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Continuing Education for Working Graphic Designers

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  • Continuing Education for Working Graphic Designers

    This is both a personal question and one of general curiosity.

    So, I am a full time graphic designer with a degree in design. I've learned a lot on the job and through various tutorials over the years but I've also recently been intrigued by the idea of going back to school. I want to pick up more skills or to better myself in way that I can't on my own. I feel like self learning is great but you don't know what you don't know. I don't necessarily know where my flaws are or where to challenge myself more.

    I could do another degree, a masters, certificates, or even just workshops. There are so many options out there my mind is kind of overwhelmed and I know it's completely personal it's based on my own goals. Has anyone here gone through a similar phase in their career? Maybe you think things are getting stale and you just need a change of environment or you're fearful of becoming stagnant?

    Anyways I'd love to hear about your experiences of continuing to educate yourselves as designers whether it be self taught or in an institution. What are some good programs or self driven initiatives you've competed? Valuable certificates... etc?

  • #2
    I fulfill that educational need by attending seminars at either the ISA or SGIA show, as that is my industry.
    For general Graphic Design you simply cannot beat walking either of their Expo floors, and you can do that without joining (minimal cost something like $30 plus parking.)

    What you see there might overload your circuits at first but you will definitely come away with some incredibly useful design ideas.

    Other large scale organizations have fairly active seminar agenda, like the SEGD if you're into that.

    Another option is Adobe. They do offer stuff you can attend around the country.

    Local school might be limited in offerings. Have a look not only at colleges but at your local Vocational Tech high schools.

    If considering a Masters, seriously consider a complimentary degree rather than a continuing GD degree. A graphic designer with a Masters is still just a graphic designer ( and someone that employers view as too educated and wanting too much money,) but add a masters in something like Marketing, or Internet metrics or Museum studies and you have an additional marketable skill.

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    • #3
      That's some great insight I totally forgot about seminars and expos. I didn't think of necessarily as educational in the same sense but you're absolutely right about getting design ideas and just being up to date on the industry.

      I am mostly into branding and logo design so I like to following news and trends in that area online but I will definitely try to make seminars and events a part of my routine.

      It also sounds like a great place to meet other designers and to network with agencies. Is that something that you've done or seen other people do? Are people generally more guarded at these things because it's so common?

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      • #4
        The expo things I go to, about 90% of the people there viewing the show are competitors looking for that next edge, like a new piece of equipment or a clever new media. There isn't a lot of inter-visitor schmoozing. What there is alot of is sales-sponsored get togethers. Designers seem to keep a low profile, except in the seminars where they ask a lot of questions. Questions are what these things are all about.

        You have to get on the more designer side to network and meet agencies. Check out the event calendar for SEGD. They aren't logo and branding, they are the next step up in corporate identity, wayfinding and experiential design. Not sure what you are looking for as far as networking and meeting agencies goes though. The idea is education. Not so much a sharing of ideas or projects.

        There are some very active groups on LinkedIn. I don't participate as I have an aversion to the idea of collecting ''likes'' or ''friends'' or ''links'' or whatever. There are also Facebook spaces. Or so I hear.

        Last edited by PrintDriver; 01-11-2017, 07:32 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
          ...active groups on LinkedIn. I don't participate as I have an aversion to the idea of collecting ''likes'' or ''friends'' or ''links'' or whatever.
          Heh. On LinkedIn, they're called "Connections." More of an old-school concept, but no less gaggy than "friends." The part that really bothers me about LinkedIn is that there are stalwarts who lend a lot of business-context credence to a given member's presence, profile, collection of "Connections," etc., and in that way, splashing around there can constitute a more material "risk" than the more playroom-like social media environments. Blindly collecting connections of connections of connections could easily and unwittingly land you some very negative associations you wouldn't choose if the activity was actually rooted in tangible relationships.
          I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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