Finding Accredited Interior Design Degree Programs

Completing a degree, either an associate or bachelors, is becoming increasingly more important to the interior design profession. Be sure to cover these three important steps before making your final decision on an interior design degree school.

Step One: Check Accreditation
You should first check that the institution you are considering is properly accredited by FIDER. The accrediting body for interior design schools is the nonprofit Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research.

Step Two: Research Programs That Fit Your Needs
You have many options: two-year programs or four-year programs, big universities or small colleges or art and design schools, even home study.

Step Three: Talk with a Faculty Member
Set up an appointment with a faculty member at the schools you are most interested in. This is a good way to decide whether or not a program is right for you.

Find the full list of FIDER-accredited schools on this page.

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The Power of the 3 A.M. Red Bull Run

(A serendipitous occasion for inspiration…in the dark.)

Red Bull. Rockstar. Cigarettes. Donuts?

Whatever your poison, most have methods to keep the eyes awake and midnight oil burning. Pulling an extensive all-nighter is a refined art…a sleepless series of nights is not unheard of for procrastinators. Even the best planners run into occasional overtime hours to make the project presentation more powerful.

And yet the creative flame is never out. The Declaration of Independence was written by candlelight. The Star-Spangled Banner was composed by the light of cannon bombardments, flashing in the night.

Okay, true, these patriotic examples stir more political discussion than lessons on nighttime diligence. But the quiet of night can harness the imagination in a way a timeframe coasted in daylight cannot begin to inspire.

Cell phones go quiet. Email boxes stay empty. Roommates, neighbors, children (or parents, for the financial fortunate) go to sleep. The stillness instills an energy, or a point of view, that shines better in the dark.

So Jefferson may not have had Red Bull, but he appreciated his inspiration, his effort, and most importantly: urgency. Sample this: "We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose." Charles Baudelaire, French poet, 1821-1867.

The time I ended this piece: 2:25 AM. Enough said. Blaise Morita, French first name, 1978-?


Artist Success: Sleep on It!

(Lessons of a Pillow.)

I had an illustration professor (we'll call him Austin) who once imposed one of cardinal rules on the class. Except this was no lesson in technique or study of art history. No, his lesson was a social discipline.

The decree, hours of straight sleep. Naps and dozing didn't count. Seven uninterrupted hours. Surprisingly, Austin was not the only one to issue behavior pattern advice on slumber. Another seasoned professor, a vet of Disney projects lampooning during his off time as a teacher, gave the recommendation to set a set hour to always sleep by. His: midnight...the statute: no art after midnight or before six. Seems that getting rest was fashionable, and it was the law.

For most, this was not only an easy task, it was a reward. Sleeping is the easiest assignment in the world, right? Well, those who attend certain colleges or trade schools, especially artists and designers, know the right "finish" point on a project sometimes knows no deadline. Unlike a math equation, where a final answer equals the end of effort, a student artist can nightmarishly keep redefining a piece until it goes before the professor.

At our school, which promised five hours of homework per class session, the sleep imposition soon became just that. An unwelcome handcuff to getting projects properly finished. Ether you tossed in bed about unfinished work, or you stayed the course and stayed up. Austin always knew, too; he did a check every morning…"Let's see your ten sketches, your ¾ profile project, and did you get seven hours every night?" He could sniff liars out, but this was college... we all confessed to staying up extra if we put the hours in... dark circles don't lie, anyway.

The not-so-big secret to the assignment, we soon learned, was not sleep, but time delegation. Know your workload, your deadlines, your process, and plan accordingly. Getting the rest will help, but managing a schedule to allow your body to recoup energy is just as important. Austin bore splints on his wrists to help with his reoccurring carpel tunnel. Too much sketching, doctor said.

But if you do stay up, stay tuned to my next offering, where I offer advantages to restlessness and creative insomnia...


Art Speaks No Words...Just Screams at Eyes

How important is an image these days? In speaking to volumes of people, the image is irreplaceable. It can unify and inspire, acting as a symbol. It can turn political tides and reveal scandal and strife.

The line between art and advertising has blurred, however, as the image has become a crux in both the presentation of creative expression and ever-malleable fabric of public opinion. A crucial event that can encompass several arguments in the arena is the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, and one particular incident where the power of image was irrefutably unleashed.

A giant fiasco uncorked itself when a Dutch newspaper published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Blasphemous even in its attempt at representation, the cartoons did no favors with the critical and arguably vicious portrayal of Islam.

Obviously, the image has power... riots and protests worldwide proved the strength of the reaction. But, simply put, the image was art. Cartooning is historically satirical, yes, but a legitimate art form. It was not meant to gain the newspaper any further exposure past sales copy, although the notoriety the publication has now gained has raised awareness at the poor choice of target of the spoof. It was not meant to advertise a cause, although I would bet the cartoonists don’t plan to tout the pieces as highlights of their portfolios.

The outrage and violence spawned by the art pieces will inevitably be discussed in their validity, approach and purpose. But an undeniable fact to come from the drawings is the power of the image itself. For no where else does a simple illustration move the minds of millions at once, confirming the artful power of the pen may be more powerful than the sword.


Designing for Love Not to Pay the Rent

There is a popular book entitled, Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood. Many find this book to be the inspiration they need to leave a successful job they do not enjoy and take a risk on a career they will relish. While the premise of the book is inspiring the reality is not all leaps to new careers necessarily result in prosperity.

Those in the design industry certainly understand the concept behind the premise of this book but are also willing to remain in a career they enjoy whether or not the money eventually follows. For these individuals the love of the job is more important than the monetary compensation. This is the mark of a gifted designer.

We all have responsibilities. Rent has to be paid, car payments met, credit card bills repaid and food needs to be purchased. Money doesn’t buy love and love doesn’t buy material things creating a frustrating paradox for many designers. So, how do talented designers take care of basic necessities while pursuing a career they love? If their design career doesn’t pay enough to fulfill basic needs, the simple answer is to take on a second job. It may be tiring, it may interfere with free time and it may not be fun work but in the end, if it enables you to continue your dreams in design, it is always worthwhile.


Advertising Design: High Octane Product Placement

So, if you're any type of advertising designer, every project by Pixar Studios has got to be on your radar. Which means the release of Cars s on your calendar. And the fathers of Nemo and Buzz are aiming at not only delighting the paying audience, but a gluttony of corporate sponsors.

Cars may turn out to be one of the greatest extended commercials ever. Not only are regular TV promos seamlessly integrating high quality animation and dialogue, but also advertisers are shelling out major cash to have product appearances in the flick. State Farm. AT & T. Goodyear. Just a few who have keen product placement or savvy logo flashes for this high-octane campaign.

While nothing new, the digital technology and subject matter of the movie have made sponsor tie-ins not only easy but also seamless. This is about auto racing, after all, a sport known for image placement. But on a closer level, a dialogue is stirring about what makes an art form (in this case, an animated motion picture) and what is sheer commercial name-dropping.

I have not yet seen Cars, but I can still recall mounds of movies that name-dropped like a Hollywood party. A Peps swig here, a Cheetos grab there. Even a faulty FedEx plane crash gets the name out there, albeit in a conflicted manner. But Cars has taken the crossover, taking Happy Meals out of consumer hands and serving up the fair as visual candy instead.

Arguably many would rather not have an obvious shill distract us from the pace of the movie. But products surround us in daily life, too. The screen only gives back what we consume here in a real existence. But this isn't your mom's animated flick; Snow White didn't have Coke (that we know of), but Cars has Hertz. Still, modern viewers presumably will glean more plot and less product from the movie, or so producers would hope.

Then again, how many volleyballers now call their precious sidekick “Wilson”? Arguably the best product placement…ever. We'll see if Cars can race to beat that feat...

More info on becoming an advertising designer

Quality of Online Design Degree Programs

Capella University is hosting a conference that will focus on ensuring the quality of distance learning next week at the National University Telecommunications Network in Minneapolis.

The concept of earning a degree online has exploded over the past few years and has left many potential students confused and wondering about the quality of learning, technology challenges and pricing structures.

These issues are of utmost concern to people considering online design degree programs.

It's hard to imagine that earning a video game design online degree will provide the same quality of education that one might get in a traditional classroom setting.

Thankfully, these are the issues being discussed at this conference. Seems like it's a chance for the top online schools to compare online degree program success stories and opportunities for improvement.

According to Kurt Linberg, PhD, dean of the School of Business and Technology at Capella, the Network's event provides an important forum for sharing strategies and best practices to enhance distance learning. The meeting features presentations on the effectiveness of learning, student and faculty satisfaction, cost effectiveness, partnerships, course design and other key topics.

Capella University offers an entire catalog of distance learning courses, specifically online design degree programs and has become a leader in online education through their commitment to high-caliber academic excellence.

Becoming a Buyer with her Fashion Design Degree

Her determination is inspiring and the sacrifice she's making to enter Nordstrom's Internship program just after graduating with a Fashion Design Degree is sure to pay off for Lauren Deranger.

The University of Louisiana put the spotlight on Lauren as one of their top nine graduating students this year who is planning to make her mark in the fashion industry. This honor is certainly not easy to come by according to Robbie Bush, chairman of the association's awards committee.
"What we like to see is a combination of academic achievement, meaningful community outreach on a consistent basis and a focus on how that relates to the next step of their continued careers."
Seeking a career in fashion is an incredibly competitive undertaking where only those that truly have the talent and the focus are mostly likely to succeed. Having only classroom knowledge under her belt, Lauren knew that it would take some creativity on her part to get a foot in the door.
"I knew going into it how difficult it was for someone to get a job in fashion. ... I knew Nordstrom took interns. It's the most prestigious and competitive company, so I looked on the map and said, 'Oh, that's where the buyers are. That's where I want to be.' "
After a successful completion of that type of program Lauren will have the experience, contact and references to make it to her dream job of becoming a fashion buyer.

Find out about The Art Institute's Fashion Retail and Management Degree

Read more about Lauren.

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The Art Institutes - Online Design Degree ProgramsDesign Degrees at Digital Media Arts CollegeInternational Academy of Design and TechnologyThe Institute of Interior Design - Online Interior Design Degree ProgramsWestwood College Online Art SchoolDesign Degree Programs at American Intercontinental University
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