ADVICE / 4
katie and i have both received a lot of emails from people interested in going into the design field, asking us “would you recommend going to school, or teaching yourself?” here’s our advice!
if you’re trying to make graphic design your career then i highly recommend the college route. i received my BFA in graphic design from the maryland institute college of art. my professors and classmates taught me a lot that i wouldn’t have learned if i was on my own. participating in class critiques taught me how to speak about art and design. it taught me how to articulate my creative thoughts and concepts, something that i do everyday at my job. working on group projects taught me how to interact and work with other designers which prepared me to work on a team. i was exposed to all different channels of graphic design which helped me figure out which direction i wanted to take my career. another plus of going to school is getting an internship experience. most companies can’t bring you on as an intern unless it’s for college credit. my internship played a big roll in my life and career and i wouldn’t be where i am today if i hadn’t gone to school.
if you just want to learn graphic design to make art or get creative on your blog i think self taught is perfect. you could attend bri’s blogshops or take a class at studio like 3rd Ward. there are also a ton of graphic design books out there that explain the basics of typography and design.
for me, school was very very beneficial. i was lucky enough to know from a very young age that i wanted to be a graphic designer, so when college came up, I had zero hesitation. i attended Arizona State University for two years (my dad lived there, so I wanted to be close to him and try something new) The program I was in was very technical (we barely even got on the computer for those first 2 years) The precision, attention to detail, work ethic, classic training that I learned there is something I will always value and believe helped me tremendously.
then i transferred to FIDM/The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and continued on my graphic design journey for another two years there. my teachers taught me how to talk like a designer, present like a designer and think creatively. It was wildly different from ASU, but I loved it in it’s own way. what can I say, i LOVE SCHOOL. i love deadlines, i like a good challenge and learning new things is the best feeling. I ended up getting my AA in graphic design and had my first salary job the month I graduated. I am not sure I could have been in that position without school.
a lot of people say you have to have a certain degree to succeed. nope, don’t agree. I think it’s a personal choice of when YOU feel ready. after those 4 years I was more than ready to take on the world. i couldn’t WAIT to get out there and get some real world experience. and yes, like katie said, college gets you very valuable internships (i had 3)!