Suggestion: A separate sub-forum for high school students

First, let me apologize for getting carried away and over-reacting yesterday. I was rightfully rebuked for complaining about high school students seeking critique for amateurish logos. As pointed out, I could have just ignored the threads. Rather than respond to the threads or ignore the threads, I should have done what I’m doing now, voice my concerns on a separate thread.

I’ve had more time to think of it now. In hindsight, it wasn’t that I felt like the high school students were a waste of my time as much as I felt that they were a waste of everyone’s time. But it’s not my place to tell other people on the forum how they should use their time, and I can only speak for myself. I felt like it was wrong on multiple levels:

  1. I felt that it was sucking the energy out of the forum. The amount of repetitive explaining it takes to advise a person on how to improve a graphic design increases exponentially the younger and less experienced the person gets. I just panicked worrying about what this forum might become. I still think there’s a risk of decline, but not as much as I think there was yesterday.

  2. I felt that it was cheapening the profession to even assign logo design to high school kids. When I hear professional graphic designers complaining about competing with high school kids in a race to the bottom, I attribute it to oversimplification of what professional graphic designers do by high school teachers and parents. They should be teaching anyone interested in graphic design that there is more to it than knowing how to use the software. HotButton said it better in one of the responses. I’d be interested to hear answers to HotButton’s questions.

  3. I felt that it was also bad for the students. I feel that there is mutual benefit in advising college students to improve the profession. It reinforces what they are learning in college, while helping the profession by sending better graphic designers into it. But I don’t feel that it’s helping either the profession or the high school student to just teach them whatever skills they might think is fun to make a career out of at the time. This field is over-saturated with people who don’t take it seriously enough, making it difficult to find the ones who are serious. There is a big disconnect between academia and the business world, and a bigger disconnect at the high school level. Our whole economy would probably do better if high school were more about helping students discover their rare and unique potential than putting them in competition with each other in a long line of dying professions that seem fun.

As mentioned, maybe this could be resolved simply by having a separate sub-forum for high school students apart from college students. That way anyone with the patience to help high school students will have an easier time finding them, while those with less patience will have an easier time avoiding them. I’m not against helping high school students. But I think they need a different kind of help than college students for their own sake, the sake of the profession, and the sake of the forum.

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They didn’t even get those posts all into the student forum. What makes you think they’d put them in a high school forum.
I played the game until it got tiresome. Then I just clicked off anything that had to do with pizza or chinese food logos.

I have no problem with high school students being taught some aspects of Graphic Design. Especially if those HS students are in a trade school working to enter into the print field, which they may have been. A lot of times tech school students don’t do design until they’ve done at least some print work in the school shop. I cut them a lot of slack.

Your profession shot itself in the foot 20 years ago by not requiring any formal requirement for hanging out a shingle. Every 5 years or so since then there’s been a lessening of the skill level even in professional design work. About 3 years ago the photoshop generation arrived. In some ways it makes my job easier when a designer doesn’t have a clue about color values, or only has a gang run view on quality. In other ways it makes it more difficult. “Doesn’t look like my monitor,” comes to mind…

I agree with this. College design students are on a specific career path, and getting close to entering the work world.

High school students are nowhere near that. They’re more dipping their toes in different possibilities. I question whether they’re mature enough to understand (1) the target market concept that is so basic to graphic design, or (2) that time is money.

I don’t think there are enough of them asking here, to set up a separate sub-forum. The student forum should suffice.

But I do think students asking for help should be strongly encouraged/required to include context in their request. That way we can give meaningful help at an appropriate level - without spinning our wheels giving professional-level help to a high school student with a fun, casual project.

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Again, how do you know these are not tech high school students.
Not everyone is in the academic track. Some trades actually pay better than design. Muvh much better.

We don’t know much of anything about these students. I wish they would answer HotButton’s questions.

If they were from a trade tech school, it seems that they would have been given better basics before they came to the forum looking for advice. But I could be wrong.

Maybe you’re right. Maybe this was just a wave of rare occurrences. But I don’t think it would hurt to have a separate sub-forum to further invite those students while preemptively diverting and sorting the unique kinds of attention they need. Even if they don’t start the thread in the right forum, it could be moved to that forum by an administrator. Over time, the pattern of what works best for them would emerge in that forum and their questions might be answered before they are asked.

I doubt that two separate student forums would solve the problem, even though I do think there’s a huge difference between a college-level design major and a high school kid who’s just taking a quarter-long, 3rd period elective class from a teacher who likely isn’t a professional designer either.

High school students, various amateurs and Jr High kids post stuff all the time outside the student forum. Here’s a case in point with an amateur’s logo and a mixture of subsequently good advice and naive comments from amateurs.

I wish that people, when posting something in the Crit Pit, would say something about their background. All too often, we end up critiquing a 12-year-old’s after-school efforts like he or she is an experienced professional. Also, the professionals on the forum (me included) tend to jump right into the student section and begin critiquing their work from a perspective that has little bearing those simply trying to complete their beginning-level school work.

I’m not even sure the professionals here should be hanging out in the student section. Giving advice is a good thing, but the student section really should be a place for students to discuss things and get appropriate comments from the rest of us that take into consideration their relative lack of experience and the fact that many of them are just kids.

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Good point. Sub-forum or not, I’m going to take HotButtons lead and ask more questions about any OP’s background before commenting if their work seems too amateurish. If there isn’t much or anything good to work with, I’ll just stay clear of the thread.

So we mollycoddle college students because they are just kids?
They are adults. They are entering a profession where they are going to get the stuffing knocked out of them first job they get. They should be trying to do more than just trying to complete their beginning level school work. They should be taking the opportunity to explore beyond the boundaries just a little bit, to maybe do a little research. Not just float along as though it’s a gut course class in a toss off artsy fartsy profession. It’s intensely frustrating to see college students babied along doing coursework that is not taught in an inter-related manner. At some point they have to stop being beginners. And the teachers have to get their heads out of their academia and start teaching profession-relevant coursework.

/rant (but this thread was an open invitation.)

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mollycoddle :laughing:

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If I remember correctly, the student sub-forum was originally created because we were getting a lot of crit requests from students, but we didn’t realize they were students – and we ripped them to shreds. Later in whatever thread, the OP would mention they were a student and many people said they would have critiqued differently (or with a different tone) had they known they were looking at student work. So the student forum was created so we could all critique, but have a better understanding of the level of the work. Maybe that needs to change? I don’t know. :woman_shrugging:t3:

I used it as a verb.

No. I’m saying that learning takes place in a series of sequential steps, and that educational curricula are designed to teach students the basics before moving onto the more advanced topics.

There’s a huge difference between a student whose first exposure to graphic design is a high school art class and a 4th-year design major with a couple of completed internships.

It seems important that we acknowledge that and give appropriate advice for the grade level. Unfortunately, unless students state up front where they’re at in their education, it’s a crap shoot.

I think we sometimes rush to judgment and unknowingly jump all over high school kids for failing to produce professional level materials when they’re struggling just to learn the basics from a teacher that barely understands them herself.


It is… unless… instead of jumping right to a critique, we ask them for context first, along with some project details.

Human nature being what it is, most requestors probably won’t provide details if they can get the critique without doing that. Or if they simply don’t realize that it’s a good idea.

So what I’m saying is, *We should set the boundary. We should be the ones to ask for more details. “What’s your project about? Is this a school assignment or a paid project? Please tell us more.” Etc.

Because if we ask this before giving the critique, I’m sure they’ll be glad to answer.

Hey… maybe we should do a survey. :grinning:

Don’t think so, sorry B.

Fundamentals are Fundamentals … they never change with age or with experiences … ever.

To hold back fundaments from a high schooler is not right. Just as it is not right to discipline (red marker) a 4th year uni student.

Kids start writting Javascript in grade school …like in grade 3 …or sooner. By the time HS rolls around the youts are well aware of how apps work. But the fundamentals of good design are consistent throughout whether it be in writing code or composing a graphic or a layout.

Who needs a thick skin? I don’t …never have because when I got shredded at 8 years (and younger) it was done with respect for me as a person … I’d never … ever … want that to watered down. Because when it came time for me to crit someone’s efforts I knew that it had to come out of respect.

That respect isn’t age dependent …and nor is the diligence which is needed to help someone (anyone) walk through the fundamentals of an understanding.

Anywho … just my thoughts.

I interpreted B’s statement to mean that high school students don’t know as much, about design fundamentals and the tools, as a 4th year college design student does.

That’s just logical. It takes time and effort to learn them, so of course someone having studied them for four years is going to know a lot more than someone just beginning. That’s the difference I believe he was talking about.

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I also disagree that writing code shares design fundamentals with graphic design. There’s a huge difference. Code is, well, it’s code. It’s text, with syntax. Graphic design is visual, all about how human beings respond emotionally.

They’re tools that work together, but I see no similarity. And I’ve done both.

Code is a design tool like any other design tool. It may be text with syntax but it’s ultimate purpose is to produce a visual experience. Code isn’t always WYSIWYG like a graphic design program and to do design well using code, there has to be a different level of skill to see the words translate into the visual.

Right, and they actually answer with a level of coherency that lays down a useful context.

I do agree that would be the correct approach. However, at the risk of over-generalizing, I’ve seen plenty of online posts in which younger individuals display an angst-laced impatience for anything but a direct answer to their question. Seeing this, at times I’ve inferred there may be a kind of negative etiquette in play that suggests the OP sets and constrains the “topic” with the information volunteered in the thread-originating post, and any deviation is considered “off topic.”

And, while we didn’t ask the recent crop of classmates before critiquing, we have asked—more than once now—with no acknowledgement from them whatsoever that questions were even posed. Observing this recent wave, it has crossed my mind that it could be as much a “social experiment” as an earnest search for critique.

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Could we not just give critique based on the level of understanding that their work displays? If it looks like someone is new to design, critique like they are new to design or move along.

I’m guilty of asking someone’s background, but when I think about it, it’s only because I can’t believe someone thought the work was strong enough to put to their peers. I don’t think their answer aids in how I would critique; a weak design is still a weak design regardless of who created it and it will require the same type of advice to strengthen it.

If we find ourselves feeling like assholes after realizing the work we critiqued was created by a teenager, maybe the problem is with the amount of tact we employ in anonymously critiquing work produced by strangers who have no impact on our daily lives. I know I struggle with it sometimes, I’ve written several critiques only to delete them and abstain from commenting.

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