Graphic Design Schools. Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Community' started by jphoenix, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. jphoenix macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #1
    I'm currently a freshman at UTSA. Not really knowing what degree I would want from UTSA or UT. I've been looking at a lot of art schools and their Graphic Design programs. What schools do you guys recommend? What do you think about the Art Institute's Bachelor's plan? Any ideas or recommendations would be great.
     
  2. wrc fan macrumors 65816

    wrc fan

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    In a world where LPs are made like pancakes
    #2
    Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, go to any Art Institute. The whole system is a joke. A good rule of thumb: don't go to any school that advertises on tv (well more than during their bowl games)
     
  3. jphoenix thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    Why?

    Why do you say the Art Institute is a joke?
     
  4. estlin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    #4
    Art Institute has a no portfolio policy. While that may take a small load off your shoulders as the application process for all schools is quite hectic, this also has several implications:

    (1) There is no qualitative screening process, so you're bound to get a lot of people with no talent/skills. You need to have comparable peers; otherwise, how do you challenge and inspire each other? This is essential to the design process.

    (2) AI focuses on making a profit. That is why they don't require a portfolio, they want as many people as possible. As long as you can pay their high tuition, you're in.

    Don't get me wrong; there have been some impressive work to come from AI. Some people merely require a little pushing and prodding and they bloom. AI is very much about the practical. They hire working professionals, so you do get an idea of the real world, plus some nice contacts as well. But if you're looking to expand your mind and conceptual skills, I wouldn't recommend AI.

    AI also has a bad rep in the design biz. Ok, don't want to argue about reputable schools and such (I went to what some consider one of the best design schools, and I thought it was terrrible and left). But sometimes it can make some people pass over your resume & portfolio. OK, I know this is not a great argument, but take it however you want.

    But the bottom line is this. If AI was cheap, it would be a good compromise for some people. But it is just as expensive or more than other schools, so it's just not worth it.

    Where generally are you looking at schools, still in Texas or all over the country?
     
  5. jphoenix thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #5
    I'm looking all over the country. Texas isn't bad, but I don't want to lower my options by just sticking to TX. I've been thinking about California recently, particularly the San Fran area. Only reason I mentioned Art Institue is because I got a flier in the mail that mentioned that the Houston branch is now doing Bachelors, but I'm not sure how great the Houston branch, and the Art Institute in general, really are.
     
  6. neut macrumors 68000

    neut

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    here (for now)
    #6
    why do you want to go to school for graphic design?

    universities are usually behind the times tech wise (unless your tuition is high) ;)

    AI's are good for surrounding yourself with art.

    what do you want to do with GD?

    If you want to be employed by a large corporation you will need a degree (but the money is in marketing anyway). You won't be doing anything fulfilling though.

    freelance is hard these days. gd is moving to flash, video and film. print is old hat.

    where do you see yourself?
     
  7. litosclone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    City of the Crosses
    #7
    The Art Center (Albuquerque, NM)
    Working professional’s train you, you learn on the most up to date programs (Adobe, Quark, Ect.) They have an excellent portfolio policy. The school offers a 2yr. (Assoc. Degree) or a 4yr. BOA. It's a private school for Graphic Design, so you focus on the industry and your not being bogged down with meaning less classes that don't apply to your major
     
  8. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a

    rhpenguin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    London, Ontario
  9. wrc fan macrumors 65816

    wrc fan

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    In a world where LPs are made like pancakes
    #9
    Re: Why?

    I graduated from The Art Institute in Seattle over a year ago. Nobody in my graduating class, except for maybe 1 or 2 people have gotten a job in the field (although it was Multimedia not Graphic Design). The reason? As soon as the people see AIS on the resume they politely tell you that the position has been filled. Why? Cause 90% of the people that graduate from there have no skill, and no talent. And unfortunatley that ruins it's rep for the 10% that are actually quite talented.
     
  10. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #10
    what level of school are you looking for? top tier? midrange? private? public? i can offer a few suggestions depending on what your looking at.

    Art Institute is the graphic design equivalent of those late nite TV ads where you can get your diploma in Bookeeping, Law Enforcement, Refigorator Repair, etc....

    "print is old hat" is the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard. print design is in as much demand as web or motion graphics. until they get rid of books, magazines, posters, business cards, flyers, annual reports, catalogs, monographs, and about 1000 other forms of print media i think print design is every bit as important as digital media, if not more so.

    and lets not forget that (in my opinion) there are far, far, far more untalented web designers than print designers. just because everyone with a ripped copy of Photoshop thinks he/she can make a website does not mean print is dead. A computer to a real designer is just a tool, a really expensive, versatile pencil if you will. the problem with computers is that a lot of people out there manage to conceal the fact that they are talentless by hiding behind dreamweaver templates and photoshop filters. thats why 95% of websites are horrible. The good thing about computers is that it allows a designer to work much much MUCH faster and can in some cases allow the designer to be MORE creative and flexible to respond to the needs of a client. So i think that going into a program based on exposure to computers is not a valid reason to go into a design program. However, it is a very good reason to go into a vocational program.
     
  11. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #11
    while i was at a two year college i heard about this school:

    http://www.fullsail.com/index.cfm?mnc=25

    they are a two year school. You are in school seven days a week for eight hours a day. I think. It also cost something like thirty or fourty thousand to go here. I wish i would've had the money, cause then i would've gone here.

    Good luck with your search.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #12
    The school I go to has both an Art and Design department, and a Graphic communications department as well. I've heard they are both at least decent, the tuition is reasonable (although going up), but housing will bite you in the ass. The school itself has a very good reputation in the state. It is (rumored to be;)) the top State University (not to be confused with the University of California system) in the state, and I know some of the Art majors have to work their butts off to get through. Anyway, here's a couple links to the departments. Good luck wherever you end up.
    Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department
    Art and Design Department
     
  13. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    WA
    #13
    My advice... look for positions now. For instance Pixar has positions available on their website. Look at those positions, then get the training necessary to fill those positions. Go to a school as close to the entertainment industry as possible. I think Cal arts might be a good one.
     
  14. jphoenix thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #14
    Thanks for the comments everyone, they've been helpful. To be more specific, what I really want to do is find a good, 4 year school where I can get a masters. I want to specialize in graphic design with emphasis on web design as a career. I'm currently getting started on and learning web design. I would like to go somewhere with a good reputation that would teach me plenty to be able to work in different positions in the field, whether it be graphic design for print and video, or for the web.
     
  15. oldschool macrumors 65816

    oldschool

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #15
    look at the back of archie comics. if u send in a drawing, they'll tell u how good u are, and send u a pamphlet about art.
     
  16. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #16
    in terms of top-tier/most competitive schools in the US this is my short list (and what i looked at for schools):

    Cranbrook Academy of Art
    http://www.cranbrookart.edu/2d/index.html - Michigan

    Yale University (school of art)
    http://www.yale.edu/art/ - Connecticut

    The New School (Parsons School of Design)
    http://www.parsons.edu - NYC

    The Art Center College of Design
    http://www.artcenter.edu/ - California. I plan on doing my Masters' Degree for Industrial Design here

    Rhode Island School of Design
    http://www.risd.edu - Rhode Island. where i currently attend school - BFA in Graphic Design

    again, these are basically among the so-called "best" schools. i would also look at Savannah College of Art & Design http://www.scad.edu and Massachusetts College of Art http://www.massart.edu
     
  17. neut macrumors 68000

    neut

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    here (for now)
    #17
    the print industry has gone to ****. designers are moving to multimedia and old farts are left running the show. there too much high demand for product that good print design gets lost in the rush.

    i did print for a few years (and occasionally still do some), but turn-around is insane these days. no time to concept anything.

    im sick of wasting paper anyways.


    your right about the lack of digital talent. overused filters, stock photos, and blatant style hijacking expose them to those who know...but the public is blind.
     
  18. e-coli macrumors 68000

    e-coli

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2002
    #18
    Portfolio Center has a great program.

    The School of Design at N.C. State is great, too. But it's almost impossible to get into.

    Cranbrook is great, but that goes without saying.


    I would agree, to some extent. But if I had to do it all over again, I would go straight into advertising. Most designers would kill me for saying this. Actually, several years ago, I would have lashed myself for saying it. But in advertising, you can't cheat. Either your concept works really well, or it doesn't. You can't design your way into a solution. It's all about critical thinking. The good advertising, that it.

    Just open up the D&AD annual. It's the best work around right now.
     
  19. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #19
    It's been a while, but...

    I went to the Otis Art Institute of Parson's School of Design in Los Angeles. Parson's also has schools in NYC and Paris, which is nice because you can spend a couple of years at one of the other schools, giving you a better-rounded education.

    My schooling was before computers were used for design so intensively (I went for illustration), but I found that the L.A. school and the N.Y.C. school had different focuses. L.A. was more focused on people learning their technical chops, where N.Y.C. was more about the ideas behind the work. Fore their respective markets, that made sense at the time.

    Art School in the late 80's/early 90's was fun (as far as I can recall), but you're more exposed to things than taught. The talent is either there or not. The most neglected part of an education is teaching you what to do with your degree once you get it–how to get work after graduation. Expose, copy and learn to make things your own. Nothing beats creation in volume. The more you do, the better you'll get at finding what your own design style is.

    Good luck! - j
     
  20. neut macrumors 68000

    neut

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    here (for now)
    #20
    Re: It's been a while, but...

    here, here!

    create, create, create.


    if your not constantly critically thinking, your at least in the wrong biz, if not in the wrong lifetime...
     
  21. insidedanshead macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #21
    it doesn't matter where you go. what matters is what you have to show for going to that school. you have to ask the school, "when i graduate from here will i have a marketable portfolio? will people want the skills that my portfolio shows? it's ALL about your work not the name of the school. i also second the AI comments, they want money and that's all it comes down to.
     
  22. Peyote macrumors 6502a

    Peyote

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    #22
    Dude! You are overlooking the most obvious choise in design schools, and the school that you should be looking at first!

    I'm talking about a 4 year college with a competative communication design (graphic arts) program. This college is probably THE BEST graphic arts school in the southwestern U.S. This college just got a brand new building this fall to support its program is it has grown 50% in the past two years. This college has professors that previously worked in the design industry, some of them with 25 years experience. This college just bought over 75 new G4 dual 1.25 ghz Macs, each with 1 GB of ram and each with a 17" Apple LCD screen. This program also just got all new Epson 3200 scanners, and a $10,000 wide format printer (just for the design department). This college held the "Bronze Portfolio" award from the Creative Summit from 1999-2002, each year. This award recognizes outstanding school.

    This College has students whose work is constantly featured in Communication Arts magazine, as well as Print and others. Communication Arts Magazine is doing a story on this college because of the sheer amount of good design that comes out of it.


    Last but not least, this college is only around an hour from where you live now! I'm talking about Southwest Texas (now Texas State). I'm graduating this semester with my BFA in Comdes (communication design, a.k.a graphic design). I have learned so much in this program it's unreal. I was also just accepted into the Art Directors Club of Houston Annual Competition (the student show). I might even win a medal, but that's yet to be determined. Incidentally, there were probably around 30 pieces that got into the Houston show from Southwest (err...texas state, or whatever).


    Feel free to email me at

    email@kevinbabcock.net

    if you have any questions about our program. We could possibly have a Masters degree program in a couple of years, but in this profession you don't need it very much unless you want to teach. And remember that in the art world a masters degree is similar to a PhD in other fields, because PhD's basically do not exist for artists or designers. But one of my professors is pioneering a masters program. He had been working on it and finished his proposal last Spring, so its up in the air right now. Anyway, I could go on about our new building, classes, faculty, equipment, etc, but there are way too many things that I like to list. Just email me for more info. I think there are only a few schools that are better than Southwest. One is the Portfolio Center, but that is really just a finishing school to help you refine your already existing skills. Another is Creative Circus, but that's not a 4 year university.

    BTW, my wife teaches at UTSA. I doubt you're in one of her classes but her name is Jaime Babcock and she teaches English.
     
  23. Peyote macrumors 6502a

    Peyote

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
  24. Peyote macrumors 6502a

    Peyote

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    #24

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with you. A school's reputation helps with a potential employer. Any designer seeking a job in this flooded market needs every edge possible. To flippantly say it doesn't matter where you go is dangerous. For instance, if you went to Creative Circus and got a degree from them, then went for a job, they are going to want to know where you went to school. Why? This tells them what your focus was (concept, hand skills, creative process, etc). If you went to school with little or no reputation, they are takign a chance on you to an extent. They don't know who your professors were, or what they taught you.

    Additionally, and potential employer is likely a creative director or something similar, and probably went to a design school themself. Don't you think that if you went to the same school they did, or even a well known better one, they are going to consider hiring you over someone that went to a school that is an unknown?


    As much as you may want it to be untrue, the fact remains that your choice of schools, and a school's reputation matter, especially if you are planning to seek a job in an area that has a reputable design school already in the area.
     
  25. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #25
    The flip-side is that if you walked into an interview with a great portfolio full of printed pieces, some work history behind you and said that you were self-taught and never went to school, you'd probably get plenty of props for your gum-shun.

    A degree from a great school and a portfolio full of mediocre work will net you little more than a production job.

    The question is: Are you good enough to make the cut?
     

Share This Page