What Does it Take to Become a Graphic Designer in San Diego?

Nearly 30,000 graphic designers work in California, the state with the highest employment level in the field 1.  We recently interviewed Scott Norton, program director for Graphic Design at Coleman, regarding the questions he most often receives about pursuing a design career in San Diego.

Do you need a degree to become a graphic designer?
Obtaining a design degree is important, as employers seek individuals that have mastered tools such as the Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, PhotoShop, Indesign), which is taught at Coleman. Students also learn fundamental design principles so that students have a working knowledge of the technical aspects of design. In addition, Coleman teaches digital imagery, web and multimedia, vector graphics and typography.

“The advantage of becoming a graphic designer is that the skills you obtain in the classroom can be applied to a wide variety of careers in advertising, web design or game development,” Norton said.

Throughout a student’s career at Coleman, the career services department, as well as graphic design instructors, are available to provide practical advice on creating a resume and developing a portfolio. In 2015, the College Scorecard, an interactive online tool established by the U.S. Department of Education to assist families with college decision-making, ranked Coleman “above average” for high graduation rates and high salary upon degree completion.

How difficult is it to become a successful designer?
“Successful designers make it their passion,” said Norton. “They are constantly working on projects, whether in class or at home. And, they capitalize on social media to help them with their networking.”

While employers still want to see the traditional artist portfolio in-person, the web has become the new tool in showcasing an artist’s talent. DeviantArt.com is the largest online social community for artists and art enthusiasts to display their photos, digital art or paintings. Those interested in comic book creative are flocking to sites like Penciljack.com and DigitalWebbing.com. Employers are utilizing the web, also, often turning to Instagram in search of the next big designer.

However, Norton believes that good old-fashioned networking is still critical for new designers, especially self-employed freelancers. “You never know when the next job opportunity will present itself,” he said. “The key is to stay active in the community, network with others and maintain a positive attitude.” If a client is pleased with your work, sending a hand-written thank you note and asking for a referral are gestures will help generate word-of-mouth about your reputation as a solid designer.

What if I’m not interested in a traditional graphic design job?
The growing popularity of comic-inspired movies, the annual Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, and a recent Washington Post story on record-setting sales for comic books in June, are inspiring a whole new crop of young people to pursue a career in this exciting industry. “The success of leading comic book artists such as Annie Wu and Tradd Moore, is the result of their working harder for longer than other artists in the field,” said Norton. “Comic creative is fiercely competitive, which is why I tell students to continue to take on traditional jobs and seek out networking opportunities that will lead you closer to your ‘dream job.’”

How would you characterize the current job climate for graphic designers in San Diego?
San Diego represents a large and diversified economic landscape. It is home to a booming tourism industry, military and civilian technology, more than 430 biotech firms, and 13 area chambers of commerce in that represent thousands of small businesses. This rich, diverse community lends itself to a myriad of job opportunities for graphic designers.

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About Scott Norton
Scott Norton is the program director for Graphic Design at Coleman University. He has been a freelance professional creative since Y2K and holds an MFA in Graphic Design. He lives and works in San Diego where he has dedicated his existence to supporting the growth of the next generation of great designers.

127-1024 Graphic Designers. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271024.htm#st

CW6 Comic-Con Art Contest

Scott Norton, Graphic Design Program Director at Coleman University, was live on CW6 News in the Morning today just steps away from Comic-Con. Scott was joined by Michelle Currier, winner of the CW6 Comic-Con Art Contest. Coleman University had the unique privilege to sponsor this great contest and we congratulate Michelle on her winning entry.

Coleman University’s Associate of Science Graphic Design (ASGD) degree immerses students in the fundamentals of Graphic Design and applied visual communication. Graduates of this degree program will possess key skills that individual students may leverage into a wide variety of career paths in print and web media, advertising, content development, entertainment and art. This program emphasizes the commercial application of design and is designed specifically to accelerate the professional success of the designers who graduate.

For more information visit our Graphic Design Program page.

 

Faculty Spotlight: Randall Cornish

Randall Cornish

Randall Cornish

Randall Cornish is an instructor in the College of Graphic Design at Coleman University. He teaches Graphic Design Principles, Layout and Typography.

Mr. Cornish has worked professionally in the field of graphic design since 1976. He is an award-winning educator who has been teaching graphic design part-time since 1998. He is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and an Adobe Certified Expert.

In 2016, he received an Award of Distinction (http://tinyurl.com/j5wfanr) for logo design from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts in New York City. In 2008, he received an American Graphic Design Award for poster design from Graphic Design USA magazine. Mr. Cornish is an honors and holds a degree in Visual Arts and Communications.

“As an educator, my dream is to encourage and inspire students to pursue excellence and unleash the power of their imagination,” says Mr. Cornish.

The Cybersecurity Club Gets a New Identity!

The Cybersecurity Club at Coleman University will henceforth be known as… Team Antikythera! You may be thinking, “Team What?!” and to answer your question, Team Antikythera is named after the Antikythera Mechanism, the earliest known mechanical analog computer. In ancient Greece, it was used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes, as well as the Olympiads; the cycles of the ancient Olympic Games.

Over 2,000 years later, the mechanism was discovered in a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, and now resides at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.

 

antikythera_photo

The ancient Greek-designed Antikythera mechanism, dating between 150 and 100 BC, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Like the mechanism, Team Antikythera is the first of its kind at Coleman University. Its purpose is to bring students together for the opportunity to gain real world, practical experience in configuring, defending and attacking computer networks.  As well as to facilitate open communication between participants of various backgrounds of experience.  This will help alleviate stress for new students while honing the skills of senior students and Alumni.  Participation in study groups for classes and IT Certifications, and Penetration Lab events will be a mainstay of the program.

After the name change, the next step for Team Antikythera to fully utilize its new identity was to create a logo. Instead of just a wordmark, an icon was preferred in order to incorporate some of the visual components of the Antikythera mechanism. The goal was to create an icon that could stand on its own, avoiding a direct illustration of the mechanism, while still displaying a clear connection to it. The most prominent pieces of the technical schematic were used, shown below, and the logo grew from that center element.

 

Schematic of the artifact's known mechanism (left) with elements used in design highlighted (right)

Schematic of the artifact’s known mechanism (left) with elements used in design highlighted (right)

Choices, choices, choices

Choices, choices, choices

 

After the two main circular & crossed shapes were isolated, smaller elements were brought in, and the mechanism was abstracted further. A lot of possibilities emerged, but Team Antikythera held the deciding vote in what was to be their new logo & icon. The team went with the one of the least abstracted logos, sticking close to the analog roots of their new chosen name.

 

Final logo for Team Antikythera

The final logo for Team Antikythera

 

For more information about Team Antikythera, please click here. If you are interested in forming your own student club at Coleman University, please speak with your Student Services Advisor.