There are many places to learn graphics and website design outside of the traditional college system. Although I liked college, its strictures can be too much in this age of on-demand media.
Looking into one Masters Program required that I apply a year or longer ahead of the start date. Why the long wait before you start? Why can’t you start the same semester, if you desire? So here are some alternative places to look:
::Graphic Design: Self Taught & Online Programs
I highly recommend the Lynda.com software tutorials. They have online video tutorials for so many different programs. The cost is a minimal $25 a month, and its month to month. For that money, you can watch as many videos as you want!
And remember that any training leading to a job or to keep up your career is tax deductible. I find their videos much easier than just reading a book without seeing the software being used. (Disclosure: I believe in them so much, that I became an affiliate recently.)
Robin Williams has written many great books, but especially Web Design Workshop. Her books are really great for thinking about the design and the visual experience of using a website, or the look of words in a printed piece, before you start to code or build something on the computer. Many years ago she railed against “mystery navigation,” links with no labels or ALT tags. Your local library might have this book.
The Visual Quickstart Guides are a wonderful series. I learned a lot in their tutorials, and it was easy to look up what you specifically wanted to do. Very well laid out and indexed. Check out these:
Online courses: UCLA Extension and Ed2go.com both have online courses for graphics and website design. (For UCLA try art or communications sections.) I’m sure there are others, as well. UCLA tends to be quite pricey, but again, it could be tax deducted under education expenses. You could also try Santa Monica College Academy.
AIGA.org,a professional design organization, has many articles online, as well. They are written by professionals in the field.
You might also check out the winners on CommArts.com. It’s a creative magazine focusing on design fields like websites, illustration and graphics.
CSS has radically changed in the last five years. Websites are much easier to update, and the use of CSS-styled live text allows search engines to index them better. (For more on this, see my articles on this site:
If you want to learn more about website design, I highly recommend HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS. Rachel Andrew really explains how to build the page using tutorials (easy). The book also includes a wonderful index in the back. She talks about coding the body first, so search engines will rank it more importantly than sidebars. Sidebar text is usually ancillary, so of course it can be coded further down the line of HTML. She explains how to float a three column layout on the page. Her tutorials will also explain how to create a page that floats in the center of the window. All of it is useful!
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Diana Sproul, Owner and Founder
Sproul Creative Graphics and Web Design
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