3 answers

To go into graphic design, should I go to an art college, or a normal college that has a strong art program?

Asked San Jose, California

I am really interested in art, math, science, and computers, and I've been thinking about going into graphic design. I was wondering whether it's better to go to a college focused on art, or just one that has a strong art program. Also, would I want to put together a portfolio if I decided to go to a school that doesn't focus on art? #art #math #graphic-design #art-college

3 answers

Heather M’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

You can technically take either path. I earned a two-year graphic design degree at my local community college and it was much more affordable than if I had gone to a comparable university or private art school. Do a lot of research into the programs taught and course content before you decide. In the end, it's not about whether the school is an art school or a big name school or any of that: it's about the skills they're going to teach you. Look at real job listings you're interested in and be sure the degree you're considering is actually going to teach you the specific programs and techniques required in the real world.

A good graphic design program will have a portfolio course of some type, regardless of whether it's an art school or not. That being said, you will always end up altering your portfolio after you graduate. For each job you apply for, you'll want to tailor your portfolio accordingly. For example, for a logo design gig, you'd want to showcase all of your logo and Illustrator work rather than cloud your portfolio with web design and print layout pieces.

That's the real key to landing a sustaining job; see what hiring company's are asking for of the candidates when it comes to the programs they know. I got out of GD a while back, but I still get on to Monster, CraigsList, LinkedIn, etc. to see where the industry's heading just in case I need to make some freelance money for Friday night.

Ashley’s Answer

Updated Tampa, Florida

You can go either way. I would say to check out programs at many different colleges. I went to University of Illinois at Chicago which was known for it's Medical Program. Little does everyone know it has an amazing design program. Because it was a hidden gem, it was so much more affordable than going to a college like Columbia or AI. Keep your options open and check different places out. Get to know the program at your preferred schools and see which suits you best. Maybe sit down with counselors or professors at those schools or send emails with questions you have.

Keep your options open. This question doesn't really have a solid yes or no answer, as many different schools have different programs. You need to do a bit of research before discovering which will fit your particular needs. Are you most concerned with saving money? Do you want to focus on a certain type of design? Do you want to stay close to home and commute? Start with answering what YOU are looking for in a school and it will become much more clear.

Hope this helps :)

Andy’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Speaking from personal experience I would recommend going to a "normal" college. I attended UC Berkeley and graduated with a degree in integrative biology. The breadth of experiences that I gained there really helped me to get a greater understanding of the world at large. Later, i earned my Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Having gone through both I know that I became a better artist through my coursework at the Academy, but I know that my exposure to the sciences and other humanities was much greater at UC Berkeley.

Even though my career path has led me in a different direction than biology, I feel that I learned and grew a great deal as a person at UC Berkeley. You'll have your entire life to continue to learn and grow as an artist, take advantage of your youth to expand your horizons and learn about the world. At least that's my advice.

Ultimately it will be up to you to decide what is important for you. Good luck in whatever path you choose.