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What to Look for in a Good Graphic Design Program

There are many things to look for when trying to find the right graphic design program that will cover what you will need to know to get a good start in the industry. Most people want to jump to the cool software and call it a day. But there are many details you need to pay attention to before committing to one of these graphic design programs.

good graphic design programDesign Theory 101

First and foremost, you really need a program that covers design principles, theories, and a general foundation for graphic design. You can have the best software training in the world, but if you can't put your ideas and creativity in an effective design or layout, it's just not going to cut it. There are actually several graphic design programs out there that seem to think that you can just train a student with the latest software and that this will be good enough. I would rather have someone working on a design that understands balance, contrast, flow and not be up to date with the latest versions of Photoshop and Illustrator, than someone who knows the latest software in and out, but doesn't use the basic graphic design principles that are used to create an effective design. While being up to date with the latest software is important for workflow in a design environment, just make sure the program you are considering is putting a significan amount of focus on actually learning the foundations of graphic design.

Ok. Now on to the Software

A good balanced graphic design program will offer the theory behind design along with learning and becoming proficient in the latest graphic design software. While it's not be essential to have the school teaching the latest version of Photohop that maybe just came out 3-4 months ago, they should offer training of software that is fairly up to date and with todays standards. A design firm will allow for some room to learn software, but the foundation should be there for knowing the core functions and tools of the programs you will be using. Expect to learn programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more. If there is a focus more on video and multimedia, programs like Premiere, After Effects and Maya are some good options to be covered.

Who is Teaching it?

Another important factor to consider is who will be teaching you. Do the teachers have solid industry experience? This kind of experience translates into a better understanding of what students should know to have the best chance possible making it outside of the classroom. Before choosing a program, feel free to ask the school about the teacher’s background and experience. You have every right to ask as many questions as you would like until you’re completely satisfied with the answers you get. It’s your money and your investment in the future. You’ll be paying the salaries of the people who teach the courses, and need to know if they are up to the task.

In Summary

When choosing a good graphic design program, keep in mind that it’s YOUR money and you have a right to know what the program offers. But it’s not just about learning the latest and greatest software. Make sure that you will be getting covering a fair amount of design theory along with learning relevant up to date software from instructors that have experience in the industry.



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