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Thread: Going to school for Graphic Design vs Illustrator?

  1. #1
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    Going to school for Graphic Design vs Illustrator?

    I'm was thinking of trying to College for Creative Studies, for their Illustrator program, but now I'm looking at just going to Wayne State University and taking Graphic Design.

    What's the big difference? I thought Graphic Design was mostly doing layouts, and Illustrators were more artsy. I've already been to CCS and talked to a counselor, but I haven't look any of the art stuff at Wayne State.

    I just want to know in general, what's the difference between the two jobs. I like drawing anyway, but I just want to go back to school and get started on a career, so the main focus my choice is which one is more viable and pays more.
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  3. #2
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    Your initial impression is basically correct. GD involves far less drawing.
    Lake Hurwitz
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    depends what you want to do, graphic design is not a viable career for me because I hate doing menu layouts. Drawing Spaceships and monsters is way more fun. Both careers take dedication and a ton of effort and lots of time to learn the skills, heh and then your illustration clients bug you for logos and you do graphic design anyway. If you do illustration and take a few graphic design courses, you can double team em.
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    If you are getting into Illustration or Graphic Design just for the money you are doing it wrong, you need to love these careers in order to be able to become better and better

    If just do the job for the money, I guess you are not the kind of people who after work still willing to read related books or magazines, even blogs or forums, and work on your own stuff just because you want

    That said, I think inside the creative industry the highest salaries are inside Web design (good luck going for that if you don't enjoy coding too, you'll end trying to kill yourself with a tea spoon)

    Anyway, the differences between Illustration and Graphic Design... well I think If you become an Illustrator it would be nice to know a little about graphic design, so if for example, you do a poster you don't messy it with the worst type ever. And certainly if you become a Graphic Designer it doesn't hurt to draw (even if you don't do posters your clients will want the idea sketch).

    A lot of the subjects in these two careers are somehow related, the mainly and most important difference is What do you want to do?, I mean do you enjoy making logos, magazine layouts, creating new typefaces? (That’s mainly pure design), or in the other hand you would like to work for comic, books, as a concept artist,... (Then Illustration should be more your thing)
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    If you're in it for money or job security, I would suggest pursuing a career away from art.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Kane View Post
    I like drawing anyway, but I just want to go back to school and get started on a career, so the main focus my choice is which one is more viable and pays more.
    It's much easier to make a living as a designer than as an illustrator, so if that's your main consideration, do that. There's not much drawing involved in most design jobs these days, though.

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    i heard that Graphic Design was horribly overcrowded.. actually read it on a few college related sites, you should defiantly do more research on both of those because if wait until after you spend thousands of dollars on learning the trade then you find out its a bad market.. well, thats too bad.
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    In graphics design you will learn basic drawing, and extensively work around graphic design.
    In illustration you will be drawing allot, and get a basis in graphic design.

    I love both really...
    What I'm typing here is MY experience at MY school...
    Graphics design courses are less subjective, and the teachings often make more sense, plus they haven't been "dumbed down" by modernism etc so much.
    I think it would be much easier finding a design job like Elwell said.

    Illustration is a really subjective thing I found out, different teachers might say completely different things about your work. Keep in mind that it's YOUR work, not theirs. Make sure to explain YOUR point of views to them aswell, communication is critical here. You'll also be getting "faulty" color theory, only really basic perspective, virtually no composition knowledge, no anatomy, no business-side things...

    Despite all of this, I really love illustration and would pick it over graphic design any day, even tough I really like graphic design. They're two completely different worlds even tough they share allot in common.

    Again, just my school.
    When I look at student work from schools in the US I'm often amazed at all the practical theory they seem to get. I get the feeling here everything is much more theoretical and conceptual.

    Just "follow your heart" and work at it everyday I'dd say
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    @ Krato- GD is horribly overcrowded with people who are mediocre. If you're good and don't give up, you can find work. Same for illustration.


    Statistically, most art students don't do art for a living after they graduate. It's possible to be part of the smaller percentage that does. Talk to people who are doing what you want and find out how they got where they are, schools are only interested in your tuition a lot of the time It's possible to do either of those careers without a degree. For instance, taking a year off of work and buying all of the CA downloads and practicing your ass off would be cheaper than a year of tuition at some schools.
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    Well, I have a degree in digital media illustration.

    I think of design + fine arts mixed together = illustration.

    That said, I actually have a day job doing graphic/web design.
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    during my graphic design education we drew maybe 10% of the time.

    //

    graphic design helps drawing (composition, colors, etc.) and drawing
    helps graphic design. so it basically depends on what do you want to
    do most of the time.
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    Unless you like eating paint, I'd suggest being graphic designer, lol - cerulean tastes like blueberries!


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    Quote Originally Posted by PieterV View Post
    anatomy, no business-side things...
    Just going to say that this is very dependant on the school, so I wouldn't want the OP to think that all schools are like this. At mine we are taught everything there is to know about the illustration business, from writing/editing/reading contracts to how/where/when to market ourselves. Also we get a lot of anatomy.

    Graphic design is a lot of design, as the name implies. You might USE illustrations in the designs, but chances are if you're a full-time graphic designer and happen to be able to illustrate you'll be too busy with all the GD stuff to do the illustration that'll be in one of them.
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