Selecting the Best Graphic Design Classes for Your Career Path
Learn why graphic design is an excellent field to pursue and what to look for if you are considering this creative and exciting career.
What to Look for In Your School of Choice
Graphic design is an excellent field to pursue, as it allows students to work in the business industry while expanding their own creative niche. To begin your education in graphic design, you will need to select an accredited school that offers a competitive graphic design program. Selecting an accredited school will make it easier to transfer credits in the future and also ensure that the quality of education meets a set of standards.
Graphic Design Programs
One of the many advantages to choosing a career in graphic design is that there are different avenues toward reaching your credentials. The most basic is earning your certification in graphic design, which is ideal for those students who have a technical background and want a shorter educational experience. Certificate programs generally take one year or less and include basic graphic design classes that focus on specific software programs. Students can become certified at any time, either adding onto their existing experience or starting off with a basic certification.
Another route to take is earning your associate degree in graphic design, which generally takes about two years to complete. The program will focus on digital images and digital photography, website development and multimedia design. Many of these programs are offered at community colleges so that you can transfer the credits over to a four-year university.
The final option is to get your bachelor’s degree in graphic design or art with a concentration on graphic design. These four-year programs include art history, advertising and marketing and general education courses. To keep the information relevant or to further advance their career, some students choose to get a master’s degree in graphic design where theoretical concepts are implemented into their projects.
Subject Training and Critiques
Even though graphic design classes are offered at many colleges, not all are created equal. For starters, determine whether the program is project-based or subject-based. You want to choose a program that focuses on the students instead of projects at large. Many schools do not provide this individualized attention because it is not time or cost effective for professors to deliver. Steer clear of programs that only offer large-scale programs, and instead focus your attention on programs that will help you develop your own skills and perfect your creative niche.
Second, the program should offer constructive criticism; a major component in master’s programs. These supporting ideas are meant to prepare graphic design students for the real-world where they may be defending their work more than they are boasting about it. These group critiques will have the students stand back and take a look at the work from an objective point of view; sharing feedback and offering constructive criticism. Not only will you benefit from learning how to express the nature of your work and take the critiques, but also you’ll be critiquing others’ works of art and finding the creative vocabulary to do so.
A final consideration when choosing a graphic design program is the level of technology that is offered in the graphic design classes. The information you’re learning now will prepare you for the future, so you should be delving into state-of-the-art technologies that are expected to be “the future”. Your respective programs should place a strong emphasis on using progressive technologies and not just perfecting the types of programs we use now.
For example, the 3D revolution is upon us, and students enrolled in graphic design courses today should be learning about simulation, modeling and 3D animation tools. Although 3D technology is still emerging, its presence is expected to grow stronger, and students should be competitive in their 3D experience when entering the workforce.
Also makes sure the program has available tools for you to use such as interactive touch pad tablets and high-end, graphic design computers. You should have access to these devices for continuous hands-on practice and development. Many graphic design schools have a lab where students can come and use these devices on their own time. By choosing a program that is relevant, forward-thinking and accommodating to its students, you can be sure that your graphic design education will put you one step ahead of the competition.
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