Have you ever stopped and looked back at a specific part of your life? Every now and then you are more than likely to have that moment of epiphany and a part of you wish you had done things differently. Looking back at my education as a Graphic Design student with what I now know; I believe the Graphic Design program in most universities should evolve.
To be fair my professor from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), John Motz of MotzArt & Design always tried to instill the value into us about our work. One of the values he always drove home was selling ourselves (our design, since it represents us) as though we were dealing with a real client. Some students came to perceive him as this mean person, when they were held accountable for poor choices.
Having lived in California now for the past ten months, I have come to realize through my unsuccessful job hunt so far, how fierce the competition is. What is more of a burden is the amount of expectations placed on Graphic Designers to be marketers. We were always asked to specialize in a field of visual communication. Yet, most of the job posts out there expect you as a designer to know HTML, CSS, social media and other marketing strategies. The irony is that John didn’t really care for social media like Facebook, as being that relevant to a business’ success. Maybe he has changed his mind now.
With the knowledge of these expectations on designers, I have taken it upon myself in my spare time to learn about websites like Wordpress, Weebly and Wix. I have also subscribed to newsletters from marketers giving away free tips on things like SEO and social media practices that can help boost a business. I even have my peers in other fields asking me about these things and now I can at least explain it to them and even help them out in some ways. Which brings me back to the point of this blog; that Visual Communication and Design programs in Universities should start to incorporate marketing as part of their curriculum.
Why should Universities do this? Well, because the game has changed, the stakes are much higher now in this dog-eat-dog world of the work force. For all the money we pay for higher education. It pays off when we are hirable upon graduation. Let’s face it, a lot of non-designers out there have access to our soft wares and tools we use and are giving away their services for cheap and in the process hurting the true designers.
So, at the end of the day we need to ask ourselves, what use is a beautiful logo, website, brochure without the effective marketing strategies that will generate income growth? How are these marketing strategies being used in the design of Senior Thesis Exhibition? What classes must be eliminated while being replaced by marketing or business ones that actually work in real world. In hindsight despite the efforts instructors put into bridging the gap between education and the work force, once you are out there you can’t help but look back and realize that perhaps your education was missing something.