If you want to become a designer, you don’t have to go to graphic design school. If you have outstanding raw talent, the skills to learn quickly on the job, and the drive and ambition to find work or find projects as a freelancer, then you can get away with foregoing formal training. However, the majority of designers benefit greatly from formal schooling. In college they not only develop their skills, but they build relationships with peers, find internships readily available to them and glean all kinds of practical insights from their coursework.
However, before you begin looking at graphic design schools, you should consider the type of design degree that you will want to pursue. Graphic design, in actual fact, is a broad field with various areas of study. Each of these studies can lead you to a specific career in specialization. For example, if you are interested in designing fonts, like alphabets, numeric, and wingding, you can go for a degree in typography. Thus, you can look for schools that have a great track record in this specific field. Other examples of graphic design fields are web design and illustration. If you are not sure of which field to specialize in, you may consider a general graphic degree.
Apart from that, do consider the level of qualifications you will want to attain from your education. To help with such decisions, you should think about your career goals, for example the type of job you are looking. If you are looking for a quick jump into the working world, and gain experiences as your qualification, you could consider associate degrees. A bachelor’s degree usually opens entry-level positions to you, so if you are patient, you can take this degree. Nevertheless, an associate degree allows you to use its credits to continue studying a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree will definitely look good in anyone’s resume, and can help start you off at higher level positions, or create career advancement opportunities for you.
Once all that is decided, you may look into options of graphic design schools with the right program and degree level. Of your search, make sure they are all accredited by the Department of Education and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design for ensured education quality. Ask yourself what type of schools will suit you better – online or physical. Both types of school have their own advantages, like in online schools, you get a flexible schedule and can study from home, while for physical ones, you can gain many contacts and can experience classes in classroom and studios. Weigh which work better for you, and all you have to do is choose a school that you think you will enjoy studying at.
Admission into design schools can be highly competitive. It can be especially difficult for students who have had little artistic training, and given that many public schools have cut arts programs significantly, it can be even more challenging for certain public school students. One way you can compensate for any lack of arts education is to really study design on your own. Take out books on the subject from the library; read as much material on this field as you can online. Visit museums and galleries in your area. Whenever you’re out shopping, examine the products you see for sale closely. How do packaging designs persuade people to buy certain items? Also, keep adding pieces to your portfolio all the time. Always be working on something, even when you’re on the phone, watching TV, sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, or visiting the park. Get a professional to review your portfolio if you can, and consult with him or her as to which pieces you should include in your portfolio and in what order. Try to vary the kinds of material you use in your portfolio pieces, too: include sketches, watercolor paintings, oil-based paintings, and so on.
So what are the main points you should look for when choosing a graphic design school?
- Cost and fees
- Facilities on site
- Class sizes
- Length of course
- Online or offline
- Qualification level
- Work placement opportunities
- Experience of teachers
- Subjects covered
These 10 points should all be considered when you are choosing a graphic design school. Your chosen school may not meet your desired criteria for each point, but as long as most of your desires are met you will gain tremendously.
Some of the most prestigious and well-respected studies graphic design schools in the country are the International Academy of Design and Technology-a top choice for computer animators-the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and Strayer University, which is an online school that’s gotten many of its students full-time jobs in web design upon completion of their program. But there are countless other quality designs schools as well, and the secret is to find the campus and the college community that’s the best fit for you, because that’s where you will thrive. If that means going to a rural school, then go to a rural school. If you want to be close to home, you’re sure to find a college that offers a design major within fifty miles of where you live. It’s important that you find the college that will inspire you to create your best works and make the most professional-and personal-connections you possibly can.
Remember, too, that your graphic design education doesn’t end when you get your diploma. Rather, keep educating yourself and learning new techniques and new technologies that can improve your work and make you even more marketable.