5 Places to Find Creative Inspiration

written by Georgia Schumacher 7 October 2014

When asked about his creative process, author Kurt Vonnegut advised that, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.

Luckily, creativity never demands perfection. Instead, your success at a creative arts school and in your creative career relies heavily on bravery and the ability to color outside of the lines. Yet sometimes, creative thought can start to flounder amid expectations of the tried and true. When you need a creative boost, try these 5 things to resuscitate your imagination and lead you toward your most inspired creations.

Fall nature scene

1. Nature

There's a reason people talk about the importance of "getting back to nature." The simplicity of the living world lies in stark opposition to fast-paced city life and 9-to-5 stuffiness. Fresh air, chirping birds, and rustling leaves serve as more than just a scenic backdrop — they summon primal instincts that take humans back to their roots, which can help resolve common barriers like overthinking and nitpicking.

2. Art

Artist Marc Chagall once said, "Great art picks up where nature ends." Whether through art galleries, showings, museums, or books, studying other artists' interpretations of the world around them is an ideal way to awaken your own inner curiosity and creativity. Trying new mediums can also help you and learning new techniques in your art school classes can also provide wonderful ways of connecting to untapped ideas.

3. Silence

Silence is known to be golden, but it's a state too many people avoid. Sitting in solitude without the distractions of conversation and television is a powerful experience that lends itself to deep thinking. With only your mind to guide you, your inner thoughts will surface without outside influences. Getting comfortable with silence through meditation or simple bouts of quiet time summons the creative energy that's often overshadowed by everyday noise.

4. Music

Music

Aldous Huxley stated, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Whether it's the melody or lyrics that move you, listening to music allows you to connect to the medium while simultaneously looking inward. The reflective ability of music is both powerfully inspiring and unifying. When coupled with other artistic endeavors like drawing or writing, its creative impact is readily achieved.

5. Journals

Many people who swear by journaling note its ability to get to the bottom of what's really inside your heart and mind. If you feel stuck or confused in your creative process, allowing yourself to write freely is a wonderful way to unlock inner feelings that can shed light on issues you didn't consciously know were affecting your work. As author Christina Baldwin says, "Journal writing is a voyage to the interior," and we think it's a voyage worth taking—during art school and beyond—for its creative merits.

Sign up for our upcoming graphic design webinar!

written by Georgia Schumacher 24 September 2014

calendar

Mike Massengale & Garry McKee, senior full-time faculty members in graphic design at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, present “Skills Graphic Designers Should Learn,” to be held Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6pm ET. All enrolled students are invited to attend!

About the webinar

Topics that will be covered include:

• The importance of learning to draw
• Learning the art of the pitch
• Learning the importance of teamwork

During the event, students can volunteer to speak. If you would like to speak, you can virtually raise your hand and wait to be called upon. In addition, you can submit your comments through the comments module in the webinar. Some of these comments will be read aloud during the session.

Register

If you're a current student, register for the virtual event at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/125189783. Space is limited.

Meet the presenters

Mike Massengale
MikeArtist Mike Massengale is best known for his liquid vibrations style. Mike often uses music to drive the emotion of his signature style—warm, emotionally evocative images that are dreamy and tranquil yet alive with intense colors. Massengale’s mediums cover the gamut—from oil and pastel to digital painting. He is always studying new techniques that lend themselves to his style and his work has resonated with audiences and buyers throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Mike resides in South Carolina with his wife and twin children (son and daughter), where he illustrates and teaches full-time at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. Massengale holds an AA in Commercial Art from Anderson College, a BS in Commercial Fine Arts from Appalachian State University, an MA in Illustration from Syracuse University, and a MFA in Illustration from University of Hartford School of Art. During the past 30 years he has worked in commercial art in a number of capacities including graphic artist, illustrator, animator, art director, and creative director.

Garry McKee
GaryGarry McKee earned his MFA from Georgia Southern University. Just after graduating in 2000, he began teaching full time as a member of the Graphic Design Department at The Art Institute of Atlanta, where he remained until 2005. In January 2005, he moved from being a full-time faculty member at The Art Institute of Atlanta to being a full-time faculty member with The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division.

During that time, he has remained active as a freelance print/web designer and illustrator with clients ranging from Tyco Electronics, to Marvel Comics, to a wide variety of local and regional organizations. You can find his work at www.theseersucker.net or view videos and tutorials on his Youtube channel: theseersucker. His Google+ and Twitter handle is theseersucker as well. As he explains, he “apparently has an odd fascination with the fabric.”

To find and register for more student events, check out the Events Calendar in the Campus Common today!

Need a little help in your math class? Join MATHLIVE!

written by Georgia Schumacher 18 September 2014

Math problemThe Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division prides itself on the student support provided by our staff and faculty alike. Our admissions representatives, academic counselors, students finance counselors, librarians, and tutors are always there to lend a helping hand. Our newest addition to our extensive academic support offering includes our new MATH1010 webinar series MATH LIVE!, held twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays.

Each MATH LIVE! webinar is a 60-minute informal study session with a full-time math faculty member. In these weekly sessions, you can ask math questions, enrich your grasp on the class material and gain useful assignment guidance. By attending a MATHLIVE!, you can receive 5 bonus points, with the possibility to earn a maximum of 10 points toward your total points for the course.

Come prepared with specific questions, such as “Can you show me how to factor “x^2+5x+4?”, so that you make the most of your time in the session. All questions are welcome but more general questions (such “I don’t understand quadratic equations. Can you help me?”) are difficult to answer in a short period of time.

How to Register

Sessions are open on Monday evenings at 7:30 PM ET and on Thursday mornings at 11:00AM ET. If you’re interested in attending, register here to reserve your webinar seat. After registering, you’ll receive a confirmation email with information needed to join the webinar.

For more upcoming events, visit our Events calendar in the Campus Common.

Behind the Runway: The Business of Fashion Marketing

written by Georgia Schumacher 16 September 2014

Clothing on display

When it comes to careers in fashion, there are a myriad of choices for those who want to claim their place in the fashion scene without becoming designers. Whether the retail, media, or public relations aspects appeal to you, a career in fashion marketing can take you where you want to go. As a fashion marketer, you can take on a wide variety of duties related to branding, sales, promotions, customer relations and event planning. These careers are great for social butterflies who want to share their passion for the fashion industry with the world.

What is fashion marketing anyway?

As in any industry, marketing is key to the success of all fashion businesses. Both retail outlets and design houses hire marketing teams to manage their brands, plan events, set retail store layouts and work with customers. Being a fashion marketer is all about supporting the work of designers and fashion brands by showing the latest and greatest in fashion to consumers and retail stores.

Professionals who work in this field know how to conduct consumer research, measure the popularity of new trends, and design marketing campaigns that bring big results. Of course, not all fashion marketers work for huge design houses or major stores. Because marketing is essential at every level of the fashion industry, many people in this field also work for smaller boutiques and individual fashion designers.

Marketing career paths for fashion pros

One of the most exciting aspects of a marketing career is the multitude of options it affords. Instead of being confined to one type of job, fashion marketers can take on many different responsibilities. Picking an area of focus is all about deciding which of the following positions meet your talents, skills, and professional goals. Remember that the following are popular positions in the fashion field, but they're not the only careers in fashion marketing by a long shot!

Shopper

Merchandise Coordinator. Merchandise coordinators are responsible for managing a brand's products in retail outlets. They may simply set up display designs and priorities to be shared with visual merchandisers in other stores, or they may be responsible for setting up displays on their own. Depending on the size of the company, merchandise coordinators may also be expected to do some online brand management such as social media marketing and photo uploads to company websites.

Retail Manager. Retail outlets make up the biggest sector in the fashion industry, and management jobs in such outlets tend to employ experienced fashion marketers. Those students who are just completing a fashion degree program may be prepared to enter the workforce as assistant managers while those with more on-the-ground experience may be able to win store or regional management positions. These professionals are responsible for overseeing every aspect of a retail store's operations from merchandising to staffing to brand management.

Buyer. No matter the size of the retail outlet, fashion businesses rely on buyers to hunt down the season's latest trends, negotiate purchase prices, and choose merchandise for a store. Large retail outlets generally have a team of buyers, and each buyer may be responsible only for certain items. For instance, there may be separate buyers for women's wear, men's wear, and accessories. Smaller retail outlets generally employ only one buyer or require managers to handle buyer duties. Buyers are responsible for not only understanding current trends but also for introducing them to consumers.

Sales and Events Promoter. Special events and sales provide a key way for businesses to get the word out about breaking trends and attract new consumers. While some fashion companies may use a freelance event planner to manage events, others prefer to hire professionals who have industry-specific experience.

Merchandise Planner. Also known as visual planners or visual merchandisers, merchandise planners are responsible for designing displays in retail stores. They decide how clothing and accessories will be displayed on tables, stands and racks. Depending on where they work, merchandise planners may also be responsible for ensuring that their store is following any company-wide visual display standards or planograms.

Media Planner/Buyer. Digital and online marketing are just as important to today's fashion businesses as in-person marketing is in retail stores. Media planners and buyers are responsible for designing a media marketing program and buying space in print publications, online outlets and on other media such as billboards in order to advertise or promote a company’s products. Professionals in these roles are responsible both for planning and budgeting, so a solid understanding of business finance is key.

Is a marketing career right for you?

Marketing careers offer one of the most promising means of entering the fashion industry. Thanks to the many different hats that fashion marketers can wear, both new and seasoned professionals can pursue a wide variety of job roles that meet their educational accomplishments and personal preferences.

If you're considering a career as a fashion marketer, remember that it's essential that you enjoy working with people. You'll spend a great deal of time interacting with company leaders, fashion industry insiders and consumers as you plan, launch, and manage marketing campaigns.

Careers in marketing are also desirable for those who want to eventually own their own fashion businesses. A solid foundation in marketing provides the knowledge needed to launch a brand or consulting service. Learn more about fashion marketing and the programs available in this area today!

Accessibility and Attracting a Larger Audience for Your Video Game

written by Georgia Schumacher 10 September 2014

It's relatively easy for creative minds such as game developers to think, "Am I creating the next Skyrim or Temple Run?" Yet the majority of games, whether indie or mainstream, are far from this narrow criteria. Before breathing life into your project, ask yourself a finer question: who needs accessibility? If reaching a wider audience is a part of your goal, read these tips on how to successfully integrate simple features into your game.

1. Focus on a Specific Constraint

Every game is built to test the skills of its players in a genuine way; dynamically mapped controls or even perfectly timed, auditory cues mean the difference between "GAME OVER" and saving the princess.

While you’re in the development stage, creating accessibility options should come naturally as you decide how your game will challenge users and the different levels at which it makes sense to challenge these individuals. For example, an intense RPG (role-playing game) deserves a feature that decreases the overall difficulty of each level or the complexity of the in-game economy, if at all possible, for those who have cognitive issues.

2. Test, Test and Test Some More

There is no better way to decide if a new option is useful for its intended audience than by testing it on those who need it; gather a group of hopeful players, watch them play and let them unleash their critiques. Seeing a gamer struggle with a puzzle or task will certainly shape future progress.

3. Shout It from the Rooftops

Advertising is the most crucial part of getting others to experience the features you've worked tirelessly on. To date, very few games make it apparent that accessibility options even exist within the settings. For those shopping for such features, it becomes a difficult treasure hunt. Tell others about what you've made, and the good reviews should start to pile up.

4. It's a Perspective, Not an Impairment

No matter what may hold back a person from experiencing certain aspects of life, there is still a gaming fiend within everyone. More importantly, if a game designer rightfully assumes that any one of their future users may have an issue with coordination, hearing, cognition or vision, simply working with that in mind could make the final product more attractive to all — even if it means taking a little more time to add in a few extra settings that provide clearer fonts, reconfigured controls, or an array of difficulty levels.

Sources: http://igda-gasig.org/ | http://gameaccessibilityguidelines.com/