Hoping you all can help me out…

I’ve been accepted to Pratt and RISD next year for a MID and am now trying to decide between the two - I’d love advice! I love the feel of RISD and the facilities are incredible but I like that Pratt is expansive in scope and is art based. Pratt’s program is also longer which might be useful as I am new to the field. I want to learn about the industry as well as the history and theory of design, but I also want to learn the skills while at school. I want to have time to make and create.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

When did you hear from Pratt and how did they contact you? I have not heard a word in a couple weeks.

I received an email and a package in the mail about a month ago. Have you heard anything? You should definitely contact admissions.

I met with Rick Goodwin about two weeks ago and he had told me two weeks from then I should hear something…Looks like it might be bad news for this guy.

Email them! They should let you know one way or another regardless.

Good luck!!!

Honestly no one is going to be able to answer the question for you.

You should probably look at your wants and needs in the program and go from there. Where do you think you’d fit in better? Where would you rather live? Is price an issue, etc.

Regardless of where you go you’ll have time to make and create. After going to the North East IDSA conference and seeing work from all different schools, it really seems like you can do just about whatever you want as long as you’re willing to push yourself. Having good facilities is a big plus though, especially if you plan on doing a lot of hands on modelling.

Hey Clementine,

congrats on getting into both! I am a RISD ID student, Junior, and I love it here. I looked at both Pratt and RISD and speaking from the undergrad perspective, I chose RISD. I was not very impressed with the facilities of Pratt, and definately was with RISD’s. I have some friends in the Grad program, they seem to enjoy it. I imagen it to be a bit difficult if one does not have a design background, but there is a summer program that I think well prepares you, as well as giving you a chance to acclimate into the RISD community. I like both schools because they do have a community feel, especially in comparison to Parsons. I think there are some good connections available to you if at Pratt, being so close to New York, but RISD does have a good name, so you will indubidoubly have numerous opportunities. Let me know if you have any specific questions!
take care

a few points, I think both schools have their strong points. The ID programs at each are fundamentally VERY different.

  1. the school names mean little in the industry, both have a soggy rep in the professional world

  2. you can’t take the facilities with you when you graduate (to paraphrase a long time RISD prof of mine who has passed now)

  3. Providence is great, but it is hard to beat NYC


what do u mean by a “soggy rep”. this is news to me and would like to be informed of the details pertaining to RISD.


from my experience it is not very well respected in most corporate design offices or major consulting groups for ID. Architecture, graphics, illustration are all great programs, but the common digs on the ID program is that students are arrogant, don’t know how to visually communicate their ideas, too in love with their singular idea to conceptualize, and have little industry exposure. The placement rate is pretty low. I’ve walked into design offices and heard designers telling RISD jokes, and that is pretty sad, maybe it has turned around since I went there, I hope so.

That is a bit surprising and yes, indeed sad. I checked out your website, looks like you’re doing pretty well for yourself though. I especially liked your tutorial section, that’s very thoughtful of you and a great way to give something back. Have you used Layer Masks? They are great too.
So even when you were at RISD you felt that the training was somewhat lacking? What did you do that was different that enabled such success? (I’m thinking it might have something to do with drawing skills?)
I saw you also used to work for Evo. They were just here at RISD for portfolio review, but I did not get a chance to talk to them. They seem like a good company to work for. Did you enjoy your time there?

I think RISD on the whole is great in the sense that it does cultivate a community. Just knowing that you graduated from there already establishes a connection and contributes to a global network.

Thank you for checking out the site and you compliments.

I loved Providence and my time there. The school is great. However, the ID program, at least when I was there, really did little to prepare students in terms of real world skill sets and even just the overall attitude required to get a job. It was difficult to get internships, and maybe 5 students from my class got a job in product design.

Somehow it worked well for me, I still wouldn’t take it back if I could, it is a big part of who I am and I frequently return to things I learned in foundation year. RISD in my opinion has one of the best foundation years anywhere.

What helped me is I think that I always like to sketch and think on paper. I did an exchange semester at CIA which has pretty much the opposite problems as RISD (at the time anyway), I got a few industry sponsored projects and got some mentorship through them. I also got lucky as heck, I’m not gonna lie.

I was lucky that the partners at Evo could see the potential I had and really took the time to help shape me. Few are this patient, after all that is why you spend a ton of money on school. Evo is great, I was there almost 5 years and made some very close friends there that I visit whenever I am back East.

Community is nice, skills pay the bills though.

Who is heading up the department these days?

Mickey Ackerman is the department head. What year did you graduate?

Well, I do feel that the ID program, now anyway, makes a big effort to prepare us for a job, almost too much in a way. We have presentation classes, where we learn photoshop, illustrator, and indesign, and basic layout and visual communication skills that i think are really useful. The faculty often talk about, “in the industry”, trying to prepare us for the “real” world. We can take CAD, and are always required at the end of the semester to submit images of our work, hoping that that means we are working on our portfolio. I’ve been trained to think in terms of my portfolio (i’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing) My biggest challenge is indeed drawing. I just need to build up the confidence, let loose, and let the ideas flow on to paper. When I think too much, it shows and the drawings become uptight. I’ve been taking an architectre studio though this semester, and this seems to be coming in handy for the drawings. :slight_smile:

there’s a lot of pressure on us to get jobs and internships. which is both good and bad. i find it hard, because I don’t feel I relate to the majority of corporations. I’m interested in sustainable design (though always appreciate and enjoy good design), and that doesn’t really seem like much of a focus for a lot of companies in the US (europe is much better). any advice?

Well that’s tons better than when I was there. Internships were barely mentioned. I was specifically told by staff that they were not interested in teaching us skills that would help us get work, etc and barely mentioned the importance of a portfolio except last semester senior year. Sound like they’ve realized some things and are trying to make things better, I hope this is the case. Good luck, and definitely take FULL advantage of those facilities while you’re there, you will miss them when you’re gone. But definitely learn to do things so that you don’t have to rely on a fancy shop also. I had a teacher that taught us to be able to design on the go with whatever will fit in a shoebox. Good stuff.

Sounds like the philosophy has evolved quite a bit. When I was there Roger (the pres) said something to the effect that the school’s goal was not to make working professionals but well rounded humans…

the real education happens on the job. The more internships you can wrangle down, the more prepared you will be, even if you learn what you don’t want to do as a professional.

Mickey was the head when I graduated as well… 1998

Def while sketching try to let your right brain take control, the left brain will just hold you back at first.

More and more corporations are interested in green design. Cargo, Vogue,and at least several other major mags have articles on green products this month… it is catching consumer awareness and once that happens corps will want to have products to cash in on green… it still should be “good” design though… I think you will be able to do sustainable design and if this knowledge and passion augments a solid set of design skills you should be set.

you say both have a soggy rep- could this actually work AGAINST you? i would hope that an individual’s talent and overall portfolio would be more important than anything else.

Well, this may reflect more on the person, but one design director told me after a successful interview that lead to an offer “you know I usually just throw resumes from RISD right in the garbage without looking at the portfolio, but yours actually looked professional and well designed so I opened your book”. I also once walked into a client’s office that happened to be outside of Providence, I mentioned that I went to RISD and asked if they ever sponsored projects there to which they replied “why would we waste out time there” and" you went there, guess we just wasted our companies money" and so on, the work turned them around, but getting over that initial pre judgement can be difficult. I always felt that my game had to be twice as tight to overcome the perception.

Not saying it’s right, just that it happens.

Yea, that’s a bummer to hear. WHY are these schools so hated? what was your portfolio/book like that it looked “professional”? finally, do you see these “prejudices” ever disappearing?

(your story is quite contrary to that of the Hildebrandt (Sp?) brothers- the ones who illustrated those lord of the rings calendars way back when:

they showed up at the publishing place (or whatever it was) with giant plastic garbage bags (clean) full of sketches and studies… and got the commissions.

of course, we are talking about design here, and not illustration, but i’ve always liked stories like that.)

anyways, thanks for replying.

I think things have been changing since I was at RISD, which was later but overlapped with yo. There definitely was a feeling from the faculty that they weren’t there to prepare us to jump into a job like skinny said. I remember being confused as to how the departement had such interesting and respected sponsored studios (Universal Kitchen, Red Cross, Zinc house etc) in the past and there were zero when we were there. That has definitely changed in the past few years. The students who have interviewed at my firm typically have at least one industry sponsored studio, some 3 or 4 at graduation which I think is amazing. There is definitely a new emphasis on real world experience there, and internships are a much bigger deal than previously. I’ve been impressed with the students who are graduating on the most part.

I’m not sure what caused this shift. I went in to speak with the head at one point shortly after graduating to voice my concerns on the way the department was integrating technology into the curriculum and was told that they weren’t trying to be a trade school to get people into jobs, but were trying to teach students a thought process. I agree with this, however I think there are things that students need to learn to get started in the world. They still have computers and software messed up in the curriculum, but thats another discussion.

Its a shame about the negative rep that RISD has with some places, I’ve never encountered it actually myself, but I’ve heard from others many times. For the most part what I’ve experienced is that RISD students think well, but can’t draw for shit, which was very true(and still is somewhat). I know some friends from RISD at consultancies and corporations that have a problem finding someone with a good mix of thinking and sketching skills, period. I know several recent RISD alumni who have gone out to CA for the summer to CCA or wherever to do a drawing program, which I think is a great thing to do between the freshman year. Its harder to teach someone to think than to draw. Maybe you can’t teach someone to think.

I think I’ve typed enough for now.

Sounds like a lot of positive change which I’m happy to hear. For awhile it seemed as though there might have been some resting on the laurels, but it sounds like there is a huge effort being made to reconnect with the world.

Going to another school I think is always a good idea. You can do an exchange semester with any art school in the US (except Art Center) and have all credits transfer back. One of my upperclassmen friends at RISD did this with CCS, my roommate and I did a semester at CIA. It really opened us up to a totally different way of looking at design, not to mention new skill sets and networks of people.