Graphic Design Schools
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.
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.
Some of the most prestigious and well-respected 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.