Future Graphic Design Student Needing Help!

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by dlo604, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. dlo604 macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Hi all,

    First of all thank you for taking the time to come into my little thread here. I'm extremely excited for my one year program which will allow me to enter the field of graphic design / web development / new media industry. Upon my graduation I will be receiving a Certificate of Senior Management.

    Here are a few questions which I need help with!

    Program Matrix:

    1.) I haven't really designed before, but with creative ideas from event planning and marketing events, I believe that I can excel in the designing market with my creative juices. Will the program I am in do you think it will be sufficient enough to help me land a career in this field?

    2.) I'm planning on getting a tablet, but I'm not sure when would be a good time. I have added a program matrix to my post above for your convenience. Would you guys recommend getting one as soon as I can or is there a particular semester which I should wait for?

    3.) I've read that free lancing is suited for some, but not for many. If you are currently working for a design agency or any type of work which is in the design field, are you currently doing a couple side projects on your own time for other clients as well? If so, what's your schedule like? When would you recommend a person such as myself to start free-lancing and accepting other projects on the side upon graduation? Should I gain some experience at an agency before moving to the freelance career?

    4.) I'm going to be using my MBP for school assignments while during school hours I'll be using a Mac Pro (atleast I'm pretty positive). I'm thinking of getting a portable external HD for my convenience. Do you think that it would be a good idea for me to purchase one at this time? Please keep in mind that I am thinking of using the external HD for other purposes as well.

    5.) With my uMBP posted in my signature, would you recommend upgrading to 4GB of RAM? I'm thinking of either doing a 6GB of RAM or max it out at 8GB.

    6.) I noticed my program is lacking Adobe InDesign. Is this a program I should consider looking to divulge some time into? Is it harder for someone who is relatively new to the design industry to understand, or is it something that anyone should be able to pick and really understand easily?

    I know this was quite a long post, but any of your help and feedback would be great!!!

    Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to reading your responses.
  2. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    1) Be Warned. Design can be a very different beast than event planning and marketing. Design is more about having a strong concept than it is execution...but you have to be able to execute very well all the time. And that is the hardest part to learn. Don't expect this to be easy - even with your background.

    2) In all honesy, looking at your program track - I don't see where you're going to need a tablet. I've been designing for about 10 years, and I just got a tablet this past weekend. It's really not a necessity unless you are proficient at drawing. And Drawing ≠ Design.

    3) Before you start freelancing, make sure you're competent and confident at what you do. Make sure you know what sort of freelance work you want. Web Design? Identity? Logo creation? Ad design? All of the above?

    4) A Mac Pro is overkill. Although it sounds like your school is providing it. To transfer files back and forth, I'd recommend an iPod Classic. If you want to go smaller, get a 4+ GB Flash Drive. Just be sure to copy the files to your hard drive before you open them :) Running files off of a flash drive is verrrrry slow.

    5) 4GB is plenty of RAM. If you can afford more, go for it.

    6) From the look of your program track, you're going to be doing web design and not print design - and that's why your program is lacking InDesign. InDesign is primarily for print and page layout. If you plan to be doing any print work, then you should probably take a class in InDesign. It's similar to Illustrator.

    From the looks of things, it appears as though you're going to be focusing primarily on web design. I touched on this earlier, but please keep in mind that web design is very different than print design. You certainly can get by only doing one or the other, but you become much more marketable if you're proficient at both.

    I've been a print designer from the very beginning, and I'm just now learning web. And to be honest, it's a struggle for me because it's such a different way of presenting information.

    Also, since you're going to be a student, you should look in to purchasing Creative Suite with an educational discount. That will save you a lot of money.

    Good luck! Holler with any more questions.
  3. dlo604 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Thank you so much for you honest reply. I appreciate your feedback deeply. Considering the fact that I'm at a young age and ambitious I have the willpower to be patient. I'm thinking of taking another course which would include InDesign. However, the program and it's a desktop publishing. I'm not sure how beneficial it would be for me. I'm thinking about just adding an Adobe InDesign course on the side just so like you said makes me much more appealing and more marketable.

    Thanks for the heads up, I definitely wanted to pick up CS4 from my local Apple store.

    I've been thinking about purchasing a monitor as well. I'm thinking perhaps a 24" - 30" LCD monitor. I've read some threads, but since I only have the 13.3" inch uMBP it seems like it's going to be a bit difficult to really navigate around CS4 proficiently.

    Thanks again for your prompt reply! I definitely take your words of wisdom to heart!
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It's all just technical stuff. Yes you need to know that but,...

    Let's say you wanted to be a writer and write a novel. Would you sign up for a word processing class? You do need to know how to type to be a writer but there is more to it than that. You have to have ideas that are good enough that people will want to pay to read them.

    Same here. You need a basic foundation in art. Learn about color and shape and "mass" and art history and working in various media. If I were to interview a designer I'd give him a #2 pencil and some paper and we'd talk about ideas. Anyone can learn how to run the Adobe software suit but I'd be looking for someone with good taste and judgment and the kind of person who has more good idas then he could ever have time to execute.

    If I were teaching I'd only let beginning students use a #2 pencil and not even go near a computer.

    It may be a good series of classes but it is not nearly enough if all they teach is how to use the software.
  5. Ride9650 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    thought id chime in here, DON'T immediately buy CS4 from Apple. First, check to see if your school sells software first.

    I say this because Apple will not likely be able to match the prices at your school. For instance I got CS3 Master Collection for around $600 buying from school, as opposed to another retailer. the prices have not changed with CS4
  6. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    What Ride said.

    Journeyed is one of many educational software retailers. They have been known to throw in free flash drives with an order. If you qualify for an educational discount, go for it. You can usually get the entire Creative Suite for less than what a single copy of Photoshop costs.
  7. dlo604 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Hi Ride, Thanks for the input. I went to the Apple store and did a quick student discount price check and it was below the $600 dollars which you mentioned for students for CS4. Perhaps the Apple rep misinformed me about the price?


    I can see where you are coming from, and definitely understand what you're saying. However, with every idea for a website comes with a different point of view. For example, you look at a site that has a vision and a need, you won't necessarily need a #2 pencil to sketch or draw things out. It's a vision that you and your client see eye to eye on. As a designer, I believe their ultimate goal is to put the pen to paper and get what the client wants. Vision is key and like Swift mentioned earlier execution is even more important. As for Color theory and what not I do believe that there is a class that goes to show what neutralizes or balances out what color.

    I appreciate the feedback. I'll be posting up some things once my class start perhaps in a feedback thread to see what you guys think. I definitely want to see yours and Swift's feedbacks considering you guys seem to know what you are talking about.

    Have a great day.
  8. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    At schools that have relationships with Adobe students are allowed to buy software directly at about half the price quoted above. This is not a price you can get at the apple store or via an ed-retailer. You need to be in the right program and have the offer directly from adobe.

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