Have you ever considered the benefits of a graphic design degree? If you’ve always been a good drawer and doodler, you’ve probably got the creative side covered.
But these days, there’s more to design than artistic flair – graphic art and design have evolved. Now that user interfaces are so important on gadgets and websites and other electronic media, the lines have become more blurred as to whether analytical and critical thinking skills are as important – or more important – than strictly creative skills.
Is an Art and Graphic Design School for You?
Only you can make that decision. These days, if you’re an artist who expects to make a decent living, then you’ll definitely need to know technology, business, and marketing, as well as design.
Aside from drawing mockups, graphic designers are expected to know design software, image editing – and if you’re really going all the way, you may want to learn computer animation and create the next action hero for movie theatres. The point: unless you’re extraordinarily self-motivated, it will be very difficult to learn all the modern media necessary to be a contemporary graphic artist.
In addition to the strictly artistic or creative side of graphic design, many people who have both artistic skills and scientific, analytical skills may decide to go into user interface design for websites. Combining these skills is especially important if you’re working for a small company or agency, many of which cannot afford to higher a designer and a front-end web developer. This presents an important mix of marketable and relevant skills.
Graphic Design Degree
A graphic design degree teaches students to become visual communicators capable of translating technical and aesthetic continuity into something unique and inspired like a brand, logo, or particular look and feel. Ideally, a graphic design degree imparts the skills needed to apply a creative artistic ability into the development of print and digital media, television graphics, logos, websites, illustrations, and product branding.
Students may find employment in advertising firms, design companies, publishers and other businesses that need design professionals. They can make use of their artistic vision and still pay the bills (according to Salary.com, the top 90 percent of graphic designers make upwards of $80,000 per year).
In addition to a formal education, graphic designers should have inventive capability and powerful verbal, visual and communication skills. This degree program will assist the student in putting together a portfolio that showcases samples of their best work.
It should showcase the diversity, discipline, artistic talents, and flexibility of medium and subject that the student will have mastered. This portfolio will be a key factor in putting a graphic design degree to work. Additionally students will cover the skills needed to meet strict deadlines, hone their ability to manage time and remain on schedule as this will be key to their level of success. Business and sales skills are also helpful for this career path.
Much of art and design will start with who you know, and one of the greatest things you’ll get from art and design school is a long list of connections, “ins” to the world of design, art, animation, 3D modeling, and so on. This is vital.
While many studios do put out open calls for job seekers, the truth is that knowing someone on the inside will get you the job you want. It can be difficult to find work in this field without knowing the right people, and attending a school of art and design is certainly one way toward those means.
As far as graphic arts degrees go, the days of starving artists are over. From the “skins” on our mobile phones and laptop cases to the branding of cars, companies, and household products, companies will always need graphic artists to set their products and electronics apart from the rest.