February 22, 2013
Excerpt from Graphic Design in Education book I’m writing.
I’ve been writing this book for what seems like an eternity. Mostly as a way to cleanse myself from bad experiences and as a tool/warning or example of what to do or what not to do, what to expect or what not to expect from the field of Graphic Design in Education(online and offline).
Sure the book is mostly comprised of opinions, experiences and strong feelings I do my best to keep it as educational and objective as possible. I have to be fair to both parties involved in this game of chess after all… I got a lot of experience and knowledge out of the whole process. My goal is to impart if only some part of that knowledge to the ones that follow.
Some of us still like a book here and then but in reality most “techies” will focus on the internet to get their reading, their information and their “facts” right.
How does this pertain to our cause… who’s cause? The graphic designer cause. Usually the graphic designer is thought of as the guys that mess around with the colors, the size of the fonts, and places funny graphics and images on the stuff someone else writes. As basic as that description is it clearly depicts the ignorance of our clientele into what we actually do. Most if not all the fault on this matter falls on the designers themselves but that is a big enough issue for another book.
Let’s focus more on the pressing matter. Online education and how the graphic designer’s job is to make it more effective and useful.
First of all let me get this out there… education is a terrible place to be for a graphic designer. Not because they can’t do it but as as our friend Albert Einstein used to say… “The problem with learning is education.”
A graphic designer in education has one of the toughest jobs out there and here’s why:
- Not only does your employer not understand to the fullest what you do they also have a tendency to think you don’t have anything to do most of the time.
- Your supervising officer usually has nothing to do with art, design or even marketing for that matter.
- The timelines and goals are greatly underestimating the time it takes to make anything in this industry.
- If your lucky they pay you by hour… most of us are not that lucky and they have you as what they call “exempt employee” which is a renamed version of slavery with a ridiculously low but “stable” salary.
- Usually because of the previous statement you don’t have time or energy left for a life (those who get one) and/or for freelance jobs which most of us use to balance the scales.
Trying not to be overly negative here, there are some advantages to this:
- You get a chance to change someone’s life (or several someone’s) if you’re really good at what you do.
- You get the chance to make a difference in the end.
- You get (in most cases) access to cheap prices when buying programs and equipment which is something not many people seem to be aware of. (.edu emails and credentials can get you great discounts on software and some hardware)
- You get to beef up your skills and portfolio since the education industry is constantly in need of something you can do.
- You have to force yourself to be a few steps ahead of your employer in research and development and new techniques that eventually will make you a better designer and a more flexible freelancer.
- You get to meet interesting people what will add some flair to what you do and may even complement you on how creative this or that you made is. (support group)
Those are basically some of the challenges and the rewards of working in education as a Graphic Designer. This is not for the faint of heart. This is not for the impatient, unless of course you actually want to develop patience in the process. This is not for anyone who doesn’t want to get better at what they do and work hard while learning new things that enrich their skills
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I’m hoping on finishing this book by the end of the year provided nothing out of the ordinary affects my progress.
I hope it is of great use to the graphic design community and that it inspires more creative interactions in education so that we can all work together for a better future.