When lifelong artist Arianne Taylor was looking for a degree program, she found the Art Institute of Seattle and its graphic design associate of applied arts degree. The graphic design program married her artistic skills with a technological foundation. Despite its distance from her home in Reno, Nevada, Taylor knew that relocating to the Pacific Northwest to participate in the program was a worthwhile investment.

Graphic Designer Arianne Taylor (photo courtesy of Arianne Taylor)

Graphic Designer Arianne Taylor (photo courtesy of Arianne Taylor)

“I chose the Art Institute of Seattle because it had the most to offer,” Taylor explained. The program’s technological foundation dovetailed beautifully with her artistic aptitude, and Taylor received a job offer before she even graduated from the program.

“At graduation from the Art Institute, there’s a portfolio review. If potential employers appreciate the content of your portfolio, they’ll recruit you right there. A company called Wadeware hired me at my portfolio review. Wadeware consulted at Microsoft and it was my job to design the websites for a Sharepoint site. I did their computer graphics.”

Taylor currently works as a UI/UX, or user interface/user experience, designer contracting at Microsoft. Prior to that, she worked at Mosey and Bluetooth.

“I would definitely recommend the Art Institute for people seeking a graphic design degree,” Taylor stated. “The school has great teachers and you receive a thorough education. You get out of it what you put into it. Some people thought it would just be a fun art school instead of gaining a technological background, but you really do get that technological foundation, as well.”

The school also provides its students with valuable real-world opportunities.

“There was a class called student studio where you competed with students in your class to help a nonprofit organization. The student whose work was chosen got to feature this work in their portfolio and the nonprofit received free graphic design work. You got to see what it’s like to pitch an idea and work with a client.”

Continuing education for graphic designers is also important. Taylor recommends that people entering the graphic design workforce should have a background in basic HTML and CSS. Taylor is also proficient with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Expression Design/Blend.

For those seeking a competitive degree, Taylor recommends the Art Institute’s graphic design program and web development program.

“The Art Institute has a lot to offer,” says Taylor. “You receive the technical background that prepares you to be a graphic designer.”

Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.


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