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School of VISUAL ARTS MFA in Products of Design

Presentation : The Next Generation

Today's ready-to-use and free online tools like blogs and photo and video sharing sites make presentation boards and booklets nearly futile...and your clumsy roomate's orange soda won't stain in cyberspace. Whether you're sharing a hot new concept or just some good ol' classroom antics, tell your story proper and show every nitty-gritty detail in a well documented blog. Set something up in no time using Square Space, Blogger, Wordpress, or Tumblr to document the research, process, and final outcome of independent, group, and class projects. Archive photos and set up handy slideshow presentations using Flickr and mesmerize the masses by sharing ID-centric videos on Youtube or Vimeo. The best part is you can embed it all back in your blog. Divulge. Upload. Get to it!

How to Work the Design Blogosphere: Design Blog Editors Teach You How to Get Your Shit Published Online

"Dear Core"? "Dear Core Editor"? "Hey Core, I love you and I'm wondering if you'll publish my..."? What are the Do's and Don't's of sending your stuff in to design blogs? We asked the editors of 8 top design blogs for their advice. Most common advice?: No PDFs, and send a thank you note if they publish you. Here are some highlights from each editor. Read the full text of their sage advice here.

Tina Roth Eisenberg, Editor, swissmiss:

Prepare a potential 'post'. Chances of your suggestion being considered raise tremendously if you prepare a possible post about your suggested product/design/link. The blogger can then take that writeup as a starting point for a post. Do NOT send Microsoft Word documents, or PDFs. Everything should be in your email, ready for 'copy and paste'.

Heather Ann Snodgrass, Editor, JoshSpear:

Be nice. Make an effort to illustrate that you actually know the site and you're not so obviously spamming a bunch of different people at the same time—and, if you're going to do that, please learn to BCC your addresses. Be succinct, to the point and follow up a few days later if there's no bites. Just because someone doesn't respond doesn't necessarily mean they won't run something...but don't repeatedly email back if there's no interest after a week or so. That's annoying. You know what else is annoying? TYPOS. Maybe that's just the editor in me, but please at least use a spellcheck before you send out your stuff.

Josh Rubin, Editor, CoolHunting:

Offer exclusives. Send us something first and tell us you're doing so. Give us a chance to post or decline before moving on to the next site on your list. If you've been published already, tell us where and send us links.

Grace Bonney, Editor, DesignSponge:

Don't be afraid to ask for advice or for an editor to suggest additional sites to contact if your work isn't right for their blog. I really enjoy passing artists that aren't quite right for D*S onto other great blogs in the field that are more appropriate.

Harry Wakefield, Editor, MoCoLoco:

Get a website (I often recommend Coroflot, Blogger and Flickr—all free); Make sure your website has all your contact info, including a phone number (so Target, the NYTimes or Surface can speak to you directly)

Régine Debatty, Editor, We-make-money-not-art:

Design is design is design, right? Not necessarily. I write mostly about art, and sometimes about critical design and interaction design. So please target the blogs; don't send an email detailing your fantastic beige sofa concept to someone who only blogs about interaction design.

Jean Aw, Editor, NOTCOT:

DO make it clear what is a concept and what has gone into production. Half the crazy comments people write will assume that its already in production and that someone much richer than them is buying it. If it is in production and is available for purchase, make sure to link that. After all, you want people buying it, right?

Marcus Fairs, Editor, Dezeen:

Good work will get published no matter what, but there are three things that are important: images, images and images.

The Life of the Party: Working Your Net
By Alissa Walker

Right up there with going to class, doing your homework and changing your underwear at least every other day, networking is a skill that's absolutely critical to your budding career. Networking is the only way for people to associate a personality with your portfolio. It completes your brand experience, if you will. And in your case, it can make the difference between getting blown off and getting a job. Any wanna-be designers with visions of health insurance dancing in their heads would be crazy not to indulge in a little extracurricular mingling with others in the field. Besides—and this is good news for you—the drinks are usually free.

During the upcoming school year many of your peers will attempt to navigate the legendary social circles of their elders. The best of them will get a flurry of Linked In hits, a phone call or two, and possibly something we working folk like to call employment. The worst of them? Well, you've already seen them humping the podium after one too many Jagermeister and Red Bulls, tossing business cards at Yves Béhar while mumbling something inappropriate about his hair.

I'm not saying it's more important to go to the IDEO panel downtown than do your color study homework...but sometimes it's more important to go to the IDEO panel downtown.

If you already did that last week, don't worry—at least everyone will remember you. But if you'd prefer to network like a pro, follow these five simple rules. Soon you'll be the most popular employed designer in town.

Continue reading The Life of the Party: Working Your Net by Alissa Walker.

5 Reasons to Enter Design Competitions While You're a Student

There's nothing duller than looking at a student portfolio with nothing in it other than "student work." So how do you change it up? Well, enter a bunch of design competitions while you're in school, and you'll have a more varied mix. But that's not all. Here are 5 reasons why you should be entering design competitions while you're still a student:

1.

Preparing your entry will force you to create a well-crafted, well-produced "piece"—with great photography and great copy. Which means it's portfolio-ready.

2.

Even if you don't win, many competitions—especially online ones—publish dozens of notable entries. So you'll probably get some press from it, which you can screengrab and put in your portfolio next to the entry spreads.

3.

It's not schoolwork. Many design competitions have themes that are ambitious, progressive, and challenging, so entering them will give you a great opportunity to spread your creative wings. Especially if you find that a lot of your classwork doesn't possess these characteristics, go get it across the street.

4.

The fact that you enter design competitions sends the message that you're engaged in the design world beyond school. Which you should be.

5.

You may just win. And then that point about printing out press clippings takes things to a whole new level. "I see that you've won or been published in 3 magazines and on 5 websites since your Junior year?" Endorsements from judges and editors may get your interviewer to think a little more seriously about you, which is the point, right?

Keep It Classy 2.0

Rover applied for a job at a well-known consulting firm in NYC. His buddy Greg, whose face is cut off in this picture, was being considered for the exact same position. Who acquired the job after all?

Greg.

Despite Rover's excellent sketching skills, future-forward thinking, and awesome model-making technique, he overlooked the fragility of his presence in public 2.0.

Everyone likes to party, but it's best to leave the party at the party. You must remember that your profiles on networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are a reflection of who you are and are oftentimes accessible to strangers—this includes prospective employers. DIY background checks are easier than ever to execute, so it's an excellent idea to polish up your online presence.

Don't take the easy way out by setting everything to private. Take advantage of these opportunities to show your best attributes. (Don't worry, your friends still know you're a beer-guzzling booze hound on the weekends—you don't need to advertise it.) Be selective of who you accept as friends and think hard before you post. Let the world know what you've accomplished and what inspires you, exposing positive and likeable elements of your personal and professional self.

Google Yourself

Yes. Google yourself. Potential employers won't hesitate to Google you. Be aware of same-namers you don't want to be confused with. Make mention of unsavory search results having nothing to do with you.

While you're at it, feel free to add some profesh flair to your online comms. Set up a professional email address and screen name. catbutt87@hotmail.com is completely unacceptable and we can guarantee that professionals won't take chats with beer4me4ever seriously. When in doubt, use your real name or a slight variation.

Design Writing in Three Flavors
by Alice Twemlow

For some of you, the very decision to study design stems from a dislike for, or at least ambivalence toward, writing. And yet, more and more design programs are requiring that students write essays and theses as part of humanities or liberal arts classes—classes that in the end can account for up to a third of a student's credits. Some students are finding, to their surprise, that when it's directed toward something they are really interested in—themselves and their work, for example, or the world seen through a design-tinted lens—they are actually pretty good at writing after all.

Some students are finding, to their surprise, that when it's directed toward something they are really interested in—themselves and their work, for example, or the world seen through a design-tinted lens—they are actually pretty good at writing after all.

The designer who writes is hardly a new phenomenon, however. The tradition extends all the way back to design's emergence as a discipline. In Carma Gorman's anthology of writings about industrial design, which spans the years 1851 to 1999, none of the extracts featured are by writers who make their living by writing alone. Some of the pieces are by politicians such as Nixon and Krushchev, or manufacturers such as Henry Ford, but most by far are authored by designers. From Christopher Dresser and William Morris in the late 19th century to Le Corbusier, Eliot Noyes, Dieter Rams and Charles Jencks in the 20th, these designers expressed opinions and theories about their own work and their profession through the medium of writing.

Today, the vehicles for design writing and criticism are more abundant than ever before. As blogs, magazines, academic journals and newspaper column inches devoted to design proliferate, so do the numbers of designers who consider writing a key component of their toolsets. In addition to these publishing venues, there are other initiatives that aim to improve the quality of design writing and enrich design discourse. Among them are a new clutch of graduate programs in design writing and criticism in the US, Sweden and London.

As designers you can use writing in a multitude of ways. Here are just three:

Continue reading Design Writing in Three Flavors by Alice Twemlow.

Why You Should Start Your Portfolio Now

Most design students start putting their portfolios together at the end of their education—indeed, most schools offer their "portfolio class" during the final semester. Bad idea. What you should do instead is start your portfolio the first semester of your design education. Here're 2 whys and 2 hows:

Why #1:

Everything you will eventually want to put in your portfolio will be a)lost b)stolen c)broken d)all three. Bottom line: when you're ready to "put together your portfolio," you will invariably have nothing to put in it—it'll all be gone. So it's a good idea to capture your work as you do it, and put it into a format that can easily be tweaked later.

Why #2:

Internships. Design studios considering interns will be much more impressed with someone who has a book of work to show than someone who "learns fast and is a hard worker."

How #1:

Take pictures of every single thing you produce—no matter how lame or how useless you think it is. Digital pictures are essentially free, so it's really your time we're talking about. And you don't have a leg to stand on arguing that the 9 hours you spent on your prototype doesn't merit the 1/60th second to document it. Then, right before the final crit of a project, take photos of the finished design (see light tent). That way, you'll capture it before it gets busted or fingerprinted to death. Put all these photos into a clearly labeled folder on your computer (or flickr, or blogger, or whatever). Label them really well, 'cause you may need to navigate them in 3 years from now.

How #2:

Hire the best graphic designer you can afford first semester and get them to create a simple, clear, master template that you can simply "populate" with your work. Categories can be project title, description paragraph, glamour shot, process photos, diagrams, etc. When each project is finished, insert all the assets you've been gathering into the template, and then move on. Don't design it (it's already designed—that's what you hired out), just populate it. Your book will now be an evolving document that will give you great comfort and hopefully create some great opportunities.

(By the way, we know that nothing we can possibly say here will actually make you follow this advice. But ask any recent grad what they'd do differently and listen to them respond, "I wish I documented my work while I was doing it." Promise.)

Pimp Your Coroflot

There are many places online to put your design work, but we want you bad. Coroflot is an amazing place to find creative work (the "creative output" kind as well as the "creative paycheck" kind), and with tens of thousands of portfolios and hundreds of design jobs, you're sure to find what you're looking for...and be found.