Ways to Buy Adobe Creative Suite Software

August 15th, 2012 by admin

Adobe’s graphic design software has been known as an industry standard for years, if not decades, and is among any professional’s standard set of tools. Its price reflects that status, and is a daunting outlay for most prospective design students. Fortunately, there are ways to obtain legal, licensed copies of the Adobe Creative Suite on a graphic design student’s budget.

Many industry jobs require familiarity with various Adobe software products, so it is important to gain experience with them as a student. Some coursework will use products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign as tools for design projects, and the Creative Suite itself will be the subject of some courses. This makes purchase of the software mandatory, in the same way that classes require textbooks. Ownership of the software means that it is available for use at any time, which provides the student plenty of opportunity to become familiar and skilled with its use.

None of the above reduces the sticker shock that comes with the sight of the Adobe Master Collection’s $2,599 price tag. There are two things to keep in mind: there is no need to purchase Adobe’s full line of products, and there are significant discounts available for students.

Adobe features heavily discounted “Student and Teacher” versions of their software. The aforementioned Master Collection, for instance, is reduced to $799, a full $1,700 savings. Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium Student and Teacher edition omits the programs that are unrelated to graphic design, and its price is reduced from $1,899 to $449. The Design Standard version is further streamlined, and contains only Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat, but these may be the very ones required by a degree program. The Design Standard educational version is discounted from $1,299 to $349. Design Standard is the most affordable edition, but it is worth considering that the Design Premium edition includes the web authoring components Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks, which makes the extra $100 a significant bargain. These are not “crippled” versions with limited feature sets, but are the full versions of the Creative Suite programs, and are eligible for discounted upgrade pricing in the future.

These educational versions are easily obtainable at college bookstores, and often from online merchants, who will require proof of enrollment. They are also available directly from Adobe, who offer an extra option in the form of a “Creative Cloud” membership. Creative Cloud is a subscription service which gives access to the entire range of Adobe’s products. The products are installed to and run from the user’s computer, and can be used as long as the subscription is active. This service also is discounted for students, from $49.99 to $29.99. Individual CS6 titles are available in subscription editions, which can be an advantage if only one is required.

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Different Types of Graphic Design Careers

June 20th, 2012 by admin

Graphic design is a creative field filled with a wide range of varying career opportunities. Today’s technological advancements in computers, mobile devices, and the Internet has created a wealth of options that extend way beyond the printing arena. Currently, graphic design programs emphasize instruction on the new realm of visual communications and the sky’s the limit for graphic designers who demonstrate extreme talent. However, when you overlook the apparent never-ending list of potential job opportunities such as layout artist, illustrator, art director, brand identity specialist, or creative director, it all boils down to about five extensive sectors of job options for graphic design professionals.   To start, most design professionals attend one of the Graphic Design Colleges near where they live.  The five categories include:

Design Firms

In general, these organizations focus solely on graphic design and visual brand tactics. Varying in size, but commonly small companies with less than 100 employees, they provide specialized creative solutions for individuals clients. Some focus mostly on print projects and others on both print and virtual tasks. Design firms may be a good fit for graphic designers who enjoy creating logos, brochures, and product packaging and while the specific work environment varies by employer, these graphic designers commonly work independently.

Advertising Agencies

These types of employers generally offer clients a wide range of services including design, production, inclusive brand strategy, and media buying for all kinds of media such as print, television, radio, and Internet. The specific services vary by the size of the agency and smaller companies may concentrate on one particular service such as online marketing. Many small agencies offer complete services, but have fewer clients. Graphic designers employed by this sector generally complete projects that reach the eyes of a wide variety of people. This category is great for graphic designers who want to work with well-known brands and complete a vast range of tasks for numerous clients. These jobs are rewarding, but can be demanding due to the high expectations of clients, strict deadlines, and long work hours.

Publishing and Entertainment Sectors

The publishing and entertainment category is where the most graphic design jobs are located. The publishing field is made up of companies that generate both print and electronic publications including books, newspapers, magazines, and business directories. Graphic designers working for publishing firms commonly complete layout, photography, and advertising tasks. For the entertainment area, many production organizations hire graphic designers to create on-screen graphic content like motion graphic for title sequences. The scope of projects and working conditions will differ by employer, but companies in this category often seek graphic designer with expertise in print design, experience creating Internet graphics, and some Flash animation ability.

Corporate Organizations

A lot of small and large corporations use graphic design in their own marketing communications departments. Graphic designers working for these organizations often assist in the production of a variety of projects such as promotional displays, catalogs, annual reports, and training materials. Individuals who are seeking to just work with one client will find this area rewarding.


Graphic designers who are self-employed have the ability to choose projects, land their own clients, and create their own schedule. This sector is often stressful because it results in longer work hours and sometimes inconsistent pay. Also, a limited amount of people see designs, which may prevent these types of graphic designers from getting noticed. Many graphic designers choose to work for employers full-time and then do freelance work on the side for extra income.

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Utilizing Graphic Design in Business Environments

March 8th, 2012 by admin

For those who own their own businesses, it becomes clear after a short while that it’s nearly impossible to exist without a capable graphic designer. The world is full of clever advertising and targeted designs, some so subtle that it’s difficult to notice them. Truly, from the moment we wake up to the moment we rest, we see graphics. The world of graphic design has not only entered our businesses, but our personal lives as well.

Companies make use of graphic designers for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is for promotion. These promotional campaigns take the form of letterheads, business cards, websites, logos, flyers, banners, newsletter designs, posters, etc.

So, what exactly is graphic design?

Technically, graphic design communicates ideas and information to audiences via various graphical mediums. The term “graphic design” refers to multiple professional and artistic schemes that present information visually to a targeted audience. There are a multitude of methods used to combine text, symbols and images into a visual presentation. Marketing materials command the most need for graphic designers, as they need advertising in magazines, web design, etc.

The correct nomenclatures for those who work in the field of graphic design are “graphic designers” or “graphic artists.” These are highly sought-after individuals with a unique voice that create the amazing graphic designs people see in their daily lives. The reason these individuals are so sought-after is because they present the most effective ways to drive information toward consumers.

People who are looking for a career in graphic design typically go to a graphic design school or a specialty graphic design college. By performing a highly selective college search, one can weed out low-quality schools and go to the graphic design school that is right for them. This is an important step for budding artists as a good college search will yield the best graphic design college.

One final thing about performing a college search is that when looking for a graphic design school or graphic design college, a searcher must have a tangible goal in mind. Some schools are specifically geared toward advertising and marketing; others are more abstract and geared toward graphic design solely as an art form. The prospective student must have some idea in mind for what they are looking for before they begin the search.

What makes a good graphic designer?

  • A good graphic designer is adept at communicating a business’ message through creative design.
  • A good graphic designer builds confidence and trust within companies.
  • A good graphic designer participates in brand development.
  • A good graphic designer is also, at heart, a good advertiser. The graphic designer should enhance advertising images.
  • A good graphic designer builds unique artistic concepts.
  • A good graphic designer is straightforward and legible.
  • A good graphic designer has the ability to create extremely appealing and attractive designs.
  • A good graphic designer is, in a word, unique.
  • A good graphic designer makes use of physical, cultural, cognitive and social factors when executing designs.
  • A good graphic designer is punctual and participates in meetings with clients.
  • A good graphic designer speaks with creative and art directors while bringing their own market research into play.

Studies have shown that written communication is much less effective than visual communication. Emotion and importance are often much more easily conveyed through images. This is why graphic designers are important; they pour emotion into their work and make it evocative. If a graphic designer’s work can evoke emotion from a consumer, then they have done their job well.

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The Facts about Graphic Design School Portfolios

September 15th, 2011 by rebeccac

graphic-design-portfolio-TS_83286948If you’ve started thinking about going to graphic design school, odds are that you have several college possibilities and a lot of pros and cons to weigh. How do you choose which school and which program are going to be right for you?

Here’s one must-have element to move up the priority list: portfolios.

A good graphic design program is going to guide you in the construction of a final portfolio project that you can take out into the world to help you in your job search after graduation, so if you’re looking at a college that doesn’t include portfolio development in some capacity, you might want to look a little deeper before you sign any enrollment papers.

Okay – so what’s the big deal with portfolios?

One word: experience.

Maybe it’s not the same as having real-world, on-the-job experience, but since you’ll be fresh out of graphic design school, you’re just trying to get your foot in the door. A portfolio is a great, visual way to show potential employers what you’ve got to offer – your skills and creativity, what programs and techniques you learned during the course of your education, and how it all can benefit them. It shows you know your way around graphics and you can produce what they need.

It’s not a replacement for a resume.

Write that down, underline it, circle it with little stars because it’s really, really not. You still need to build one of those, too, and don’t short-change it or it won’t matter if your portfolio is a multimedia experience in 3-D. They’ll just toss it. The long and short of it is – when it comes to graphic design careers, it’s not enough to have JUST a list of education and skills or JUST a photo book of your creations. The best way to sell yourself is to present a clean, professional resume and then show them evidence of everything you can do.

The next question then becomes: what’s the best way of putting your portfolio pieces together? There are a few different options:

  • Print book: Something professional-looking and neatly bound, with a nice cover and easy-to-turn pages. Nothing too gaudy, and black background pages are usually your best option to set off the gorgeous visuals you’ve created.
  • Website: Probably best to get a professional domain (your first and last name, if you can swing it) rather than using a free site like Yahoo or Geocities. It’s a small investment for your professional future and lets you keep things ad-free. Display your portfolio pieces as a page of thumbnails so that a potential employer can dictate which images he or she wants to see and what order to see them.
  • DVD: Provides the tangibility of a print book with the digital formatting of a website. Especially handy for potential employers who want to see it digitally but might have a slower Internet connection or older browsers.

If at all possible, put your portfolio in all three of these formats to give yourself flexibility. More traditional print-based companies are going to want to see the book, but interactive and multimedia companies will likely be more dazzled by a DVD or website presentation.

7 important tips for your graphic design portfolio

Almost as soon as you enroll in graphic design school, you’ll probably want to start thinking about the future of your portfolio. It’s not a stagnant project – it’s something that develops and changes over time, so here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to put one together.

  1. Edit. Just because you worked hard on every piece doesn’t mean that every piece deserves top billing. If something really isn’t the best show of your skills, then chuck it – you should really only have about 10-12 pieces total. Throw a bunch of mediocre stuff in the mix, and odds are a potential employer is more likely to remember the not-so-good fluff than your stand-out creations.
  2. Don’t go overboard. It’s great to have a big, vibrant personality, but when you’re presenting your portfolio, it’s important to keep it professional. Resist the urge to over-embellish it or to buy that fantastic multi-colored presentation book. Black may be boring, but it’s a great background for design. Keep it simple and sleek.
  3. Embrace variety. You may love working with typography best, but odds are that the jobs you will be applying for will require much more than that. Make sure your portfolio shows not only your best, but also your most diverse selection of work.
  4. Label. Probably the simplest part of the portfolio process – label your works. Nothing too big or distracting, just something noting the client or project name, your role in it, what software you used, and a very brief explanation of why this piece is important in your body of work.
  5. Get another opinion. Almost no one is able to look at their own work absolutely objectively, and that makes editing very difficult. A second (and third and fourth) opinion can give you a fresh perspective on your portfolio and help nail down what works and what doesn’t. Find people, like your instructors, who will be honest – not friends and loved ones who already love everything you do.
  6. Keep it current. Design evolves like everything else, and oftentimes, much faster. Make sure your pieces reflect your developing skills and experience. Most likely that piece from one of your first classes two or three years ago isn’t going to age well, so adjust your portfolio to keep things up-to-date.
  7. Stay flexible. Every potential employer is going to be looking for graphic designers who meet their unique needs for the position, so allow yourself the chance to adjust your portfolio accordingly. Do some digging on the company, find out everything you can, and then present the pieces that best match their aesthetic and where they’re headed.

If you’re looking into a future in graphic design, a portfolio is going to be absolutely essential, so make sure in your college search that you’re looking at schools that make it a priority. A great portfolio will not only give you a leg up in the job search, it will also be a visual testament to everything you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.

Ready to start looking for graphic design colleges? Begin your college search at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also start searching by zip code.

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What Is The Point Of Graphic Design?

June 9th, 2011 by Clifford

Graphic design is a study of concepts portrayed through animation to explain another perspective on graphic design. The point of graphic design is to communicate a message or other form of information. Graphic designers have many tools at their disposal, such as images, typography, and page layouts. Each of these elements is utilized in to demonstrate its function in graphic design, from the Mona Lisa image used to illustrate the word “masterpiece” to the whimsical font used throughout the presentation. The video’s font, for example, gets across the point that the author’s more extreme pronouncements about graphic design are probably tongue in cheek. The ability to communicate this kind of message with a simple font is of course a clear illustration of the power of graphic design.

Also, it is explained that graphic design can be a demanding profession and one that takes much out of people who work in the field. Dedicated graphic designers can be haunted in his or her sleep by colors, lines, shapes, and textures, which he or she has an overwhelming urge to transform into illustrative works of graphic art. Finally, if someone wants to know what graphic design is really like, he or she should stare into the sun until he or she goes blind. While based on the use of the graphic design elements in the video, such as a winking Mona Lisa, we can see that the author’s extreme perspective is not to be taken too seriously, the video does get across the viewpoint that graphic design is not just the mechanical use of fonts, layouts, and other graphical elements, but a form of artistic expression that can be just as consuming as painting or sculpture.

How to learn more graphic design concepts

US College Search is dedicated to get you started in your new career. Either Search By Degree or Search For College By State to get started on your search.

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Graphic Design Career Tips: A Day In the Life of A Graphic Designer

June 9th, 2011 by Clifford

graphic designer’s day is spent interacting with various people via e-mail, fax or even physical mail. Even after preparing a roughly drafted design, for example, a designer will fax a copy of the draft to the client hoping to narrow down their exact design needs and the direction of the project. A heavy focus on the communication process ensures that a good graphic designer has a complete understanding of his or her client’s expectations regarding the finished project. Time is also spent communicating with vendors who create and process client’s requested projects. It is also spent with representatives who work directly with the client.

Getting your degree in Graphic Design can be easy if you start in the right place. US College Search is dedicated to get you started in your new career. Either Search By Degree or Search For College By State to get started on your search.

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Graphic Design and How To Create Trade Show Displays

May 20th, 2011 by Clifford
Graphic Design and Trade Show DisplaysInfograph courtesy of MonsterDisplays.com.

Trade Show Displays

An indispensible part of graphic design is creating trade show displays. Unfortunately, many graphic designers are not properly educated in college on how to design trade show displays, not to mention make them completely ineffective. The goals of these displays are expanding awareness, creating leads and making sales. They provide a company with an opportunity to display what they can provide to potential customers. However, a trade show display is not all about showing off products and services; it is about developing and showing off the personality of the company.

Trade show displays should be eye-catching, but creatively and skillfully designed. Many companies seek out the services of professional graphic designer and marketing strategists to develop their trade show booth. The fine details of a display can make all the difference. Even color schemes and fonts are carefully considered by those who understand the importance of the trade show.

Research shows that 76 percent of trade show attendees choose the vendors they will visit before entering the show. This leaves less than one-fourth of attendees who are undecided, meaning attracting attention is very important. Research also shows that many businesses do not take trade shows seriously. Only 20 percent followup on the leads generated through the show.

Types of Trade Show Displays

Many types of trade show display are possible. The following are the most-used types:
• Tabletop – This display requires very little labor to setup. The table can be used for branding with custom covers.
• Banners – Banners are used in conjunction with pipe frames or specialized stands.
• Modular exhibits – These are some of the most complex exhibits. They use standardized structure, but can be reconfigured in many ways.

Career as a Graphic Designer

It is important to remember how much goes into a trade show display. To start finding out more about how to be a graphic designer career, go to USCollegeSearch.org and pick graphic design in their by degree section.

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Web Presence Businesses Need A Graphic Designer

May 11th, 2011 by Clifford


Business owners who start online marketing campaign with limited budgets, soon find themselves doing all the work. From developing the marketing strategy to the actual building of a website, their business reputation then suffers due to the new site not being up to the standard expected of a successful online business. In fact, the problems will not stop there because the business will at some point need to take time away again whenever they need to further expand or develop their website. That time away from their business could be money lost.

Business owners should take note of this. Their website represents their business and while it may have been successful in the little league, moving up to the majors is a big step. The unique thing about the internet is that people cannot see or speak to you in person. So, their website is their first impression. To become the most convincing site owners must learn to utilize innovative website design.

When starting your business there was probably little in the way of resources or capital as well, but making the conversion to an online business is difficult and business owners should feel safe to pay someone to provide their expertise. However, there is more to engaging a website than hiring a designer to complete everything you don’t want or know how to do.

Hiring a website designer means that owners don’t have to worry about learning to code pages or to fix faults when they occur, the designer is responsible for that. The web designer will also be able to find any problems and fix them faster. Learning these graphic design process is easy with the right education. To become a graphic designer or learn more about this degree, go to USCollegeSearch.org and select graphic design.

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Graphic Designer Tool Kit: The Right Computer

May 11th, 2011 by Clifford

With the arrival of desktop publishing and graphic art software applications, like Adobe Creative Suites, there is a new generation of designers who have been trained to use a computer in order to manipulate images and designs. Computer graphic design has enabled designers to instantly see the effects of layout or typographic changes immediately. Designers also benefit from computers when it comes to simulating the effects of traditional media without requiring a lot of time and resources. However, traditional tools such as pencils or markers are still used for finalization of large projects. Also, a designer or art director may hand sketch numerous concepts as part of their creative process.

Computers Are Graphic Designer’s Best Friend

Computers are considered an indispensable tool in the graphic design industry. Computers and software applications are generally seen by creative professionals as more effective production tools than traditional methods. Every day it seems the days of drawing boards, Letraset dry transfer lettering and Rotring pens are getting further away from the graphic designers everyday arsenal of tools.

Graphic designers are not IT experts and buying a computer for graphic design work can often be a confusing and expensive exercise. Of course, if we all had an unlimited budget, then the shopping process would be easy. It would simply be a case of buying the most expensive Mac or Windows computer, load it up with the newest Adobe Creative Suite and some 3D applications, plug in a set of 24” monitors and we are ready to go.

Where A Designer Should Start

But few designers can afford to do that. For most creative professionals, budgeting for new equipment is a question of balancing dollars against the pros and cons of each upgrade. There are exhaustive buyers guide to specific hardware and software, but computer specifications change daily, so a designer’s requirements are always changing.

We recommend concentrating on the basic principles that graphic designers use and build from there. After that, we recommend doing a lot of research and price comparison. We also recommend asking lots of questions of other designers and in places like the graphic design forums. If you are starting your process in becoming a graphic designer or want to know more about this degree, go to USCollegeSearch.org and find graphic design.

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What is Graphic Design?

May 11th, 2011 by Dustin
Become a part of history, enroll in a graphic design career college.

Graphic Design in the beginning

The history of graphic design stretches back all 18,500 years ago with the appearance of the first known cave-paintings. In the subsequent generations since its inception, graphic design has grown to influence everything that we do in business as well as our personal lives. This has led to a high demand for graphic designers who need a solid graphic design degree program at a graphic design career college.

A Step Forward in Design

The advent of linguistics and the use of text to express ideas to others was a significant step forward from the original and primitive cave paintings. The marriage of text and imagery has allowed for the design of not only logos and corporate brands, but also the design of everything that we use in day to day life. Over time, graphic design has come to be the source for almost every major advancement in the developed world. Even current events and brands have begun to hearken back to those older and more primitive designs as a way of expressing reverence for those that have come before them. Any graphic design degree program or more complete graphic design career college can provide copious amounts of information on the growth of this interesting field. To start your process go to USCollegeSearch.org and head to their graphic design by degree section.


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