Thinking of expanding on your current studies? Already studying design and want to take it further? Struggling to put those creative concepts to paper?
Take your industry offerings to the next level with our one year digital courses, by whipping your portfolio, and your digital skills, into shape before you put yourself out there!
Above: Gareth van Rooyen posing for Design Bootcamp
With a new year comes new possibilities, new roads to take and new paths to choose. When it comes to choosing to become a designer, you have to make sure that you are fully rounded in both conceptual and technical aspects of this avenue. Often, new graduates are brimming with excellent ideas but struggle to put them in action due to their lack of software knowledge. It is essential to have the know how to use the technology in the industry in order to ensure that you execute your ideas in the best way possible.
We make that our mission at Friends of Design, to equip you with the conceptual and technical knowledge you need to succeed in the design world. To show you exactly what our students think of us, we took some time out to chat to two of our most promising and talented graduates, who after a exhaustive 6 years of studies, are venturing out at long last, ready to flex their design muscles and spread their wings.
Eva Csernyanszky, Director of FOD, opened up the Q & A session, with Liesl Rademan and Gareth Van Rooyen, Stellenbosch Design graduates who benefitted hugely from our 2 year Digital Design course, utilizing it as a technical round-up before going out into the industry.
Above: Liesl Rademan at work
Q: How old are you both?
Q: Please tell us a little about your previous qualifications:
LR: I hold a BA in Visual Communication at the University of Stellenbosch, where I studied for four years and absolutely loved it – it was awesome. It was very conceptual, and we did a lot of hand rendered work, which was great but unfortunately left us lacking in software knowledge in order to put our concepts to paper.
GVR: I also did a four year degree at Stellenbosch University and obtained a degree in BA in Fine Art (Visual Communication Design).
Q: What did you study at Friends of Design?
LR: The 2 Year Full time course in Print and Web (2 year Digital Design Course)
GVR: In first year we studied DTP and the second year was Motion and Web Graphics.
Q: What, in your opinion, does FOD offer that you feel complements and adds value to your previous studies?
LR: Superb technical training in all the software that is currently relevant in the industry. This has enabled me to take my hand rendered work in a more mainstream direction and to open up to new styles of design. It’s important not to be “too personal” in your work, you should be well rounded with knowledge of different programs, even if you don’t enjoy them at first – it takes time and effort but pays off.
GVR: I have to agree with Liesel – Leaving Stellenbosch University I obtained strong conceptual and design skills but weak program skills. The agencies today require that you need strong program skills. FOD helped me gain those program skills and I am now able to apply my conceptual skills to my programs skills to produce a final product.
Above: Friends of Design class
Q: What FOD course components and / or modules most appealed to you, and how did they benefit you?
LR: I had no prior experience in the Web modules, so I would say that I gained the most through them – I thought I would hate them, but can definitely say that I got a kick out of the HTML / CSS modules, as technical as they are. The immense possibilities offered by the motion graphics components definitely appealed to my creative and conceptual background.
GVR: That’s pretty difficult. I enjoyed all of them, but in particular, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and After Effects. However, you need most of them in today’s world. If I had to pick just one it would be the Motion Graphics, most of the other modules may fall under this.
Above: Friends of Design students – Liesl and Gareth
Q: Would you say that your studies at FOD altered your career direction at all?
LR: No, but it gave me the confidence I lacked to pursue my chosen career goal, which is to open a high quality design studio. Studying here has definitely broadened my horizons and given me more options.
GVR: I was always heading into design, but FOD pin pointed me into something more specific, and in a sense prepared me for the industry.
Q: Any advice you could give to current / prospective students and design graduates, or their institutions?
LR: I think that it’s important to distinguish between the technical and designing part of the industry. While software is mainly a tool in the hand of a designer, it is the necessary gateway to reach audiences on relevant platforms. Both students and institutions need to realise that as with any other occupation, becoming a designer that is of any worth takes time. I would definitely recommend investing in your education, and to make sure that you are both creatively and technically independent before you approach the industry.
GVR: It is always difficult to see where you would like to go. Studying at FOD might help those that were in a similar position to me. I would recommend that most students that leave a tertiary institute study at FOD, that is, if they want to go into design. You understand the work load and really does open up a few more doors which is never a bad thing.
Above: Friends of Design – student at work
Though it’s sad to see them go, Friends of Design always keeps a careful eye on our past students and these two are definitely ones to watch. We hope to celebrate their success very soon, as we have recently done for an ex student – check out: This article
With that all said, we are more than ready to open our doors and welcome our new students who have taken the brave decision to pursue their dream of becoming a designer. We look forward to helping them realise that dream and with our excellent team of technical trainers, who share a passion for all things creative, we are confident that we will help them make it happen!