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Jessica Helfand

Back To School




It is la rentrée, back-to-school time around much of the world this month, which involves a host of September activities — not least of which involves the selection of courses. Though generally considered a college ritual, our twelve-year old was recently asked to choose among a series of arts-related offerings at his school, which included everything from making mosaics to digital filmmaking.

To our considerable surprise, he elected to participate in none of these: instead, he chose Graphic Design.

I think his choice may have been inspired by the smart-alecky tendencies that befall many children of graphic designers: that is, he fantasizes that he will unsettle his teacher by impressing the class with his rarified knowledge of hanging punctuation, oldstyle figures and ligatures. ("If the teacher tells us to use Comic Sans," he whined, "I'll just lose it.") Nevertheless, this middle-school course description got me thinking: now that graphic design has become such an integral part of consumer culture, everyone makes things that involve words and pictures. Everyone takes pictures. Everyone thinks visually, from Facebook and Myspace (which oblige their authors to consider things like page composition) to YouTube, which offers a compelling — and arguably limitless — canvas for exposition. Graphic Design is everyone's business.

Yet once Graphic Design is introduced in the classroom, how do educational offerings differ? I soon discovered a fascinating diversity of approaches: from "the guiding principles of good visual communications" in Seventh Grade to "development of a verbal and visual vocabulary to discuss and critique the designed world" for Yale undergraduates. I found Introduction to Graphic Design offered to grammar and high school students, in community colleges, in extended-learning (read "night school") classes across the United States and Europe. Some classes focus on research; others on form. Some reinforce design principles by actively steering students away from digital means, while others see paper as an anachronism, opting instead for screen-based design methods as an expression of a more progressive paradigm.

Graphic Design remains today, as it has always been, a field requiring no professional certification. Which doesn't mean you don't need to enroll in a course to learn how to do it right. Herewith — and in the spirit of la rentrée — is an extremely random sampling. So shine those shoes, sharpen those pencils, upgrade that hard drive and sign up today. Who knows? Maybe you'll learn a thing or two about hanging punctuation.


Berkshire County Day School, Lenox, MA
Introduction to Graphic Design and Digital Art (Grade 7)
This class will introduce students to the guiding principles of good visual communications. The main focus, however, will be a series of lessons in Adobe Illustrator, the industry standard for creating artwork on a computer. Illustrator is the starting point for animations used in everything from games to movies. Students will learn a variety of tools and effects from Bézier curves to 3-D images to vector graphics. A portion of the curriculum will include both Photoshop and InDesign and how these programs, with Illustrator, can be used to produce everything from posters to books. The class will be project oriented and each student will produce a portfolio of work.

Maine College of Art, Portland, ME
GD 101: Introduction to Graphic Design: Letters, Logos, Symbols
Students are introduced to the process of designing letterforms and symbols. Emphasis is placed on learning formal and proportional relationships and exploring the expressive and abstract characteristics of type. Unique visual compositions in which typographic forms play primary roles in communicating ideas are created, while proper use of graphic design tools and materials are learned. Elective: 3 credits/semester; 6 hours/week. No prerequisite. A lab fee is charged; see rate schedule.

Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA
Introduction to Graphic Design
This course consists of two assignments — a poster depicting an historical period in the history of visual comunication, and a 'block' of four U.S. postage stamps. In both assignments, you will learn the various processes involved in making visual communication intended for print production. Form and content will be explored. Client expectations and intended audience will be discussed. Conceptual skills and technical/production procedures will be covered. This course is structured to facilitate your understanding of and participation in the process of making graphic design from initial choice of a topic through working stages to finished presentation.

Bronx Community College, New York, NY
Art 83: Intro to Graphic Design
Introductory course to Graphic Design, focusing on the relationship between image and type and the fundamental elements of page layout. An emphasis is made on developing students' conceptual and technical skills, artistic vocabulary, and professional presentation skills along with the use of a variety of media. Numerous projects and exercises throughout the semester range from the development of graphic icons to the design of promotional pieces. Students are expected to have a professional, serious attitude. Lateness and absences will not be tolerated; you must show up on time and to all classes. Assignments must be handed in by the deadline given and be up to professional standards; I expect you to treat your work with respect. This is a college-level course, designed to prepare you for a career in the commercial arts — you must be responsible, dedicated, and professional!

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Art 210: Intro to Graphic Design
Introduces the discipline and function of graphic design; explores the organization and structure of two-dimensional space as context for visual communication; includes practical exercises in visual perception, visual organization, and visual communication. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing in graphic design curriculum or consent of instructor; concurrent registration in ARTD 211 by students in graphic design.

Louisiana State University Shreveport/Continuing Education, Shreveport, LA
FA 210: Introduction to Graphic Design
Are you ready for a semester-long graphic design course? Fine Arts 210 is an LSUS credit course that has been opened for public registration. The course is designed to be an introduction to computer design programs and their use in graphic design and fine arts applications. Throughout this course you will explore the uses of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as they apply to both personal artwork and real-world design. You will also be introduced to the Macintosh computer and operating system.

Camberwell College of Arts, London, England
Introduction to Graphic Design/Short Course
This paper-based course steers clear of computers, as the emphasis is on pushing you to your creative limits — exploring ideas and producing images to communicate your message. A lot of hard work is expected both during and between the classes, as you learn about layout and typography, refine and discuss your designs. Practising designer Michael Aranow aims the class at those currently on the fringes of the design world and for people who are looking to build a portfolio for their art college application. Whatever your personal objective, you'll certainly develop a greater appreciation of the commercials, posters, logos and other images that are constantly competing for our attention.

Tacoma School of the Arts, Tacoma, WA
Introduction to Graphic Design
This course will introduce the role graphic design plays in everyday life and business. Our primary focus will be on strengthening your CONCEPTING SKILLS, VERBAL COMMUNICATION (through ongoing critiques), and your ABILITY TO DEVELOP CREATIVE SOLUTIONS within the restrictions of a given project.

Columbia College High School Summer Institute, Chicago, IL
Introduction to Graphic Design
Designed to expose students to the wide range of opportunities in graphic design, students will work on projects dealing with corporate identity, brochures, direct mail materials, posters, packaging, and exhibition design. Techniques and materials that are used in graphic design to communicate visual concepts will be explored. Students will be responsible for bringing their own supplies. A supply list will be reviewed on the first day of class.

Pennsylvania College of Technology/Penn State, Williamsport, PA
Art 210: Introduction to Graphic Design
Introduction to equipment, materials, techniques, and working methods appropriate to graphic designers and other visual designers. Discussion of employment opportunities and job classification. Experience with ads, logos, corporate needs, book covers, and restaurant menus. 3 Credits.

Thiel College, Greenville, PA
Art 240: Intro to Graphic Design
This is a course intended to give an introduction to computer graphics applications to the beginning art student. The course will introduce applications of graphic design, the tools of the trade, and the requirements of the industry. Emphasis will be placed on creative problem-solving skills, concept development, and traditional hand/board skills. The course will also introduce page layout software. Special emphasis will be placed on the aesthetics and functionality of the picture plane, as well as the basic types of images that are included in the organization of a layout.

Nuova Accademia di belle arti, Milan, Italy
Intro to Graphic Design: "Find Your own Sign"
This summer course is for beginners who seek an introduction to graphic design. Students will explore the links between urban communication and graphic design; examine the use of graphic design in the contemporary artistic and professional world; and develop a visual vocabulary and technical skills to generate successful images. Students will be guided to produce, edit and design a portfolio of images.

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Basic Typography Communication Design I
This is the first studio for students in the communication design program. Students explore the fundamental principles of typography, where type is regarded as an image that serves a variety of communicative purposes. Projects allow students to explore issues of form and meaning, hierarchy, legibility and readability, structure and composition, and the design process. While typography is a highly focused branch of communication design, this introduction to type as image serves to open a path for students to study all facets of communication design in subsequent courses. Students use both traditional materials and design tools as well as computers. Special tutorials provide basic instruction in software such as InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. In addition, we will also discuss some of the key figures, philosophies, and technologies that have shaped typography. The course will also include a demonstration of letterpress operation in the Design Department's Lab Press and a guided visit to the Hunt Library's Rare Book Room.

Yale University, New Haven, CT
Art 132: Introductory Graphic Design
A studio introduction to visual communication with an emphasis on visual organization of design elements as a means to transmit meaning and values. Topics include shape, color, visual hierarchy, word/image relationships, and typography. Development of a verbal and visual vocabulary to discuss and critique the designed world. Materials fee: $150.



Posted in: Education

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Comments [33]
isnt it a little too early to introduce graphic design? grade 7 seems a tad premature.
ahk
09.08.07
12:52

I worry the classes in grade school will focus on teaching "all the cool effects you can do in Photoshop!" as opposed to teaching basics of layout and typography.
Niki
09.08.07
01:25

University of Oregon
ART 115: Fundamentals of Basic Design*

Basic training for visual narration in the here and now. Tools taught include framal reference, amplification, tension, isolation, macro and micro, inside and outside, positive and negative. Emphasis on creating diversity in the cultural chorus, producing and executing under obstructions and limited resources, and conception of systems and experiences. Students will experiment, drift, scrutinize, map, investigate, et cetera.

(From my lecture notes as student in winter of 2005 and teaching assistant in winter of 2006. Things may be changing.)
Zach
09.08.07
04:18

I wonder how Leon Friend's class description would have read??

See Steven Heller's: Leon Friend: One Teacher, Many Apostles
Link

Now that is a class I would have liked to have in high school!!

hgLucky
09.08.07
04:56

Graphic design should be part of an expanded definition of literacy, and designers should be part of the conversation regarding how to teach basic communication skills. Instead, notions of literacy start with text, then add images and graphics, or with basic composition then secondarily consider notions of design. The two should be integrated, and indeed, a more provocative goal might be to think through the various media available to us, with graphic design being fundamental to the process... Graphic design is everyone's business, but many of us in education are still treating it like a fun elective instead a fundamental literacy!
Holly Willis
09.08.07
06:01

The ability for small toddlers to recognize logos and brands is a testament to their visual and verbal expressions even when we read it as our (bad, bad?) commercialization of products and services. It's adult reaction that assigns value some of the time in the wrong places.
nancy
09.08.07
09:20

i'm curious as to why course descriptions from art center, SVA, pratt, RISD or cranbrook are not on this list...

here's one from SVA's continuing education program (read "night school"):

Basic Graphic Design / GDC-2020-A
Everyone agrees that in design the concept is most important, and almost all recognize a terrific idea when they see it. But, can you learn to get good ideas? Are there creative thinking techniques you can practice? Are there rules to this game? Yes, yes and yes. It's what this course is all about. You will learn to develop interesting, imaginative, award-winning solutions to book jackets, brochures, packaging and mailing pieces with the ultimate goal of developing a portfolio. We will cover the basic presentation skills needed to sell your ideas. Home assignments, critiques, case studies, slide presentations and gallery visits are all part of it. Start-to-finish printing and production techniques are discussed with an emphasis on "getting the job done."

and from their undergrad course catalog:

Basic Graphic Design I / GDD-2020
This course is an introduction to the various aspects of graphic communication and will cover concepts, typography, layout and general graphic techniques. Note: Open to advertising and graphic design majors only. Any student entering the department as a first-semester sophomore in the spring 2008 semester must register for GDD-2020-W and all of the following summer 2008 courses: GDD-2220, Design Procedures; GDD-2230, Basic Typography Workshop; and GDD-2240, Basic Graphic Design Workshop. These courses must be successfully completed in order to advance to the junior year the following fall semester. Please refer to the Summer 2007 section of this book for course descriptions and contact your departmental advisor for summer 2008 course schedules.

from the descriptions, the night-school class seems the better choice... just sayin'...
random
09.09.07
10:54

i'm curious as to why course descriptions from art center, SVA, pratt, RISD or cranbrook are not on this list...

Because I had to stop somewhere. And I thought it would be more interesting to see our readers contribute some — just as you have.
jessica Helfand
09.09.07
11:23

In response to Niki "I worry the classes in grade school will focus on teaching "all the cool effects you can do in Photoshop!" as opposed to teaching basics of layout and typography."

I think grade school may be a bit too early to introduce kids to layout or typography! I teach Photoshop to the education sector (12-16 year olds in the UK mainly, exactly where shall remain unsaid!) and it's a confusing issue, mainly because a lot of "Art" teachers are not very good. Teaching can be remarkably easy to get into these days and in all honesty, anyone can become an Art teacher so long as they follow the path. Most of the teachers I work with have never worked as freelance artists, in a design studio or even sold a piece of art. Many haven't been to an Art School. In a way we have to teach the teachers first.

I digress tho. I have had many discussions with Art & Design educators and the common thinking is to allow kids the opportunity to gain an introduction to common graphic design tools such as camera's, photoshop, scanners etc. You didn't learn to how to spell before you picked up a pencil did you? So why should you learn about layout & fonts before you know how to find the move tool in Photoshop?

The kids generally do mess about with filters and terrible fonts but if truth be told I did the same when I first hit Photoshop in college (and I bet I'm not the only one!), perhaps we have to get the novelty stage out of the way at an early age. Let kids have some fun they will only find those features interesting for a short while, then hopefully as they mature they will learn how to use a computer appropriately for graphic design and we can steer them thru that.

I agree that a focus on the fundamentals of layout, form, colour etc is highly important but not at this level. These things should be introduced after a period of exploration. Remember you have to chose to become an artist (in the UK around age 14 you get to chose what subjects you want to study) and we don't want to scare kids with rules straight away. Art and Design should be fun with progression to challenges.

On a side note to the main article "impressing the class with his rarified knowledge of hanging punctuation, oldstyle figures and ligatures." I've worked in graphic design for many years and my knowledge of ligatures has never impressed a classroom or women or anyone who isn't a typophile! We're not rockstars people!
Anon
09.09.07
02:09

Anon, you couldn't get girls with your knowledge of ligatures?

Too bad.

It's how I got my wife and partner. And she's a beauty.

William Drenttel
09.09.07
02:54

Just a brief note to "Random": there wouldn't be any class descriptions from Cranbrook because that institution is unique in that there are no "classes" in any of the specific departments. (There are classes in Humanities and Critical Studies offerred as support to students in all areas).
lorraine wild
09.09.07
03:14

Niki,

I took one of those "look at all the cool effects in Photoshop classes in high school (the class was titled "Multimedia Arts," where one was taught Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, and Director). It was an opportunity to at least be exposed to something along the lines of graphic design, and piqued my interest enough to make me seriously consider attending college for Graphic Design. In college I learned what the profession really involved, but I never would have even taken a shot at it had it not been for that class.

Nowadays, having a class devoted to "designing your myspace page" could perhaps save at least one person from a seizure—or at least give students a fun reason to learn in class while exposing them to fundamentals of design rather subversively.
Derrick Schultz
09.09.07
03:51

I find Yale's course listing the most promising in terms of what it offers to teach:

"A studio introduction to visual communication with an emphasis on visual organization of design elements as a means to transmit meaning and values."

I find it a very precise description, involving what a graphic designer does at both micro- and macro-levels.
Manuel
09.09.07
08:03

Bill, I think my husband would agree with you about ligatures. :-)

I attended a local Facebook event on Friday and encountered several attendees who were obviously young enough to be my offspring: they were surprised that someone old enough to be their parents actually knew how to use InD/PhotoShop/Illustrator or could be an "editor." Gee, I didn't think I was that old.

And it used to be "I remember when there were 33-1/3 records....."

P.S. Jessica -- I'm going to make pesto from our basil this week. Not much, but there is some.
Linda M. Cunningham
09.09.07
10:28

A fun read, and one that brings back memories. My first introduction to graphic design was Sister Joseph at Omaha Nebraska's St. Bernadette grade school in 4th grade, and she taught us to all divide our loose leaf paper into 3 columns (holy trinity), and then 10 rows (ten commandments) so our math formulas would be distributed evenly across the page. (We had to leave a 1/4 interval between each column; and 1 line space between each written row.) This same nun also taught us calligraphy during 4th grade art classes. The grid + typography—what more could you ask for in a private school design introduction? I often wonder what her life would have been life outside of the sisterhood: either she'd be someplace in Basel or doing research on Mondrian and Rietveld for a PhD.
Tselentis
09.10.07
06:18

mommy daddy
can i work for your firm?
do i get paid unlike the interns?
can i take over after you die?
and keep your collection of ephemera?
thank you mommy daddy.
i'm lucky to be the kid of "famous" designers.
frank peters
09.10.07
09:26

My children, now 33 and 30 years old, chose not to do what their mother and father do. As children of a design office they were exposed from a very early age to design, what it is and what different design disciplines practice. They were also exposed to the expectations of "professional designers". They learned these things by osmosis not by instruction -- they are both extraordinarily talented people. I would have been thrilled if they wanted my collection of ephemera as they took over after my death. I encouraged my son to explore design or architecture when he started college. He walked through the architecture department and was very disappointed in the quality of what he saw, both conceptually and manner and sophistication of presentation. When he told me this I realized that growing up in a design office, which is different than growing as the child of a designer, advanced his expectations to the point that he could not experience the wonder and excitement of being a young designer ready to be filled with new ideas and techniques -- my bad.
Dan Lewis
09.10.07
12:20

To Mr. Peters: oh you are so right, what a shame to have a child express interest in graphic design. How perfectly awful. One can only hope that there are no minors around in your house to catch you reading such tripe as a design blog. Perhaps if they just keep their eyes glued to the television, they won't notice what Daddy is doing.
tarpitizen
09.10.07
01:35

I teach continuing education and high school preparatory courses for a small art college. Recently this summer I taught a week long intensive camp for interested High School students ranging from Freshman to Seniors, they spent in their mornings drawing, and afternoons in graphic design. For the most part, they had no prior knowledge or introduction to design, programs, or equipment used.

The courses objectives were: Introduce students to visual communication, through the fundamentals of layout, typography, color, and design procedure. It's an interesting balance between keeping them engaged with discussion/theory and also more immediate gratification of design applications. After four days and a few longer nights than they expected, they churned out a beautiful packing/branding project, of course I'm slightly bias to the end result.

I believe it is a disservice to limit High School students to Photoshop filters and leave out meaningful discussion on design elements, hierarchy and other such guiding principles. There's definitely a finite balance between teaching design, and inspiring young students to pursue design as a career. I regularly keep in touch with my past students, and always glad to receive feedback that they now look critically at the design which surrounds them.

And, on the side note, I've always found students at least gather a good laugh, from an over enthusiastic instructor whom obsesses over the nuisances of typography and design.
Bradford Wason
09.10.07
05:14

I was interested to read the U of Illinois course description, as a friend used to teach that and the description doesn't begin to convey what her class learned from her. But the overview in general supports a theory I've long held and still believe: that while anywhere can teach the 'how' (Photoshop etc), the only place to go to learn the 'why' is a university. I despair when I read of courses that profess to teach design when they're really teaching paint by numbers.
catherine
09.10.07
10:22

And here I thought the real observers and designers would be more interested in 3-d programs at the university level. I only went to a couple classes at a junior college and I really didn't learn anything new about design that I didn't already discover on my own until I took a class in 3-d manipulation. And I honestly think that had more to do with the character of the teacher. I would have discovered the same by just being his friend and conversing with him.

It was not the how or the why of Photoshop but the how and the why of him. That would have shone through in class or in conversation to the careful and the considerate observer.

Course, when Photoshop gets beyond its consumer/commercial use and into the realm of visual artificial intelligence, we may be seeing things differently in the mirror as we continue to recreate our selves.
nancy
09.10.07
10:58

My local high school offers a graphic arts class, and when the teacher was called for a year of National Guard duty, I was asked if I would be interested in taking his place. It was a great experience. The students ranged from 9th-12th grade and I was allowed to make my own syllabus. Of course, many of the students were most interested in Photoshop, and more than once I had to apply a "no glowing type" rule to the class. I'm excited and enthusiastic about design, though, and this was passed on to my class. We covered basic layout principals, typography, some design history, the role of the computer in design, and more. My best moment was when one of my students told me that he could no longer look at a magazine without noticing the layout and wondering which fonts were used.

Of course, 99% of my students weren't interested in going on to become graphic designers. But this class taught them to look at things in a different way, and really, isn't that what we as designers are always trying to get people to do? And for the 1% who found the door opened to a career that they hadn't known about, and a passion that they'd never investigated, how great for them!
Leslie Tane Hannus
09.11.07
12:14

Graphic design is rarely or poorly taught in most pre-collegiate or preparatory schools because art education majors (future art teachers) are not required, encouraged or even allowed to take design courses. Those course are reserved for the "professionals." We are fools not to develop the next generation of talent, or at least, create an appreciation in the masses of the complexities of the profession we love. They are begging for it, so why not give it to them?

If a child can learn to eat, walk, and talk at a point sooner than we imagine, they can learn to design. I guess I fall more on the side of Suzuki than Vingelli.
Jason W. Howell
09.12.07
10:42

I went to a college that adhered to a very strict Swiss-based mode of education (if you've read Bierut's Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design, you'll understand this). God forbid we tried to do anything on computer without appreciating the finer points of craftsmanship and design theory and process--all of which were taught very well to us in Drawing I and II and Design I and II. Everything freshman year was done by hand.

It's nice to teach kids to use Illustrator, but without having first teaching them the foundation theory and technique, the quality of the education is suspect. Knowing how to use a design program does not make you a designer.
Rachel
09.12.07
11:58

John Nordyke, a reader, emailed me to contribute this: I wonder how many graphic designers began their careers because of their boss's directive to create flyers by fax?
jessica Helfand
09.13.07
05:29

I did middle and high school at a school founded by philosopher J. Krishnamurti in India. At Rishi Valley, they unknowingly prepared us to think and live as designers.

The art department encouraged us to make crazy things like wooden stilts (and then walk around school on them).

Classes were often held under trees. we lived in a valley and hiked all over the hills. We did Batik, embroidery, clay, tie and dye, aeromodelling, kite making, painted murals.

We scaled down the solar system and mapped it out in school (the Banyan tree was the sun, the Dairy the Earth).

River systems were explained by observing the way mud morphed when it rained.

We made compost pits, grew gardens and cooked our rice using energy from parabolic reflectors.

We were encouraged to find out the names of all the trees and birds. We made musical instruments out of tree pods and glue out of rice.

We washed our own underwear, swept and mopped our rooms.

We had no exams till the 9th grade.

Rishi Valley has sister schools; Oak Grove in Ojai, California, and Brockwood Park in England.


Design preschool at its finest.



sagarika
09.14.07
03:12

'I worry the classes in grade school will focus on teaching "all the cool effects you can do in Photoshop!" as opposed to teaching basics of layout and typography.'

Response to Niki - I heard from many people that the community college in my city had "an amazing design program" and that "you should take graphic design - they have great teachers". I was disappointed to find that my classmates had the maturity of high schoolers, and the teacher actually used words like "It would look really cool if you just used this effect." The class was supposed to be about typography, but it turned out to be "look at all the cool things you can do with Illustrator!" Not once were ligatures talked about. Not once was kerning mentioned. It made me very sad, and it proves that your worry is true even in "higher" levels of education.
liquid06
09.16.07
12:09

How fortunate to have any art at a pre-college level.

Like Rachel, I came from a strict Swiss-based system. (Everything on a grid and a grid for everything!) One did not have any course with "graphic" in the title until after mastering the fundamentals of drawing and design (3 quarters each). Everyone in the department took the same fundamentals and only afterward did we split into fine art, art education, or commercial tracks. It was only in the last 4 quarters that one specialized in either illustration or graphic design.

A girl at the dog park was telling me about her typography class at a very expensive institution here in Atlanta. In my experience, "typography" was the class in which one actually designed a typeface (by hand). Her class, it turns out was basically an Illustrator class.

She said "All this ascenders and descenders and x-heights. I'll never need that once I start working."

When I exploded, I think I even scared her dog.
Michelle French
09.26.07
03:38

Our son indeed reports that in his class, they have started the year with Illustrator, learning to constrain perfect shapes by holding down the shift key: reassured that geometry still has a place in the design classroom, I inquired further, and was told that the only poster on the wall is one that reads: Practice Safe Design: Always Use A Concept. So much for pedagogical breakthroughs!
jessica helfand
09.27.07
12:47

And to think, we had to waste all that time cutting piles of perfectly crafted squares out of Crescent board before we could start making a "pleasing" arrangement on our grids. (One tiny knife slip and that square was a reject.)

I'm so glad that "option + drag" was not part of my design education.

Thanks for the post.
Michelle French
09.28.07
10:43

Psht, I was drawing skylines on a computer in third grade using the turtle graphics with the logo language. 7th grade is not too early.

A lot of people imagine a 7th grader and still see someone resembling a 4th grader, but now a days 6th and 7th grade is when people start becoming exposed to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and sex... We might as well expose them to computer art too, it's not like it can hurt. Actually, I became extremely interested in computer art and printed art (verses "look i have a pencil and a paper!") my freshmen year of high school, which is only 2 years away from 7th grade. Sophomore year is when I got my first access to a hacked copy of photoshop 5 and I haven't stopped since.

I really also wish media literacy was par for the course in the US.


(my first design course in college required us to cut and paste, with scissors, and glue... that was only 4 years ago...)
ammre
10.10.07
11:50

Nowadays? nahhh...13 years old is just a comng of age time.

Seventh grade is when I had to take that those mandatory aptitude tests which went on my permanent record. Years later after my paranoia set in, I read the fine print that some Psycholgical Company in New York were the researchers and data collectors of that stuff. That spatial aptitude test (1972) I aced in the 99 percentile as a girl. Kuder told me to be an architect.

The spatial ability starts growing from your childhood. Generally, male sex type activities; cricket, football, basket ball and computer games are considered stimuli behind strong development of spatial skills. However, the gender different is depleting with the passage of time.

Could be farming and landscaping as a child may help this, too, besides sports.

This test is probably the most difficult one in the series. It reflects an ability to deal with mathematical concepts at a high level. common knowldege no need to footnote

I didn't take Math past trig. Never became anything in our career driven world as a matter of fact.

nancy
10.10.07
12:19

Wow! I have never heard of graphic design classes being offered at any middle school yet alone even high school. I graduated from a high school in a relatively small farming community where we were lucky to have art as an elective class. I think that offering these types of classes to children at a young age is a great opportunity and these kids don't know how lucky they are. It seems as if quite a few people who have responded to this post think that this age range is way too young to be exposing to graphic arts. I disagree. Why not show our kids that there is so many other careers in art besides just painting and drawing. I think that art classes in K-12 education has always been based around the same old expected diciplines in drawing, painting, and pottery and has lead many kids into thinking that this is all that can be done in a career as an artist. I can remember when art was taken just as an elective because it was considered to be a blow-off class. I don't know if kids still feel this way, but I really wouldn't doubt that they do. It is a great thing that schools are finally realizing that today's kids need to know what types of careers are available to them in all areas and especially the arts. I am set to graduate in less than 3 months with a B.F.A in graphic design. I switched my major a few times before stumbling into graphic design. I pretty much came into the field without even knowing what it was and how I would immediately fall in love with it. I can't imagine how much better I would be if I had learned of this wonderful discipline when I was in middle school or high school . I would of taken full advantage of it. As I mentioned above, these kids are extremely lucky to have such programs so early in their academic careers.
Brandon Hart
10.11.07
08:41



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