recent grads and students.....Why?

Why is there so much animosity towards recent grads and students. And no I’m not one. I just feel that a lot of people in the design industry are either afraid of them or don’t want to give them a chance. we were all there at one time shouldn’t we want to pick their brains and get a fresh look on things.

I don’t think there are any hard feelings…its more just that this industry has exploded…back in my day their were only 32 accredited ID schools, under 60 total schools offering the degree and graduating class size was controled.

Now there are still under 40 accredited schools offering degrees (correct me if I’m wrong) BUT over 120 schools offering degrees in ID. This occured over a short period of time (8 years or so). In my opinion the market is way over-saturated and quality is showing.

I still only consider students from accredited universities, there are just too many questions about the foundation students learn from non-accredited and I don’t have the time to investigate.

my $0.02 on this topic


I’m in my last year of a product design degree course in london as was wanting to know if european design is big in the states? are you less likely to get a job over there is you have a been taught european design? second of all in london we dont here much about the american accredited unis. for ID the only one we here about is parsons. Im at central saint martins in london as i was wanting to know if you hear much about it in the states

I still only consider students from accredited universities, there are just too many questions about the foundation students learn from non-accredited and I don’t have the time to investigate.

Why does accredidation matter so much, a designer should be evaluated through his/her skills set, not by the school they went to. My school lost it’s accredidation a couple of years before I graduated, and I came out with a much stronger skill set then some that I’ve seen who’ve come from accredited schools.

Ludwig is on to something when he says “Who is doing the accredidation?” Based on what I’ve seen, it’s all crap. IMO, your missing out on a lot of potentially brilliant employees if you’re ruling out people based on their schools.

For an ID program, NASAD is the accrediting body that IDSA uses to “qualify” a school as “accredited”. There are various other accrediting bodies out there for Art schools (ACICS for one). States also accredit schools.

The NASAD guidelines for an ID program was written around 1983. All IDSA/NASAD “accredited” schools follow this plan.

When I hire a recent Graduate, I look for specific things. Their Skill Set, communication ability, work ethic, passion for design, and personality are all much more important than the school.


Accredited schools are generally seen as superior because they have proven track records and their courses are more balanced. I’m not saying that the students from an accredited school are better skill wise, but generally someone who goes to an accredited design school at a major university is going to get a better, more well-rounded education than someone who goes to an art academy where they don’t get exposed to as many other areas.

Its great that some people go to school and just want to do design 24/7, but I think that designers have a responsibility to know a lot more than just design lingo and art history. I haven’t seen that level of well-roundedness in students coming from art academies and some of these factory schools that pump out one designer after another. Those guys might know the programs like you wouldn’t beleive but beyond that there are some serious deficits in good electives and I have seen horrible soft skills from “art factory” students.


…i don’t think there is any animosity or fear generally (i enjoy working with new grads and would hire one in a new york minute, if i could)…perhaps what you are sensing follows along the lines of the investment required to bring a new grad up to speed…it is all about short term returns right now and employers can not nor do they need (with so many 5-10 yr experienced designers looking for work) to spend weeks to train someone in thier particular software much less the months or years it might take to season a new grad…this is not only catastrophic for the new grad but for the profession and industry as well in the long term…i pray this situation turns around and soon for all of our sakes.

I know a fair number of designers that technically have even graduated yet. Its true that it all comes down to the porfolio and the ability to communicate your ideas.

I also agree that our industry is quite saturated with talent. If some young pup with more tricks than you comes along, a lot of us think somehow that our own job security is at stake and try to justify why we are still better. Thats a natural human behavior.

As for acredidation, I think it is a good attempt to try to create a competative advantage or at least create a sellling point that acredited graduates are a better choice than an unacredited or ungraduated applicant. When there are so many designers comming out of the universities, there is bound to be some sort of system that is used to market potentially better applicants.

It’s true about the number of schools - they really have multiplied - I graduated right before that big expansion and it was still “knock down drag out” to land the ID job - I almost sort of cringe when I see another school offer it - not that it’s bad for design - just that there will be that many more grads fighting it out for a limited number of jobs - many of my classmates never made it into industrial design after school.


I really haven’t picked up on any animosity, or lack of hiring fresh grads.

I will say that the international competition is greater than ever at large corporations. Been seeing A LOT of portfolios from CREAPOL, STRAT, Coventry, like a half dozen other UK schools, and the talent level is very high when it comes to ideation, visual communication, and cohesive visioning. They also tend to have a lot of experience before they graduate… and nice accents.

US kids, step it up if you want to get in the door. The US schools seem to really emphasize 3d. That’s great, but you need to be able to design and think too. UC is the one bright spot right now IMO. The last three interns we had from there where all great.

I think it’s because of all the abuse we take at work from our bosses, we have no one else to kick around so we get our frustrations out on the people fresh out of school (most of them seem so arrogant they deserve it). I think once the recent grads get to our level they’ll understand and pass on the favor to the next group.

ID industry is not fraternity my friend. Most recent grads I know of are timid and seem unsure of the surroundings.


If you are a working professional with a school in your city, GET INVOLVED! If we do not lend a hand, it will be our industry that suffers. There are so many ways to help. Sponsor a class, mentor a student, give a sketching demo, show your work, get on the advisory committee, meet with faculty about your work, do a protfolio review, set up an intern program, etc…

We need a grass root effort here people…