A Thought on Design Schools

Hey guys! How was your yesterday? Ours was spent driving all the way to the city (an hour’s drive away) to hand in my visa application forms at the immigration, only to find out we’d missed a handful of other forms and documents! So we’re still not settled down, no.

Anyway, as most of you know, I’m currently enrolled in an online diploma course under the Interior Design Institute. These images are mood boards I made for the ninth assignment:

Living Room Study Dining Room Kitchen

I passed them yesterday, and the last three modules are the modules I’ve been most excited about. They’re about how to listen to our clients and create the environment they desire, how to communicate accurately, and the last one, how to set up our own business.

These are the three modules I’ve looked forward to the most, and for good reason: they weren’t given emphasis at all back in school. It is sad to learn that most design schools don’t give importance to the business aspect of being a designer.

I just started on a new book yesterday—Work for Money, Design for Love by David Airey.

Chapter 2 (Never Stop Learning) started with: “Design school most certainly does not teach you everything. That’s why you, as a successful designer, must be a lifelong learner.”

Then deeper into the chapter, “I sent out a call to design graduates about what they wished was included in their courses of study.” Their answers have to do with the last 3 modules of my online course:

“Design school teaches you how to talk to other designers. There needs to be an entire course on talking to people who are not designers.”

“I’d love a class that teaches how to be diplomatic with people who don’t know anything about design but think they do.”

“If you don’t know how to interact with clients, or even close a sale, your talents are going to be restricted. No clients = no designing.”

“At least one design class should pair each student with a business seeking a new visual identity, with the students then taught how to ask intelligent questions, prompting the business to reveal its vision for the new look.”

“It’s important to learn the difference between a gorgeous solution and an effective one.”

“I feel like certain clients abuse designers. There needs to be a class to learn how to deal with them.”

“My course was outstanding at teaching us design, but lacked in teaching us how to run our own business.”

“I would include some sort of discussion or lecture on pricing.”

I’m relieved to know that it wasn’t just my school. Most of all, that I’m not alone in thinking that we didn’t learn everything we needed to know before we stepped into the design industry! (I thought I was just being too meticulous.)

So to all you design graduates, you’re not alone. And to all you who are still in school, I encourage you to go out of your way to learn these things. Or better yet, why not talk to the head of your college to organize a thorough lecture on these topics? Having communication skills is absolutely necessary, no matter what type of industry you’re in.

I hope I learn these things in the following modules anyway! If not, I’m sure David will go deeper into them in his book. Regardless, I will write about the valuable insights I’ll be learning from the rest of the modules and the book.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

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