BFA (Art/ Art History) to MID Worthwhile?

Yes, it’s another thread asking advice about Grad school for ID. But there are so many helpful and smart people here already working in ID, I cannot resist… So thank you in advance.

Short version of my story: I graduated in 2001 with a BFA in art with a concentration in art history. Basically 2 to 2.5 years of studio classes and 2 of Art History. I chose all drawing, design courses for my studio portion. i feel like it was a solid “all around” art education with both sides complimenting the other… after graduation I accepted a job outside the art world because it involved alot of travel and allowed me to see LOTS of museums, galleries, and architecture I might not otherwise been able to see, plus it helped me decide what direction I might want to go within the arts…

Since Art History jobs are even harder to come by than ID jobs, and anyone who knows me can attest I am an obsessive critic of all products big and small, ID was a natural attraction when I started looking at Grad schools recently. But after reading through lots of threads here, I am starting to question the value of the MID programs for non-ID undergrads… If they are truly not seen as worthwhile by employers, I don’t see the point of shelling out all that money to end up on an unlevel playing field. But going back for a 4 year BID doesn’t seem practical, either… Would getting the MID be a waste? Any opinions and advice are welcome.

Having just settled in Philly, I am looking at Uarts, or a commute to one of the NYC programs…

Thanks everyone!

the difference between art history and design is that art history never ends but design does.

^my post

LOL. Not necessarily. It depends on whether or not you look at your work as a designer as a larger “design” in progress, or if you see each finished work as the “end”… But maybe I took too much theory :wink:

why relocate to philly?

Well, I won’t lie and say we “chose” Philly as a city where we wanted to live, but we were having no luck at all in Denver, where we are both from. My fiance kept getting downsized out of good, but unstable jobs, and I was working for the same company I am now, but making much less money. And Denver is not a cheap city to live in, either. So with the idea that sometimes change is good, we decided to try the east coast where there is a better choice of grad schools, and I could stay with my company if I filled a hole for them in Philly… I wasn’t thrilled, but we’ve been here just over a year now and it hasn’t been as bad as I thought… Although the NE winters have us on suicide watch vs. Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine!

Colorado is a great place, and we will definitely go back someday, but hopefully we’ll be in a better position to make it work…

1-there’s no such a thing as a larger design in progress. that’s a myth designers create to give themselves more room but in reality it doesn’t exist spaecially today because whether aesthetically, intrinsically, or conceptually post millenium design is searching for newer, better solutions not constant development of a base process.

2a- how do you define progress? even in art history you see no lasting progress. movements happen come to a peak then die off. yet as a whole, art history never ends since there’s always some sort of an art culture. same with design history. it will not end. but design by itself has an end and often it comes real fast and i don’t think it is as fluid or conceptual as art. we had a thread here on the difference between design and art, if you search for it you might find what designers thought about it.

2b-if you take a look at what has been done in the past 50 years and compare it to the past 5 years you get the idea. also look for what has been done to objects and products then you find out you can’t categorize any of it as design in progress. most were trashed by newer generations of products and their history came to an abrupt end, others considered important for their own time but were either transformed or modified for the evolutionary purposes but eventually only made it to “design culture” picture books. the only ones who still survive today as old designs that have not been forgotten are those that are just that - random classic pieces- people buy them more as art, than design for true use. so where’s the progress?

2c- an important issue in today’s design environment is that designers act like they’re the decision makers but the real decision maker is the market. some adapt, while others find new ways to do old things and there’re a few who innovate and come up with something entirely different.

3- there was a time in the past that design went through longer cycles but that has changed in the past ten years because of computer technology. faster tools means faster products means pickier customers. today’s design purchase is entirely time oriented. you have to have the right product out at the right time. if you’re six months late it means your comapny will have to work a year and a half to gain back the footing it has lost. that’s how fast people’s perspectives changes. it’s not like the victorian age when they relied on brand and quality and would sell you the same product without a highly specialized market analysis required.
today’s market is very complex and if a designer wants to look at it like it’s art history or larger design in progress it won’t be possible because it’s too vague and undefinable. actually it will become more like a chronic disease which will get worse as time goes by.

4- i wish you luck and hope i have given you some honest views since you’re trying to see which direction to take.

Thanks, ufo

I appreciate your point of view, it does give me some insight into the mind of a designer…

I don’t mean to sound as if I am sold on any one theory of process. I happen to believe that each “designer” needs to decide for themself what works for them as far as productivity, presentation, etc… If looking at your job as a designer as a constantly evolving “project” helps someone stay sharp and approach each smaller project with the perspective and attitude to be successful, I can see why they think that way… I can also see the benefit to taking a one project at a time outlook, which brings a sense of renewal every time you start a new project. To each his own I say…

Since art history is always looking backward, from the point of view of a spectator or consumer (more or less), It is nothing more than a recording of the final decisions made by designers and artists, even if THEIR decisions were influenced by the market. Even a thorough critique of a design is done in hindsight, without playing an active role in the project… That is both what I love about history, and what helped me realize I actually enjoy being part of the process, rather than always recording the process…

Thanks again, ufo

hopefully with the newer design tools/education, being part of the design process will be easier than doing art history!! :slight_smile:

^my post

first of all, thanks for going through the previous opinions about grad school.
You may want to balance university/art school education (what type was your bachelors). Gen Education credits may transfer into undergrad - 3 years to a completed degree.

Take a look at various industries and pick several you think you might want to work in.

Go over to designboom and try your hand at the design arobics.

Decide where you want to live and find out who’s working there. Do their type of design work (not much in Denver I’m afraid)

If you were a grad student - what could you teach? sketching/rendering, design theory/history? and would that be a better use of your time in school than studying: materials and procceses, photoshop+alias, marketing, ergonomics - a foreign language?

you have alot of time before next year to do as much work as you can in learning ID and related feilds. This will help you make your decision

I’m some-what in the same ballpark as you pondering going back to school for ID with a BFA in art. I do however think that from what you have explained that my BFA in sculpture has given me skills closer to ID (modelmaking,solidmodeling, 2d-3d rendering), with that sayed I still don’t think that grad school would put me at any advantage.
After some investigation it seem that grad school in ID is mainly use for prepare someone to teach, or change paths towards transportation or something, not to build basic skills or to just break into the industry. Things are extremely competitive today and you need a solid foundation, finding a school that can give that to you is important. no spec has good advise

Living in philly I’ve looked at Uarts and it does not look good, I mean look at the work on there site. I have seen some of there student ID shows at first friday and they were nothing special, and very unrealistic, I just thought to myself how could they be prepared to work in a technical industry. I could be wrong but for all the money you would pay . . .
they do however have a good continuing studies program you could pick up some computer skills while you think about the next move and may be you could even get your employer to pay

said, oops

Thanks pa,
Especially for the insight into the Uarts program. If I’m going to pay that much, I would expect the program to be better than that… That’s disappointing.

You are probably right about your sculpture background helping you quite a bit. Working in 3-d is tough for someone with limited experience… I have tons of sketching and drawing and theory under my belt, but that only goes so far…

i would consider going back for a second bachelors, but I’m having a hard time with the thought of going back for a full 4 years, especially with the ID jobs in such short supply… Looks like I have some thinking to do! For some reason I am genetically wired to ONLY want to be employed in the most obscure, most competetive jobs… LOL. I may have to reconsider staying in Art History - in 3 years I could have my PhD and an equal chance (as ID) of getting a job teaching or doing museum work…

Thanks for the input, pa!

don’t be so sure - I think a good Bachelors like UC, where a co-op will likely turn into a job, is a better prospect than an art-history teaching gig.

Another, less obvious path might be a Masters in Library science, you could work as an art-librarian in a university (some even offer faculty status) or in a large public library.

That’s an interesting idea, i’ll take a look at the Library Science thing…

I would love to go to UC (i’m assuming you’re talking about Cincinatti), but we just got settled here in Philly, and another big move right away would probably be counter-productive. If there was another very respectable program here in the Philly area, I would seriously consider it, though… And from what i have seen, the ID job market appears to be very similar to the Art Historian job market… There are AH jobs out there, but one may have to start out teaching at a Community College. And the pay range is usually between $40k-$75k… not horrible…

Thanks for the ideas, no spec - I do appreciate your help.