I’ve been, and probably still am, judged by the art school I attended. Of course, a lot of people are most likely after graduation. And all that I’ve learnt, and proven right, is the school you attend will not set you up and your creative career.
Let’s go backwards a little bit. I went to the Art Institute of Vancouver in 2010 after a couple years at SFU. No, it was not my first choice. Long story short, I didn’t get into Emily Carr’s communications program, and I didn’t get into Capitano’s IDEA program. And I will admit, I was fucking disappointed. There are a lot of good designers that came out of there. I cried (hah!). After accepting the rejection, the Art Institute had just offered a new 3 year Bachelors of Design program. It seemed like the next best choice unless I was going to move. So I applied and got accepted straight away.
What does a good design school do for you? It will definitely expose you to some of the right people and opportunities. I remember reading about successors from Rhode Island School of Design and Parsons…but I was so doubtful. If I couldn’t get into Emily Carr or Cap in Vancouver, how the hell could I in the USA? Also, at what cost?
So I started AI.
It was time to accept fate and give it a chance. By the end, it was a bit of a joke. There were a lot students at AI that clearly didn’t care to be there or really didn’t try to do their best. I had professors eventually stop critique for 90% of the class, knowing they weren’t going to do the majority of the work. At AI, you don’t need a portfolio to get accepted, the entire school is just another corporation, it’s stupid expensive and I questioned some of the staff. And through all the bull****, it helped making friends (with whom I’m still very close with) that were as corky as me, open-minded and tried 100%—which actually made us work even harder. I’ve had students I’ve never met, asking about myself and the teachers that still about us. It’s actually really nice and encouraging.
When I graduated.
I’ve been interviewed in the past by a couple reputable Creative Directors in Vancouver and they had told me, “Your work is much more sophisticated and polished than those of the usual Art Institute grad". Uh huh? "Thankfully you added a couple samples in your email". Oh really? "We typically like Cap and Emily Carr grads”. Thanks…I guess. And even with a compliment slipped in here and there, I still didn’t feel confident they were going to judge me solely based on my portfolio. I’ve even had end in the following, “Well, I’d love to bring you on but sometimes it's hard to trust new comers. They want to take time off right away to vacay with their boyfriends”…let's pretend that wasn't sexist at all. lol. When I was interviewed by my current employer, he brought up his own similar experiences and issues, and that made me feel I was in the right place.
Your quality is work is only up to you and your education doesn’t dictate your life. Keep working hard, surround yourself with the right people and the right community, get critiqued, and be design-involved outside of 9-5.
Who said it best? Get some Good Fucking Design Advice.