RISD + others, grad program

i’ve bee nseeing a lot about pratt and art center, but not so much about other american schools with grad programs in ID. has anyone gone to risd for their master’s in ID? or U of Ill. at Urbana or Chicago? (it’s tough to find info about the state schools on their websites)

appreciated, z

I did an undergrad at RISD. In general I would not recomend the grad program there, but it really depends on what type of person you are and what type of designer you want to be. The grad program at RISD tends to be highly theoretical without a lot of emphasis on skill. I think the perception in the job market of most RISD students (grad and undergrad) is that they are great thinkers and to some degree great craftspeople, but not so good at developing sellable, mass-produceable solutions. The image can be overcome, but you need to be aware of it.

I got my MFA in ID from UIC but started in Champaign-Urbana. I left Urbana because the guy in charge of the Grad program was, well I won’t get into it. Lets just say I was the the 4th out of 6 to leave the program because of this guy… he retired a long time ago. Mark Arends is in charge of the department. He’s a really great guy. I would recommend talking to him.

As far as UIC… well I graduated back in '87 so I’m sure things have changed. I wouldn’t recommend it then but now I hear Bill Becker and Drew Browning are in charge. Drew is great. Many like Bill too. Again, I recommend speaking with them.

The advantage of UIC to Urbana-Champaign is that it’s in a great city for design. Urbana-Champaign is a college town right in the middle of farm country.

Also check out IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) Really good school but pricey. My husband got his MS in ID from there.

I believe the Grad program at RISD is in a bit of a flux at this moment because of heads changing, and wouldn’t recommend it presently. Yo is spot on with his characterization of the Grad program.

btw, hi Yo, we know each other… very cool to see your work now that you’re out west…

Hey I know you too, didn’t realize it was you. I still have to send you some mp3’s for your site, haha. Haven’t gotten around to making too many yet…

dear tractorgirl

I think its great that your asking lots of questions and doing your homework preparing for a career in ID. if you dont mind allow me to recap: Your wondering about a Masters degree in ID. you got a Photography Bachelors from RISD in '99, but regret not getting better job skills from there. Very interested in Pratt/Chicago schools (good reps + locations).

I was at RISD and know exactly what you mean. I had a roomate who had a crafts degree and got a 3yr Masters in ID - won student design competitions and got a job following a summer internship, however he complained that his stuff wasn’t going to production because he couldn’t design a producible product - he was not introduced to the concept of the parting line in the grad program at RISD. Manufacturing is an undergraduate topic! He did very aesthetic ‘blue sky’ design work (this back when Karim taught there - things have changed)

My point is: you’ve done the art-school thing, its a rough job market and is only getting more stringent so focus on the bill-able skills that will earn your employer cash the day you start working. I’ll leave it to you to determine how best to gain them.