RISD MID/Cranbrook and the workplace

Hi there. Wondering if professional designers could help me out as I research these two schools. Regardless of whether or not you attended either of these schools, would you describe the work of RISD (graduate program) alumni? Or if you know/are and alum, what are your thoughts of these two schools?

RISD rocks! though i come from there…i have seen several other programs and RISD is not just a strong program, but their environment and resources are realllly great…if anyhthing, i’ll say their work is a little less on the commerical side, and more on research/design process… less glitsy and shiny, but more meaningful.

Most of the grad students that I know of while I was there went straight to teaching. At least one went to Graves Design.

From my understanding the grad program has shanged hands a few times and evolved since I was at the school 94-98 ), but they don’t have the best track record for grad students entering the professional relm.

What was your undergrad in?

thanks t and yo.

i have heard wonderful things about the undergrad program, but have doubts about the grad program. (as grad schools tend to be more theoretical/conceptual, i am alright with criticism i’ve heard about the grad schools - RISD, Cranbrook, or otherwise - being too far in that direction.) it is up to a grad student to learn what they want to so i will need to make sure that the school’s resources are available for grad students and that they are integrated into the rest of the school. i don’t i am also wondering what the environment is like for grad students - are students unhappy, happy, or extremely happy? are they getting what they wanted to get out of school? was the school what they say they are during the admissions cycle?

and yo, does the change of hands related to the grad program imply either a lack of direction of multiple changes in direction or is it just standard procedure to rotate chairs? in my undergrad dept, nobody actually wanted to be the chair as it took time away from their other work so they just rotated the position and the dept maintained the same direction until the entire faculty decided to chage course. (my background is in engineering, not design.)

as for RISD not having a good track record preparing it’s students for employment, did those students want commercial jobs, and try to prepare for them during their schooling? what were these students lacking?

also, anybody have thoughts on Cranbrook?

It’s time for thinking.

I don’t really know how to compare RISD and Cranbrook. They seem so different. But, just consider that Cranbrook is entirely studio-based: no classes. So, if you need any sort of remedial training, it’s probably not the place for you. I do know that Cranbrook grads can be found at many prestigious firms, and many have founded their own firms as well. So, that obviously speak highly of the program. I haven’t heard much about RISD grad (of their grad program).

If you go to 3D Design | Departments | Cranbrook Academy of Art you can see profiles of all the students. Who know, maybe you could contact them directly, if you have specific questions.

Hello, I’m wondering about these sorts of grad programs as well. I keep hearing all the “ooh, ahh” comments about places like Cranbrook and RISD, but can anyone share concrete evidence of student or alumni achievements? Who are their prominent alumni anyway? When I research where famous designers went to school, it seems that many went to no-name schools and most don’t have a grad degree.

What’s the deal?

… I think you answered your own question. Esp. in product.

Edit

If your an engineer with experience in the workforce and want to get an MID too expand your thinking process, explore areas of personal interest or just use kick ass shops RISD is a great pick. If you actually want to learn anything from the professors stay FAR, FAR away.

The MID program at RISD is usually 90% made up of people who are looking for a change of direction. They did a poly sci undergrad and want to design or did arch and now want to do products. unfortunately this leads to a bunch of projects that are very “deep” , but are generally crappily executed. the deliverables are more like semi functional sculpture rather than any kind of interesting product design, rethinking of manufacturing, user interaction or much of anything that relates to the “industrial” part of the world.

To the point about the department changing hands, that is true. I graduated last year and the grad department changed hands every year I was there. I understand that a new person has been brought aboard to take it over, but I don’t imagine it has had the time to develop a solid direction or solid underpinnings. This is just my opinion, but the general attitude of the students was that the faculty members who were teaching the program said “oh shit, we need to teach these kids something monday” rather than having a strong POV they wanted to share.

as for placement, the department doesn’t have great success at helping students get jobs, but recent risd alums have ended up at prestigious offices like IDEO, DC, etc, but that is more exception than rule.

best of luck.

I’m not asking anyone to brag about quality facilities, or to explain to me the value of conceptual thinking, or to defend the validity of a teaching career. I’m wondering about mass-market impact. If I walk into a Sears or Target, what products there were designed by a Cranbrook or RISD grad? Show me the money, people.

Edit

Hello, I’m wondering about these sorts of grad programs as well. I keep hearing all the “ooh, ahh” comments about places like Cranbrook and RISD, but can anyone share concrete evidence of student or alumni achievements? Who are their prominent alumni anyway? When I research where famous designers went to school, it seems that many went to no-name schools and most don’t have a grad degree.

What’s the deal?

check out the RCA

…did they ever work in the industry, or did they go straight to teaching?

Here is the deal:

Graduate school at the places you are talking about (Cranbrook, RISD, SAIC, DAE, RCA, etc.) is not about teaching (though many places require a masters to teach). Only about 3 or 4 out of my class of 20 are teaching.

It is not about improving your chances to get that 1st job. (tip- don’t show boring work. Producable boring work is still boring.)

It may not help within a corporate or consultancy setting. MBA may help there. (though Daniel Pink would disagree)

It is not about switching from engineering (or business, or architecture) to industrial design- unless you want to bring your past expereince into design.

It isn’t about becoming famous (though I know people who used it to become famous-- not easy to do and they would have become famous anyway)

It can be about taking 2 years off so that you can think about design the way that you want- it is about taking a whole lot more risk than you usually can take in real life (real clients, real money). It’s about suspending disbelief just long enough to chase a hunch before the world comes crashing back in on you.

And it’s not for everybody. And yes, a lot of schools suck, the good ones are horribly disorganized, and even the best will go through bad years.

I’m not asking anyone to brag about quality facilities, or to explain to me the value of conceptual thinking, or to defend the validity of a teaching career. I’m wondering about mass-market impact. If I walk into a Sears or Target, what products there were designed by a Cranbrook or RISD grad? Show me the money, people.

I don’t know if this is exactly what you are looking for, but all 3 of Blu-Dots partners have masters- from more esoteric schools than CB or RISD-

Target is littered with their stuff.

NO, actually they didn’t

They all went here: http://www.williams.edu/

and later, individually they went to Yale (Masters in architecure, a well established program, unlike their design programs), University of Illinois at Chicago (Masters in Arch) and even a marketing guy (MBA at Northwestern University in Chicago) none of those is more esoteric than RISD or CB, IMO anyway… they DO great stuff though, and they all have masters (just not in ID, none of them have undergrads in ID either, maybe its all Bass Ackwards afterall)

Thank you, yo. It’s helpful to hear about Blu Dot. Like I said, I’m wondering about mass-market impact, especially when it comes to grads from these “pedigree” schools. Are there any other examples?

Masamichi Udagawa, founder of Antenna, designed the new subway trains that are used in New York City. He’s a Cranbrook grad. How’s that for mainstream success?

I have a friend who has a master’s in ID from RISD. He now works in advertising as an art director. He said that RISD was awesome in developing his intellectual skill but left me with the impression that it was not a very practical degree. If you have the $$ and want to sharpen your thinking ability, it will probably serve you well in a number of careers. I was into ID and he told me not to go into the field! But having RISD on your resume looks good.