Happy Leap Day!

written by Georgia Schumacher 29 February 2012

It comes around once every four years, and now it’s here – Leap Day 2012! You know that the day exists, but do you know why? The origins of the day go all the way back to ancient Rome. It actually takes the Earth 365.25 days to revolve around the sun, so in order to coordinate dates with astronomy and the passing seasons, Julius Caesar ordered that an extra day be added to the calendar every four years at the end of February.

So, there you have it, Leap Day.

It may seem like this extra day doesn’t really do anything special for you. Life continues to go on, and deadlines in your classes continue to stand. But with 2012 having 366 days instead of 365, there are, at the very least, opportunities to reflect. Maybe you can use this day to tackle projects that had otherwise fallen by the wayside. This is particularly useful if you have a specific To Do List for the month of February.

And what if you were born on this day? How do you celebrate it? Obviously, you’re still a year older as each year passes, even if your birthday is absent from the calendar. Maybe this is your chance to throw a huge birthday bash, or do something daring that you might not otherwise. However you choose to celebrate it—or not—we wish you a very happy Leap Day!

A Look at the Future of Video Game Design

written by Georgia Schumacher 27 February 2012

Welcome to part 4 in our series looking at the future of some of the occupational fields related to our program at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. Today we’re going to take a look at some trends in outlooks in the field of Video Game Art & Design.

The video game industry is a rapidly growing one, with “spending on video game hardware and games in 2011 was expected to exceed $74 billion, up from $67 billion on games in 2010,” according to report issued by Gartner, the technology research company, and covered in the New York Times. Furthermore, Gartner says that the industry is expected to continue to grow, “with game-related spending reaching $112 billion by 2015.”

What does this growth mean for the future of the game design profession? As you can imagine, many experts think opportunities will only continue to grow along with the industry. According to the Entertainment Software Association:

“A recent study, "Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2010 Report," detailed the impact that computer and video game companies have on America's economy. The report stated:

  • From 2005 to 2010, the entertainment software industry's revenue more than doubled. Over the same period, the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) only grew by about 16%.
  • The entertainment software industry added nearly $5 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2009.

The U.S. entertainment software industry also continues to function as a vital source of employment. Currently, video game companies directly and indirectly employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states.”

As we look into the future, what part of the video game industry is expected to dominate the future? According to Gartner, look to mobile:

“But the fastest growth is likely to come in mobile gaming, said Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner and co-author of the report, in an e-mail interview. He predicted that the sales and use of hand-held gaming consoles, including those made by Sony or Nintendo, would slow as young gamers opted for a smartphone or tablet instead of a dedicated gaming device.”

The video game industry doesn’t seem to be slowing down, might it be a field that you’re interested in? To learn more, visit our Game Art & Design degree page, read more from the Entertainment Software Association, or read the full article we referenced earlier in the New York Times.

A Look at the Future of Graphic Design

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 February 2012

Welcome to part 3 in our series looking at the future of some of the occupational fields related to our programs at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. Today we’re going to take a look at some trends in outlooks in the field of Graphic Design.

There are few professions that touch so many areas as Graphic Design. Just look around you right now – it’s likely that something around you has been influenced by a graphic designer – from the page you’re reading this on, to the menu on the table at your local coffee shop.

As pervasive as Graphic Design is, it doesn’t mean that it is not being constantly transformed by technology. As the media world (advertising, publishing, entertainment, etc.) moves increasingly from print to electronic based mediums, the world of the Graphic Designer will certainly follow suit.

As far as the job market, many expect that this technological shift will actually create more opportunities for Graphic Designers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"Employment of graphic designers is expected to grow 13 percent, as fast as the average for all occupations from 2008 to 2018, as demand for graphic design continues to increase from advertisers and computer design firms.

"Moreover, graphic designers with Web site design and animation experience will especially be needed as demand increases for design projects for interactive media—Web sites, mobile phones, and other technology. Demand for graphic designers also will increase as advertising firms create print and Web marketing and promotional materials for a growing number of products and services. Growth in Internet advertising, in particular, is expected to increase the number of designers. However, growth may be tempered by reduced demand in the print publishing, where many graphic designers are employed."

But what about the role of the Graphic Designer in the organizations of the future? Will their role within organizations change along with the changing face of technology? Roger Martin, the dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, argues in an article published by AIGA, the professional association for design, that “designers, by their nature, can bring solutions to light that escape others”:

“I think in a knowledge intensive world where advancing knowledge is the key to value creation and the key to competitive advantage to organizations, this capacity of design thinking is absolutely critical to having organizations overcome the biggest block they have, which is a dependence on analytical thinking and a fear of intuitive thinking. It's the thing in-between.”

With these facts and thoughts in mind, the future of Graphic Design certainly seems like it’s going to be an interesting and exciting one. Would you like to learn more? You might want visit the AIGA website, the Bureau of Labor Statistics or explore one of the Graphic Design programs offered at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division.

Stay tuned for part 4 of our series, a look at the future of Media and Game Art Design.

A Look at the Future of Photography

written by Georgia Schumacher 21 February 2012

Welcome to part 2 in our series looking at the future of some of the occupational fields related to our program at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. Today we’re going to take a look at some trends in outlooks in the field of Photography.

As anyone who has been paying attention can tell you, the world of Photography has undergone tremendous changes over the last several years. With the advent of digital photography and improving technologies, photographers face a very different landscape than they did 10 or 20 years ago.

Photography Programs

These changes have obviously affected the career outlook for the professional photographer. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics put it in their outlook:

"Employment of photographers is expected to grow 12 percent over the 2008-18 period, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for portrait photographers should increase as the population grows. Moreover, growth of Internet versions of magazines, journals, and newspapers will require increasing numbers of commercial photographers to provide digital images. The Internet and improved data management programs also should make it easier for freelancers to market directly to their customers, increasing opportunities for self-employment and decreasing reliance on stock photo agencies.

"Job growth, however, will be constrained somewhat by the widespread use of digital photography and the falling price of digital equipment. Improvements in digital technology reduce barriers of entry into this profession and allow more individual consumers and businesses to produce, store, and access photographic images on their own."

With these changes to the industry, what are some of the best practices for the aspiring photographer? As with any career where there is expected to be a lot of competition, being dedicated to excellence in your field is a best practice that should always be regarded. You can hear it directly from two of the most successful photographers working today as they discuss their advice for the future, Chase Jarvis and Albert Watson.

Also, if you’re interested in how the technology of the camera has changed over the years and what may lie ahead, this examination of the past and future of cameras may be of interest to you.

For more information on the photography industry, you may want to consult the Professional Photographers Association of America, or explore the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ full page on the career outlook for Photography.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our series, a look at the future of graphic design.

The Future of Advertising and Marketing

written by Georgia Schumacher 17 February 2012

Welcome to the first installment in our blog series taking a look at the future of some the occupational fields you’ll find here at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division. Today, we’re going to be looking at some trends and career outlooks in Advertising.

Perhaps more than any other form of media, Advertising is being transformed by the Internet, social media and mobile technology.

As technology has evolved, the world of the “Mad Men” of the advertising industry has almost completely disappeared. Whereas advertising used to be a one-way communication with brands sending messages to their audience, today it is a two-way communication. The internet and its related technologies now allow for unprecedented conversation between brands and their customers.

As Danielle Sacks put it in a lengthy article about the future of advertising in Fast Company magazine:

“Thanks to the Internet and digital technology, agencies are finding that the realization of their clients' ultimate fantasy -- the ability to customize a specific message to a specific person at a specific moment -- is within their grasp. It is also one very complex nightmare. After all, digital isn't just one channel. It's a medium that blooms thousands of other mediums.”

You can hear similar themes echoed in this interview with Ad tycoon Miles Nadal -- founder and CEO of MDC Partners, one of the largest advertising holding companies in the world."

So, what does this mean for students looking to pursue a career in advertising? Well, first, what is the market supposed to be like? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average. As with most managerial jobs, keen competition is expected for these highly coveted positions.

"Overall employment of advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers is expected to increase by 13 percent through 2018. Job growth will be spurred by competition for a growing number of goods and services, both foreign and domestic, and the need to make one’s product or service stand out in the crowd.”

So, it’s going to be a competitive marketplace, what can a graduate do to stand out? According to the Advertising Educational Foundation:

“With all the competition for jobs in advertising, you must develop your own "unique selling proposition" to communicate your own unique qualities. It's not enough that you are interested in advertising or that you made the dean's list eight times or that you wrote for the school newspaper. So did most of your competition. You have to connect what you've done in the past, in a unique way, to what you will do for the agency in the future. Developing a strategy gets your commitment, imagination, and analytical thinking out in the limelight. It is key to making you stand out from other candidates.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the future of advertising – for more information, here are links to the full articles mentioned above: