Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Now's your Chance to Rant

I was reading a great post here at Speak Up regarding what experience a design instructor should possess. It started me thinking once again about a persistent subject in our field. Namely, what is currently being taught in graphic design programs in Canada.

Time and again I hear colleagues complain about how prepared this or that young designer is for their position. To find someone with a three year program on their resume, yet who has never even opened Quark, is not as uncommon as we would hope.

My design education was pretty great. I had instructors who encouraged us to think about design in new ways, fellow students who I worked closely with and who taught me more than I could learn in class alone, and while learning specific programs wasn’t the main thrust of the courses, I certainly wouldn’t have gotten very far in my degree if I didn’t know them inside and out.

The one major difference between my course work and my professional work however, was the luxury of time. In school, most projects have an unlimited budget. Also, we never had to worry about our hours. We put in enormous amounts of time on a project without worrying, and we only had a few projects to focus on at once. Professionally, time is precious. No longer do we have a month to work up concepts. And if we do, it’s done in conjunction with a dozen other projects. While good for creating a portfolio, the timeframes given in school did not prepare me as well as they could have for the pace of the real world.

That is my experience. What is yours? What was great about your school? What did your educations lack? Creative directors: what do you want to see more of in university educated applicants? Instructors: how have you, or how are you, striving to improve the education of tomorrow’s graphic designers in Canada? What is the difference between a graphic design education received in Toronto, Alberta, or Halifax?