I’m currently a college student majoring in Graphic Design.
While I love art and creating, I’m very intimidated by the technology that’s required, and I’m at constant odds with programs like Adobe Illustrator.
I’m glad to find a forum to discuss graphic design, and I’m looking forward to exchanging thoughts and ideas with everyone.
It’s understandable that you may be of a type that doesn’t embrace technology as readily as some others, but it could just be a matter of adjusting your point of view, or as a very smart person once called it; your “assemblage point.”
It’s a widely held misconception that graphic design is rooted in the software, and that anyone who acquires and learns the software is in a position to take on graphic design work, solely by way of having accomplished those two things. Your education may tend to reinforce this somewhat, with days spent doing nothing but learning software. Despite that, you must make every effort to focus on whatever it is inside you that steered your life in this direction. In truth, graphic design, like art, is a product of heart, mind, and eye. Everything else is a tool of one sort or another. Of course it’s important to learn and explore effective use of those tools, so you must stop seeing them as obstacles and re-position them in the hierarchies of your psyche so that they become a positive element in the execution of your craft. Put your own inner software first—those valuable qualities that are innately yours—your powers of observation and analysis, that intuitive vision, your desire to create, your experiences in the various roles you’ve played in the market-at-large. When you firmly place you at the basis of your practice, the tools become a means to execute your visions, and reasons to feel positively about them will materialize. To realize the value of the software, you must put it in its rightful place.
Here’s an observation.
A lot of students of graphic design go into the field because they love creating Art.
They don’t find out until much later, often times after college and in their first job, that Graphic Design is not at all about their Art. It’s about creating solutions for clients’ messaging challenges.
If you are really into the creative art stuff rather than producing commercial product for a client in a style and manner inconsistent with your artistic bent, maybe a little more thought might be given to this career path.
I hate to see kids spend so much money on school only to find out later it isn’t a good fit. It happens way too often.
I will add to what PrintDriver said that “creating solutions for clients’ messaging challenges” can be very creative — for that matter, it requires creativity. But it’s not the same kind of creativity as making cool art projects for oneself. Instead, it’s creativity deployed against real-world, practical problems that need to be solved.
Applied Arts --> Making someone else happy.
Fine Arts --> Making yourself happy.
Thanks for the welcoming everyone.
“…the tools become a means to execute your visions…” is a good way to look at it.
I often times would just start with PS or Ai and stare at the blank canvas thinking, “I don’t know where to start.”
Instead I’m trying to sketch out ideas instead, write them out at times, and also flip through art and design books to get inspired. Then, once I get an idea, I’ll try to think, "now, how can I make this image using the tools at my disposal (hand drawing, photography, Adobe, etc). It make it much less intimidating.
Yeah, I have quite a bit of regret. Graphic design is soooo difficult ! I feel like I’m supposed to be a one-person advertising agency, coming up with the research, subject matter, slogans, clever and intelligent verbal expressions…and still have to visually design the whole thing!
I prefer to do character illustration, stuff you see in art books like “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” But at the time I didn’t really consider it, thinking that graphic design was the more secure major and career path. I’m just about finished with my degree though…
I mean, I like the possibilities of graphic design though. Looking at all the cool stuff Chip Kidd has done seems even better than doing character designs. It’s more freeing at times. With graphic design you can mix all kinds of different things together!
There’s too many times where I’m in awe of a magazine/book/album cover, or a the layout in some reading material, or even certain types of street signs.
Other times I’m thinking, “Why did they make it that way…it would have been so much better if they had done this…or done that…”
^I forget this at times, but that’s what makes graphic design fun for me and I need to constantly keep that in mind. I need to look at this at a chance to explore and have fun.
Illustrator is an interesting one. It’s not particularly intuitive if you’re used to drawing with pen and paper but I recommend practicing and sticking with it. It’s a great programme to use for things like logo design, packaging and vector illustration.
Yeah, I’m just now getting slightly more loose with it.
Before I was easily frustrated by it…but just by playing around with it more and more, it’s not so scary.
I had a blast recently with it when I had to make some vector icons for an infographics project.
I just wanted to elaborate on my regret for choosing graphic design and uncertainty with the discipline.
I’m found out, after the fact, that the degree I’m going for, and the curriculum offered is not really strong at all for graphic design.
This entire time I was kind of hating graphic design, due to my own deficiencies, and thinking I was simply lacking the talent and mental fortitude. Like I’m just spinning my wheels this whole time.
But I found out that the graphic design program at other schools require you to do a minimum of BFA or higher. There is no BA for graphic design, except where I’m at. There’s a lot of basic stuff that I’m discovering on my own that has me like, Ahh, that’s why I’ve been hitting a brick wall! There’s this thing called “grids,” and it helps you organize information and communicate it better.
Once you learn these basics, it’s like, it’s all downhill from here, whereas before, it felt like I was trying to ice skate up hill.
It definitely makes graphic design more productive, and fun in the process.
I try to stay in the library as much as I can to soak up all the knowledge in the design books here. Hierarchy and typography is what I’m trying to focus on, then color theory.
There is no difference (or there shouldn’t be) in the requirements for a BA in design vs a BFA. They are both 4-year programs, and I’d be more worried about a BFA being bogged down in the arty part of the art used in a GD degree, when more real world research and business skills are needed. It’s all about the actual program itself and the professors’ own real world skills. It doesn’t help to have an assistant professor teaching Color 101 that hasn’t talked to the Graphic Design 401 professor to work to integrate the Color skills into the GD skills.
When interviewing schools it’s up to the high school student to ask questions that they don’t know to ask, and up to them to somehow get past all the hype any school throws at them to get their money. I’ve had 4-year college students come to me lacking serious intro fundamentals, such as knowing what bleed is and how to use a Pantone book series. Scary.
BFAs in graphic design are typically awarded from those universities that house their graphic design programs in their fine arts colleges. As a result, students in those programs spend half their time taking art history, drawing, painting and sculpture classes. BAs, I’ve found, are a bit more often awarded from schools that, rightfully, do not think of graphic design as a fine art and focus, instead, on the more practical concerns directly related to graphic design as a profession instead of an art form.
Both degrees are perfectly acceptable, and I’ve never known any employers to make a distinction between the two when hiring.
I got a BFA, and spent a couple of years after graduation having to deprogram myself from thinking of graphic design as making cool, nice-looking, experimental and artsy creations since that was the focus in my fine arts program. I still care about those thing, but I’ve come to temper those expectations with the reality of this being a profession focused on solving client problems that, when done right, can also be cool, nice-looking and, every now and again, artsy.
I’ve never seen any statistics, but I think lots of universities offer BAs in graphic design. Mrs. Just-B, for example, has a BA in both graphic design and illustration (from an agricultural university of all things).
Yep, this is a good idea.
I just graduated!
Didn’t think it was going to happen as they told me I was missing units, community college transfer classes wouldn’t fully count, major requirements had just been changed again…all a month before I walk with my class.
Anyway, I’m comparing my BA program to the BFA program here.
BA: 6 core design classes, 3 art history, 2 drawing, 1 photo, and 10 electives (like Philosophy and Political Discourse).
BFA: 18 core design classes, 3 art history, 2 drawing, 1 photo, and 10 electives as well.
I shouldn’t be pessimistic about my degree, but I feel like I’m really inadequate with what I need to know when working for a client. The BFA has Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Typography, as well as a UI class, Infographics class, and more.
I don’t know how to use Pantones.
I’m not trying to be pessimistic, and I understand that no one’s going to know everything right out the gate, but I keep thinking I should at least get a basic understanding of some of these things before I really get out there. Pantone colors for example.
That’s good to know, about both degrees being acceptable.
I actually have a BA in Art, with a focus in Design.
At this point I’m trying to focus on the fundamentals, creating a more acceptable looking portfolio and brushing up on any additional side skills that might help, HTML for example.