Friday, May 14, 2010

Putting the Art in Art Direction

Last week I attend a senior portfolio show at Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I love this school for many reasons: it's located in a wonderful cultural city that fosters the arts in so many ways; it's the perfect size for a college campus, not too big, not too small; and its advertising program prioritizes artistic fundamentals.

These are the exact artistic fundamentals that I loved in Megan Baxter's portfolio. She was the first graduate I met and I ended up chatting with her so long that I didn't have enough time to see all the students (bummer). She did a series of posters that are a true example of putting the art in art direction.

She described how she created them and I was in awe. Mostly because I wondered if any of my senior art directors (mine or anyone else's for that matter) were tearing up pieces of paper or cutting out letter shapes with an exacto all in the name of a good layout. Kinda doubt it.

Portfolios from schools like MCAD or SCAD or SVA have a different feel than others. I truly believe it's because they stress the arts first and "advertising" second. Students spend a full year in their fundamentals classes learning letterpress, silk screening, book binding, drawing, painting and so on.

These are the skills that come through in their advertising work. Like Megan's posters. She could have done these on the computer. She could have done the backgrounds in photoshop and the type in illustrator. Most people do. But she used her hands and tools other than a computer. The result: purely artistic.


Anonymous said...

The posters are par at best.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention, in the real world, with real clients, with established looks, you can't just tear up some pieces of paper for the sake of kindergarten "art".

Cecilia Gorman said...

The goal is to recognize effort, ingenuity and creativity in students as all three translate into the skills they use years later on. And if that means tearing up paper or drawing with a crayon, so be it.

Alex said...

I graduated from MCAD 10 years ago. Good school but students for the most part has no idea what to expect in the real world. I wish I could take a class on how to deal with clients or meet deadlines - it would've saved me a lot of time/money. Cool poster though - thumbs up.