Chapter 19Making Choices

Education choices are never easy. Financial concerns weigh heavily. But there are some alternatives. Here is a guide: You should find a two- or, better yet, four-year undergraduate program at an art college or general university that offers a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) or equivalent degree. This is not to imply that a liberal arts education is to be ignored; liberal arts is a prerequisite that must be pursued in tandem with design classes. However, two years is barely enough time to learn the tools, theory, history, and practice of graphic and digital design, as well as to develop a marketable portfolio. Of course, as four or more years in art or design school may be impossible for some and excessive for others, continuing education is also an option.

For those with the desire and wherewithal, a graduate school education can be beneficial. A few people possess a natural gift for design and, with only a modicum of training, might turn into significant designers. But they are exceptions to the rule. Untutored designers usually produce untutored design. Although good formal education does not make anyone more talented, it does provide a strong foundation upon which to grow into a professional. While taking the occasional design class is better than no schooling at all, matriculation in a dedicated course of study, where you are bombarded with design problems and forced to devise solutions, yields much better results.

An estimated 2300 schools (two and ...

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