Join us for these April events!

written by Georgia Schumacher 2 April 2014

Calendar iconYou might guess that as an art school offering fully online programs we wouldn’t have many events, but in reality we have a full calendar this month! Driven by our active student and faculty community, April brings yet another month of exciting events for our art school students at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. Register for events and stay in the know with what’s happening by checking the Events calendar in Campus Common!

Here’s a quick look at what’s on the schedule this month!

Graphic Design Career Series, Starting 4/3/14

This is our seventh annual Graphic Design Career Series. This year, the series features 5 top industry professionals and designers discussing critical industry topics as well as their creative inspiration. The discourse provides students with valuable insight to contemporary professional practice and career preparation. Read more >

IGDA Meetings, Tuesdays & Thursdays

Our student chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) typically meets twice a week and is a great opportunity for students interested in game design and development. Learn more about our group and discover 10 reasons why you should join in this post from September!

Orientation Class – Live Webinar, Weekly in April

Take part in a meet and greet webinar for the Orientation Class. This session will be used to introduce your facilitator and demonstrate classroom navigation functions and features of the Campus Common.

Learn to Draw: Perspective Drawing, 4/8

This event is recommended for students in FND113 Perspective Drawing and FND110 Drawing. Watch demos and get your questions answered about one, two, and three-point perspective, as well as other perspective drawing techniques.

Illustrator Bootcamp I: Basic Designing, 4/14

This event is recommended for students in FND111 Color Theory and FND112 Fundamentals of Design. Topics include basic workflow, creating and editing basic shapes, and an introduction to color, fills, and strokes.

Online Tutoring Services Introduction, 4/22

This brief webinar will introduce students to our on-demand, online tutoring options. We will demonstrate how students can access our online tutoring, discuss the different tutoring categories available, and cover other important details about this convenient, complimentary resource.

To register or view our full calendar, current students can visit the Events page in the Campus Common today! (From your Campus Common home page, select Events in the Campus Life dropdown menu.)

Interested in attending an art school and taking classes from your own home? Learn more information about The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division today.

Don’t Miss the 2014 Graphic Design Career Series

written by Georgia Schumacher 26 March 2014

With weekly webinars taking place from April 3, 2014 to May 1, 2014, the Graphic Design Department at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division announces the seventh annual Graphic Design Career Series. Each presentation is open to current students via GoToWebinar.

In 2014, this exciting event features top industry professionals and designers discussing critical industry topics as well as their creative inspiration. The discourse provides students with valuable insight to contemporary professional practice and career preparation. The talks will include:

Jenn Godbout 
Associate Director of Partnerships at Behance, part of the Adobe family
The Art of Self Promotion with Behance
Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Whether your goal is to work in-house at creative company, or build your own business as a freelancer – your online presence can make or break your career. Join Jenn Godbout from Behance, the leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work, as she discusses what makes an online portfolio successful, why self-curation is so important and how to make the best first impression online.

Sumaya Kazi 
Founder and CEO of
How to Connect with the People You Don't Know, But Should
Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

This insightful talk, How to Connect with the People You Don't Know, But Should will explore the power of networking. Sumaya will share her story of her path toward entrepreneurship, and how she utilized networking to become an award-winning entrepreneur. She will provide actionable insights on tools and ways to utilize networking to get ahead.

Bill Thorburn
Chief Executive Officer at The Thorburn Group
Branding as Storytelling
Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Bill has been honored to work with some of the world’s most prestigious brands: Coke, Harley Davidson, Disney, Formica, VH1, United Colors of Benetton, Nike, Porsche, LaCoste, Capital Records, and Hallmark. The work of Bill and his team has been consistently honored in every industry publication from Communication Arts to ID Magazine for the past 20 years, winning every award from a Cannes Lion to the prestigious Gold pencil. The topic of Bill’s talk is branding as storytelling.

Jeni Herberger 
Creative Pro Turned Corporate Guru and Founder of Creative Concepts
Creativity + Business
Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Jeni's talk, Creativity + Business, will address why creativity is a key skill in addressing today’s business challenges. Every designer must learn to approach the process with whole-brain thinking. Discover creative confidence – the natural ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out. Learn the fundamentals of creative thinking and be introduced to tools that will spark inspiration and innovation.

Noreen Moiroka
Partner, AdamsMorioka, Inc
Being a Famous Designer is like being a Famous Dentist
Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

If you Google Noreen Morioka, most likely this quote will come up many times. This was one of her answers 15 years ago when a student asked what it was like to be a famous designer. In her presentation, Noreen will share how, together with Sean Adams, they built AdamsMorioka on the simple test of who and what is the right project to work on. She'll share shortcuts to succeeding with clients, professional advice on building a business, and, most importantly, knowing who you are and where you should be headed. Plus Noreen has a few strong pirate jokes just in case you get bored.

Space for each presentation is limited. Register today using the Campus Common Events Calendar!

How to Grow Your Freelance Business

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 March 2014

Fashion Design Freelancer

For many of us, there's nothing we want more than to be our own boss. Whether you are a photographer, animator, or designer, or you run a one-person culinary or retail store, growing your freelance business is the key to successfully working for yourself and earning a living doing what you love.

You may be talented in your craft and passionate about what you do, but it takes more than that to establish and grow your freelance business. Here are some tips to help you improve your freelance business:

Develop Your Natural Talent

Creative skills are like a plant. Unless properly cared for and provided with nourishment, both will begin to wilt. By continuing to improve your skills and develop your career, you will strengthen your work, build credibility, and improve your self esteem. You could:

Find an art school where you can take classes online or at a local campus
• Attend seminars, conferences, or events in your field
• Submit your work to peer-reviewed shows or publications

Increase Your Rates

It sounds silly, but increasing your freelance rates will show potential clients that your work is high-quality and you deserve to be compensated accordingly. Many freelancers assume that they have to settle for low payments because of the vast number of freelancers available to interested parties. But just because there is someone out there who will paint a portrait for five dollars, doesn't mean all consumers want a portrait worth five dollars. Setting high, yet reasonable, prices for your work will attract customers looking for high-quality work from a trusted freelancer.

Promote Your Brand

Many people turn to online resources before making a purchase of goods or services. When they come looking, will your business be there? Make sure your business has a modern, fast and easy-to-navigate website that is in tune with your brand's visual and written messages. Be sure to include the following on your website:

• Samples of your work
• Contact information (phone, email, social media)
• Testimonials from happy clients
• List of services offered
• Any art school you've attended or any relevant degrees

You can also promote your brand and build positive relationships with your customers via social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram provide a personal connection with potential clients and can help them view you as a familiar, trusted business.

Network with Fellow Artists

Just because you are working for yourself doesn't mean you have to figure everything out by yourself. Join a group of freelancers online or in your area for support, ideas, and possible collaborations. Attend events at local art galleries or art schools. If you're an art school graduate, get in touch with other alumni. By networking with others in your field, you could even learn valuable information that could help your freelance business grow!

Exploring the Fundamentals of Educational Game Design

written by Georgia Schumacher 13 March 2014

Game Design ImageCreating a successful educational game or educational software requires technical skills, creativity, and the ability to effectively utilize the latest technology. Educational games must be both easy to use and engaging, while also providing a meaningful learning experience. Studies have shown that educational games can promote critical thinking and problem solving in players, and high-quality game design is the key to achieving those results.

Technology at Your Fingertips

Computer and mobile technology has advanced greatly in recent years, drawing more attention in game design schools and allowing for more options than ever in the world of game development. Most people are already immersed in the latest computer and mobile technology, using it for work or to connect with friends and family, and can easily adapt to using that same technology to gain knowledge and entertainment from educational games.

Keep these tips in mind to make technology work in your favor:

• Know your audience and which platforms/devices they are using.

• Take all possible technological devices into account when designing your educational game. If your game isn't available on an individual's device, you are missing a chance to make a positive impact.

• Utilize new advances, but avoid jumping on trends that have little or no effect on the overall user experience.

• Consider incorporating location-based technology to give the game ties to the user’s actual surroundings.

Combining Education and Entertainment

One of the biggest challenges in educational game development is creating a game that will keep users interested and motivated while still achieving the learning objectives. Although you can learn many more tactics at a game design school, here are a few ways to ensure your educational game is both fun and beneficial:

• Identify what situations and problems will challenge and engage users and keep that in the forefront of your game.

• Consider incorporating the ability to interact, collaborate, learn from or compete with other users, but make sure to provide a purpose—whether motivational, educational or something else—for that social interaction.

• Outline clear goals within the gameplay for users to keep them motivated to work toward that goal. Be sure to give them regular feedback as well as positive reinforcement when that goal is achieved.

Narrative Flow

Educational games are often open-ended and lack a strict linear narrative flow, encouraging exploration, problem-solving and critical thinking. Although there is no rigid path, effective educational game design still gives the user a narrative flow that will draw them in and follow the expected paths of conflict resolution that our brains are trained to recognize. Users will then be able to focus on the game and reap the full educational benefits.

Interested in game design and development? Consider attending a school for game design and see what degree programs are available.

Read More

How to Design an Educational Game
Game Design: The Key to Education
Feedback Loops in Games and Learning
Creating Flow, Motivation, & Fun in Learning Games

6 Reasons to RSVP for an Art Institute Portfolio Show

written by Georgia Schumacher 11 March 2014

Now, graduating students at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division can display art at any of our portfolio shows across the country! This is a great opportunity for all current and graduating students to meet employers, browse peer work, and much more. This year, we have over 40 locations for you to choose from, so find the location closest to you and RSVP today.

1. Get noticed by potential employers. Employers will be attending each portfolio show searching for up-and-coming individuals like you, and this could be the place where you truly kick off your creative career. Don’t miss this chance to highlight your work and everything you have to offer!

2. Share what you’re passionate about. Since you joined The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, you’ve done so much. You’ve put a lot of time, effort, and creative energy into your work. Why not show off what you’ve created as an art school student? You’ve got a lot to be proud of!

3. Celebrate your accomplishments with your family and friends. Are you displaying your portfolio? Invite your friends and family to your show to demonstrate how you’ve been putting your creative talents and skills to work. Show them what their constant support has helped you to create.

4. Discover how your art school peers have been spending their time. See work from across our design, media arts, fashion, and culinary arts programs. Some of your peers’ work may even be available for your touching, tasting, or listening pleasure. Be prepared to engage most—if not all—of your senses at our portfolio shows!

5. Inspire those who are considering attending an art school. By following your passion, you’re setting an example for those who will come after you. Sharing your artwork and your creativity could help to inspire the next generation of creative professionals.

6. Experience the future of creative arts. Even if you aren’t graduating yet, attending a portfolio show can not only inspire your creativity but can also give you a sense of the direction your industry is heading. Meet the future designers, artists and culinary experts who will make their mark in the years to come!

Want to attend? RSVP today at

Are you an upcoming or recent grad and would like to show your portfolio? Contact your Career Services Advisor for more information!