Trying to determine the best route... any advice??

dpants
dpants
Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum. I'm looking for some feedback on some things I've been thinking about lately... here goes:

Once upon a time I fancied myself a graphic designer. Way back in high school I taught myself a good bit of Photoshop and had fun making small logos and such. I really enjoyed tinkering with different fonts. I had wanted to attend school for it but at the time there weren't a whole lot of schools in my area offering programs.

As it goes, life happened and I've just been plugging away at regular ol' full-time jobs over the years. I've always been a creative person, though, and I've felt that in order to feel content in a job I should be doing something where I can be creative.

So here's my idea and my "fork in the road" so to speak: I would like to get back into graphic design/typography. Ideally, I would like to be able to start making/printing invitations/cards/prints and things like that and selling them on Etsy. I don't plan on being able to jump from a full-time job to that but I'd like to be able to make a little extra and see where it goes.

The "fork in the road" is HOW I go about doing this. One option is to go to school. I know of a good, small arts school I could attend and get done in about two years while still working. The downside to this is the tuition costs.

The other option is to try and wade through the countless tutorials/online classes for graphic design. While that would be a free option, it's kind of daunting to filter through everything online and find what would be useful for me. I'd also have to guide myself and that can be difficult.

Either way, I know I will have to invest in a solid computer as well as design programs. That brings me to my next question: What would be the best design programs for me to use for things like typography and the like? What type of computer setup would I need?

So that's about it. Either spend the money on school and be guided by professors and end up with a boat-load of loans to pay back... or, try to figure it out on my own and still have to invest in a good computer & program set up?

ANY sort of advice is greatly appreciated and whoever read through all this, I thank you and also apologize for the length, haha. Thanks!

Comments

  • calder12
    calder12
    Senior Member Posts: 13,398
    Education
    It depends a lot on what type of student you are I think. If you're the type that can buckle down, take advice and do the work then the online way is a good choice. If you're the type that's easily distracted or requires structure the school way is the better choice.

    I am not a designer, but as a developer I am completely self taught. There are times in life where that leads to a bit of impostor syndrome, and times where I think "if I went to school and really did the basics would I be doing this in this manner?". At the end of the day though I am good at what I do and get the job done for my clients.

    A real education is never a bad thing, so I guess if you can swing it without seriously affecting your quality of life do it.

    Computer
    You're going to hear from everyone that you need a Mac, and we have been down this battle road so many times I'm loathe to start it again. That being said, for design of what you want to do, it makes zero difference. You're likely going to want an Adobe full subscription, since you'll want Photoshop and Illustrator. There are cheaper/free alternatives, but industry standards still say you want to stick with those two.

    And when it comes to that software, what matters is power and not much else and you're going to get a lot more bang for the buck with a good Windows machine than a Mac (notice I said good, buy a $400 laptop and expect issues, buy Dell XPS or HP Spectre and you'll be fine. The price is going to be similar but the power will be significantly more. If you were doing development I'd honestly say get a Mac Book Pro without question. For design alone there's little benefit.


    At the end of the day though if this is all just to sell things on Etsy, this is all way too much investment that you'll be hard pressed to get back. I'd honestly suggest just getting an Adobe subscription ($50 US a month) and learning and experimenting for at least a few months. If you still really enjoy it then make the investment. Even self taught between a decent computer and the Adobe subscription you're going to be out $600/year and likely $1,500-$2,000 for the computer.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,733 edited August 2016
    Get a cheap Mac with at least 8 gig RAM, learn how to learn online, but find inexpensive traditional in-person classes too.

    I don't know how Adobe student discounts work these days, but research that and see if you can enroll in a class and get Photoshop and Illustrator for a discount.

    Take a semester or 2 of low budget community college courses (beginning Photoshop and/or Illustrator would be fine), leverage all the student discounts you can from that for software and stuff, then decide if you want to go to an expensive art school.

    But again learn to learn online. In these areas you never stop learning online.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,733
    re: Mac or Windows

    If you're comfortable and/or invested in Windows, stick with it. If you're at a crossroad here, and can go either way, go with Mac. You pay a little more for hardware but it saves you many headaches. There are very good reasons why Macs are prevalent in creative fields.

    The main thing is RAM, you want at least 8 gig. It doesn't matter much if the system is old and slow as long as you can load it up with 8 or 16 gig or RAM.

    All these new multi-core super fast processors and solid state discs are nice, but all you really need to work is lots of RAM.
  • calder12
    calder12
    Senior Member Posts: 13,398
    There were very good reasons, aka the software was better. Those reasons are all gone now, the myth prevails though, development I agree 100% design, it's pissing away money unless you're already familiar with the OS and don't want to learn something new.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,733
    I haven't really used windows in about 8 years, so I'm not up to date on the argument.

    But come on, look at things historically and indulge in inductive reasoning: Windows Vista was a dumpster fire, then Windows 8 was another pile of garbage.

    Just get a mac and avoid this stupid drama.
  • calder12
    calder12
    Senior Member Posts: 13,398
    Windows 8 was fine if you weren't a complete dipshit, the big argument against it was the loss of the start button, because Macs have start buttons? If you had just a bit of sense it was completely workable. The software was solid, in fact they've literally released two bad versions, both very short lived. Millenium and Vista. Sorry this is the kind of fanboyism I hoped to leave behind at my last job. The boss said the same shit "I haven't used Windows since Vista but...." But nothing, she clearly had zero idea what she was talking about.

    In the days when the best software was Mac only this was an argument in design. That isn't the case, if you want to pay the same amount for a 20% performance hit be my guest, but unless you're up to date on what you're offering as advice, just don't.

    Again, for development with the linux kernel there's no question it's better suited. Choose your tools based on facts and what is suitable for the job.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,733
    I don't really know how to argue this Mac v Windows thing anymore so I'll just take the high road and say "when in doubt, get a Mac", and Calder you're an ignorant slut.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,895
    bless.
  • calder12
    calder12
    Senior Member Posts: 13,398
    :)
Sign In or Register to comment.
© Copyright 2003 - 2016 - DT by Kooc Media