University of Illinois Alumni Check-in


I would love to hear some thoughts about the U o I Design Program.

Could you share the pros and cons? What it takes to be successful? What are the faculty like there?

I know it gets rated as one of the top programs but I want to understand what it is like to be a student there. I like a smaller feel, more personal touch program. Not sure if I will get it there.

Thanks for anything that you can share.

Do you mean UIUC or UIC? (Urbana - Champaign or Chicago)

I am talking about Urbana Champaign - UIUC
Thanks for clarifying!

UIUC ID represent yay YAY
(sorry must be the Ice Cube Eames poster on Notcot influence)

I am hoping to have a better grasp on where the program currently stands in a few weeks when I will hopefully attend the job fair.

One of the big cons for me in school was always the disconnect from the industry, being that Champaign-Urbana (Champaign native, referring to it the other way is blasphemy) is about 2.5 hours from the most of the nearby ID action in Chicago. This meant that the vast minority of us that were able to get internships (which as far as I am concerned are mandatory for anyone serious about getting a job) were only ever to do so in the summer. Most of the places I have worked since have had interns from nearby schools or coops from Cincinnati during the the school year, which just seems like it would be a huge advantage. All that being said, I went to school with and have encountered plenty of grads who only ever had summer internships and are doing just fine, there might be something to be said for being completely dedicated to your studio assignments as well, may it’s another case of ‘grass is always greener’.

Most of the professors that really served as mentors have moved on at this point, so it is hard to comment on the professors at this time or what is being taught, again, hopefully I will have more to add in a few weeks.

What it takes to succeed - just like anywhere else, always strive to be better, it’s not enough to compare yourself to others in your class, most of them will never work as IDs. Look at portfolios on coroflot, behance, go to museums, study abroad, be a student of humans, watch what goes on around you, how people interact with things and spaces. Take lots of pictures, sketch daily, use your sketching to visualize your thoughts and explain ideas and interactions, practice telling stories. Look at the things around you, what works, what doesn’t, why? Ask questions. Work Hard.


I once had coffee with David Ryan, does that count? :laughing:

Per my other post, in the other thread, I did graduate from UIUC, and also attended HS in Champaign (but it was the better high school Ricky).

I liked it, the professors are good, the facilities are solid, that campus is fun. Since I was there they have gotten some new faculty, so I would go visit the campus if you can, and make an appointment with Mark Avery to visit the Art and Design Building. At UIUC you will need to be self motivated to get to that next level.