. Not to mention that every student that attends Drexel must go on Co-Op, which pretty much allows each student to get real world experience from employers.

ChemiosMurphy
Jul 20, 2008, 08:39 AM
I currently go to Drexel, I'm entering my Sophomore year and I have to say although Drexel is expensive its an awesome school that combines work and social life. Not to mention that every student that attends Drexel must go on Co-Op, which pretty much allows each student to get real world experience from employers.

Yeah Drexel... I'm FMVD and entering my sophomore year too!

pinktank
Aug 4, 2008, 09:33 AM
I've been to SAIC and a friend recently graduated from there, it isn't a great school in design anymore although it's name still carries some due respect. It is hoever great in painting and many more areas of arts.

Look into RISD and of course, cooper Union if you believe you can get in.

quid squid
Aug 4, 2008, 05:51 PM
Ringling in FL is an excellent school, and at 38k/year VERY expensive.

i went to Ringling for 4 years (Illustration major) and then another 3 years at Otis College of Art and Design (Toy Design major). yes i am in an assload of debt from student loans now. anyways, my 4 years at Ringling was amazing. they are expensive, but are just as expensive as all the other top art schools. It was well worth the money though, and I would not have passed up that experience for anything. i know people that went to RISD and i hear it's not so much a graphic design based school, but more of a fine arts school. i suggest taking a tour of any school you go to and asking to see student work, AS WELL AS TEACHER WORK. that is very important.

if you are interested in seeing what i got out of going to 7 years of art school then go to http://www.wonderingart.com

from personal experience of being there, Ringling has some of the best programs in the country, especially Illustration, Computer Animation, and Graphic Design.

sambapati87
Aug 5, 2008, 10:27 AM
I looked at many of these "design schools" people are pointing out, (SCAD, etc.) but personally I wasn't into the 'art school' atmosphere.

I chose Ohio State.

Don't laugh -- their graphic design program accepts 17 students a year based on a rigorous portfolio review and entrance exam, and so far (I'll be a Junior on the fall) I could not have asked for more out of this program. I know that my design skills have increased exponentially and that I am learning things I will use for the rest of my career (my income from freelance has already doubled, I believe soley because of the increase in my quality of work).

You get the atmosphere of a large four year university (which I love, Go Bucks!) AND the education of a small (read: tiny) design school. In state tuition is around $8k + room/board, out of state around $18k.

It's a steal. A++++ would buy from again.