Professional Practice

Objectives

Finding Work
The first objective of the class is to prepare students for the transition from their academic lives to the professional practice of design. Students will produce the following materials as tools for finding and securing employment as professional designers:

  • Stationery system, including letterhead, business card and invoice
  • List of target employers
  • Cover letter
  • Resumé
  • Detailed schedule for portfolio, leave-behind, PDF portfolio and website production
  • Portfolio
  • PDF portfolio
  • Website
  • Promotional mailer/leave behind

We will address how determine the right kind of studio for you and how to research, create and maintain an up-to-date a list of potential employers, job search and interview techniques and standards of professional conduct.

Understanding the Professional Practice of Graphic Design
The second objective is to give students a grounded understanding of graphic design as a professional practice through lectures/discussions, readings and field trips. Some lectures will be conducted by guest professionals.

Lectures, Field Trips & Workshops

  • Career Strategies
  • The Well-Rounded Graphic Designer
  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • Marketing Materials (portfolio, website, leave-behind and PDF portfolio)
  • The Process of Design from Finding Clients to Completing Projects
  • How to Photograph Your Work
  • Money Matters: Entry Level Employee, Freelance and Small Studio Finances
  • Money Matters: Financial Planning
  • Pre-Press: Preparing Your Work for Printing & Working With Printers
  • Good Business Practices and Professional Ethics
  • The Interview Process
  • Field trips to 2-3 design firms and a printer
  • Weekend workshop to photograph student work


Schedule

January

Wednesday 23
Review schedule and deliverables
Discussion: Career Strategies; The Well-Rounded Graphic Designer
Assignment: Write a cover letter to a prospective employer and design your resumé;  Due: February 4


Monday 28
Discussion: Resumé & Cover Letter; Your Marketing Materials
Desk Evaluation: Group 1 — Review of your work and goals and discuss marketing strategy
Assignment: Stationery system — letterhead, envelope and business card; Due February 6


Wednesday 30
Desk Evaluation: Group 2 — Review of your work and goals and discuss marketing strategy
Assignment due: Preliminary drafts for your cover letter and resumé. Read cover letters aloud in class
Assignment: List of Opportunities — Research 12 design firms (large, small, in-house), choose your top three; Due February 6

 

February

Monday 4
Critique/Review: Cover letters
Discussion: 40 Portfolios That Suck
Assignment: Concepts for portfolio form, typical layout of portfolio pages; Due February 11

 

Wednesday 6
Class Critique: Business system, work in progress — quick wall critique
Assignment Due: List of Opportunities
Assignment: Research portfolio websites with your work and programming ability in mind; Due February 11
Assignment: Create a detailed schedule for all deliverables; Due February 11

 

Monday 11
Discussion: Process of Design Part 1 — Finding Clients & Writing Proposals and Contracts
Assignment: Concepts for website — layouts of home page and project pages; Due February 13
Assignment Due: Share website research with class. Turn in list of urls

 

Wednesday 13
Assignment Due: Wall critique — Business system
Assignment: Research/experiment with how you want to photograph your work for portfolio; Due: March 4 & 6

 

Monday 18
No Class — Email me current work for individual critique

 

Wednesday 20
Discussion (Guest: Melanie Doherty): The Process of Design Part 2 — Process of Managing a Project from Inception to Completion

 

Monday 25
Individual Critique
Assignment due: Concept for self-promotion piece

 

Wednesday 27
Individual Critique

 

March

Monday 4 midterm
Desk Critique: Group 1 — 50% work complete on portfolio, website, self — promotion piece & portfolio PDF
Assignment Due: Bring in samples/experiments of how you want to photograph your work
Note: 50% of your grade 

 

Wednesday 6 midterm
Desk Critique: Group 2 — 50% work complete on portfolio, website, self — promotion piece & portfolio PDF
Assignment Due: Bring in samples/experiments of how you want to photograph your work
Note: 50% of your grade 

 

Monday 11
Pre-Press lecture (Guest: Kern Toy)
Individual Critique

 

Wednesday 13
Discussion: Money Matters Part 1: Entry Level Employee, Freelance & Small Business Finances
Assignment: Prepare a monthly budget to determine your bottom line; Due March 20

 

Monday 18
Desk Critiques

 

Wednesday 20
Discussion: Money Matters Part 2— Pricing
Guest:  Amelie Wen (tentative)
Assignment due: Your monthly budget and bottom line

 

Week of the 25th — spring break

 

April

Monday 1
Desk critiques
Wednesday 3
Discussion: Good Business Practices & Professional Ethics

 

Monday 8
Studio Field trip

 

Wednesday 10
Discussion: Results of your informational interview
Assignment Due: Written report on your informational interview

 

Monday 15
Desk critiques

 

Wednesday 17
Open discussion

 

Monday 22
Work in class — Help on last minute production

 

Wednesday 24
Thesis Students — Final presentation of cover letter, resumé, portfolio, website, self-promotion piece

 

Monday 29
Work in class — Desk Critiques

 

May 

 

Wednesday 1
Work in class — Help on last minute production

 

Monday 6
Non-Thesis Students — Final presentation of cover letter, resumé, portfolio, website, self-promotion piece

 

Wednesday 8
Final Class

 


 

Policies

Class Time
This is a three hour class. We will typically take one scheduled 10-minute break halfway through the class period. You are expected to arrive on time and prepared to work for the entire class period. Although in-class work sessions are an integral component of this course, outside work on assignments will be necessary to meet project deadlines. I expect significant progress between classes. You are responsible for coming to class with the completed assignment and all necessary tools and materials for continuing work on the assignment. Projects are due at the beginning of each class. If you are more than 10 minutes late for class you will be counted as tardy and it is possible that we may not critique your work. Three tardy arrivals in any configuration equals an absence. If you are more than 20 minutes late for class you will be counted as absent. Three unexcused absences will result in a final grade of F. In-class exercises may not be made up. Thus, if you are absent on a day when we have an in-class project you will receive no credit for that assignment.

Evaluation
A+ (98% and higher): Exceptional work, equal to that of a professional designer.
A (92% and higher): Excellent and inspired work. Exemplary attitude.
A- (90%–91%): Excellent work and attitude.
B+ (88%–89%): Exceeded the requirements of the assignment. Very good work.
B (82%–87%): Met or exceeded the requirements of the assignment. Good work.
B- B- (80%–81%): Met the requirements of the assignment. Better than average work.

C+ (78%–79%): Met the requirements of the assignment. Average work.
C (72%–77%): Satisfactorily met the minimum requirements of the assignment. Acceptable work.
C- (70%–71%): Met the minimum requirements of the assignment. Below average work.

D+ (68%–69%): Failed to meet requirements of the assignment. Below average. Poor work and/or effort.
D (62%–67%): Failed to meet requirements of the assignment. Poor work and/or effort.
D- (60%–69%): Failed to meet all requirements of the assignment. Poor work and/or effort.

F (59% and lower): Unacceptable.

 

Important Notes on Grading

If you fail to meet any deadline, your final grade for that assignment will be lowered by one grade level. Note that a final grade of C- or lower requires you to repeat the course. CCA’s policies on academic integrity and reasonable expression can be found here. Please familiarize yourself with both.

 

Individual Assistance
There should be ample opportunity during class time to approach me for individual assistance with assignments. If you have questions regarding an assignment you should first contact one of your fellow classmates. If you have a question that only I can answer, or if you require additional assistance with a project you may contact me by phone or by email. Email is my preferred method of contact, but realize you may not receive an immediate response. For more urgent matters you may call my office during normal working hours, in truly urgent cases you may reach me on my mobile. Please, no calls after 7pm.

work: 415 647 6463

mobile: 415 244 8605

email

 

 

Frequently Answered Questions
Integral to this course is the dialogue between and I, you and your peers and you and  your expanding professional world. To further this dialogue, we will engage a variety of ideas through lecture, discussion, guests, panel discussions, field trips, interviews and research. Because your questions and concerns are likely to be shared by students and young professionals elsewhere we will also share then answers we uncover.

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