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Old Feb 18, 2008, 08:15 PM   #1
wvuwhat
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Getting into Advertising

Ok guys, I have a long story to share with you and ask for some advice.

I am a current Junior at WVU majoring in Communications and minoring in Advertising. I have been trying to find an internship in Northern Virginia (where I will be this Summer) at an advertising agency. A few emails and phone calls and it looks like I may be able to gain an internship with an agency in close proximity to my house. For this summer I will be mainly working on the advertising side.

I have found out that this agency deals in print, television, and web. While, I don't need to really have any software knowledge during this internship I would like to learn how to use the software they use (Final Cut, CS3, etc. etc.) in order to better my skills for a job after graduation (May 09').

My question to you is can I actually learn these things by myself? I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but I just don't know if it's plausable. I'm sure I'll "look over the shoulders" of other co-workers to learn on the fly while I'm there this Summer.

I should be able to take a few* graphic design classes next year at college. I won't be able to get a minor or anything, but I may be able to pick up 6-9 hours of graphic design courses.

Should I go ahead and buy the software and start to learn? Or is it better to just wait it out, learn a little over the summer, and then plunge into the applications this Fall?

Any thoughts?

If I were to go ahead and buy the software where is a good place to learn (tutorials)?

Thanks for the help,
Jay
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 08:45 PM   #2
funkybrenner
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As a junior majoring in design I feel I'm pretty well equipped to help you out here... It's not hard to get acquainted with the software, but teaching yourself often results in bad habits and really only understanding a small percentage of the program. Also with a lot of tutorial sites out there, you're not really learning the program, just copying someone's instructions. I'd say if you're interested in design, take all the classes you can because no book / website beats a professor teaching you the software. I have also learned an invaluable amount from interning.

And as to not undermine my future industry, good design is not something easily picked up. And there's also a difference between knowing how to use the program and knowing how to use it to communicate effectively. Not to claim that I do that on a regular basis, we're students after all.

Best of luck, and congrats on the internship. Still looking for one here...
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 09:26 PM   #3
17th Hole
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My advice would be to learn the software as soon as you can and as much as you can while you can. It'll put you that much further ahead of everyone else graduating at the same time and looking for the same jobs you are. When it boils right down to it, if I'm hiring someone out of college, I'm going to favor the person who knows the software we use the best so they can dig right in and be productive from day one. (I'm a Creative Director)

I taught myself all those programs (FCP, InDesign, Illustrator, PS, DW, FL, etc.) so it can be done. For the most part, you'll really only need to master about 50% of the full capabilities of the software. The programs nowadays can do so many things that you'll find that there are whole sections and file menus that you may never use. Of course, there will always be a need for "specialists" that can anything in certain programs but you really should push yourself to get a good understanding of all the programs before you graduate. Trust me, you will be thankful you did it now, and didn't wait until you're sitting at your new desk in a flunky job wishing you had more experience that would've gotten you that better job down the street that wanted someone who "could hit the ground running". I don't have time to train, I want that person who is ready to go now. Any questions, I'd be glad to help.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 04:13 PM   #4
wvuwhat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17th Hole View Post
My advice would be to learn the software as soon as you can and as much as you can while you can. It'll put you that much further ahead of everyone else graduating at the same time and looking for the same jobs you are. When it boils right down to it, if I'm hiring someone out of college, I'm going to favor the person who knows the software we use the best so they can dig right in and be productive from day one. (I'm a Creative Director)

I taught myself all those programs (FCP, InDesign, Illustrator, PS, DW, FL, etc.) so it can be done. For the most part, you'll really only need to master about 50% of the full capabilities of the software. The programs nowadays can do so many things that you'll find that there are whole sections and file menus that you may never use. Of course, there will always be a need for "specialists" that can anything in certain programs but you really should push yourself to get a good understanding of all the programs before you graduate. Trust me, you will be thankful you did it now, and didn't wait until you're sitting at your new desk in a flunky job wishing you had more experience that would've gotten you that better job down the street that wanted someone who "could hit the ground running". I don't have time to train, I want that person who is ready to go now. Any questions, I'd be glad to help.

Thank you for your first-hand experience. I think I'm going to go ahead and buy CS3, because I can only afford one or the other right now. What would be your suggested course of action to get myself into it. Is there a certain "project" I should work on in order to get the most knowledge fastest. I'm not looking for a complex and intricate (obviously) project for the first one. I'm going to try a few things here and there and try and get a portfolio for myself going and then as I take some classes next semester and hone my skills. Thanks.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 04:59 PM   #5
17th Hole
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Get your hands on some of the stuff that the agency you are interning with has done and try to duplicate it. Start simple and work your way up once you get the basics. Newsletters are actually good for beginners because you learn the basics of the programs (setting type, importing/editing photos, creating simple artwork) which will cover ID, PS and AI. Find magazine ads and try to duplicate them the best you can (finding the right fonts may be challenging). Don't worry so much about the photos in the ads, just use a photo you've taken and practice making simple retouching to make it look its best. Make up some ads for stuff you like from scratch. Take the pictures, write the copy, create a logo, etc. This will take you to the next level of taking a blank canvas and turning it into something creative. Explore the program a little more at this point and practice using the keyboard shortcuts. The Keyboard shortcuts are your friend! Get to know them well. If you get frustrated, refer to the help or manual. They too are your friend. You'll find that all the CS3 programs work very similarly, so once you get good at one, the others will seem more natural and familiar to you. Above all, make whatever project you start a fun one that will keep you interested in seeing to the end. Do a family newsletter, or an ad for your favorite local band. Get involved and practice the communication skills you've learned so far. Your work will show it in the end.
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