This Article Originally Appeared in the Thursday, February 7th 2008 Edition of the Huntington Beach Independent. View the online article
Golden West College keeps up with latest technology, giving students edge in design field
It’s hard to look around without seeing the work of a graphic designer. From your box of cereal in the morning to the billboards you see on the way to work, artistic design permeates every level of our culture.
After all, someone has to design the packaging we wrap our products in. Corporate logos can’t create themselves. Websites must come from somewhere, right? Every page of every magazine or newspaper you’ve ever read is thanks in part to a graphic artist.
“Every industry on this planet is touched by us,” said digital artist Debbie Bales, who designs publications for Golden West College.
Golden West’s graphic design department rivals that of many four-year universities. The department stays up to date on the latest graphic software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
In an industry where computer technology is ever changing, it’s often hard for schools to keep pace. Digital design instructor Sean Glumace said staying abreast with current hardware is a major draw for the program.
While many of the program’s students are fresh from high school, a large portion is also made up of older students returning to school. Some students are looking for a complete career change, but many are established graphic design professionals who are taking classes to update their skills on new technology.
Anne White is one example. She was the manager of Disney’s art department. She had experience telling graphic designers what she wanted done, but White wanted to realize her visions for herself.
“I didn’t have the computer skills to fully be a graphic artist,” White said. Golden West was where White learned them.
“It’s really exciting because it’s hard to go to a community college and work with the very best equipment,” White said. “You can go as far as you can possibly go with graphic design there because they have the latest stuff.”
She is now a freelance designer, creating logos and brochures, even the program for the Emmys.
Glumace said the jobs are out there and the program is geared toward getting students into them. Along with the theories of design, digital arts students can take classes on the business of art, web design and print design.
Anyone can learn graphic design no matter the artistic level, Glumace said. “A lot of people think they need to have an art background. It’s a misconception.”
Since there are so many varied fields for designers to go into, Golden West allows students to figure out what they like.
“This is where you find your niche,” Bales said. “[Students] find direction here.”
Golden West’s spring semester started this week, but there is still time to petition classes. Glumace encourages anyone who wants to learn design to take a class.
“We’ll accommodate everyone who walks through that door,” Glumace said.