The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division Named a 2015 Military Friendly® School

written by Georgia Schumacher 15 October 2014

LogoThe Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is honored to have been named a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse, and Vetrepreneur® magazines.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15% of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. In total, the survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students. Now in its sixth year, the Military Friendly® Schools designation and list provides service members transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we strongly value the commitment to our country made by military members and veterans. As part of our efforts to recognize the commitment and service of these students, we are proud to offer qualifying students numerous military education benefits, including a military scholarship. We also offer all military students a comprehensive review of their military experience and training to determine eligibility for transfer of credit toward our programs.

“The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is proud to announce that we have been awarded Military Friendly® status once again for 2014-2015,” said Brandon Corley, Director of Student Financial Services. “We are honored to service the millions of active and veteran service members along with their families. We are committed to dedicating resources and staff to serve as military experts and to ensure that these service members receive the highest level of personalized customer service.”

For more information about our commitment to educating and supporting military students, visit http://www.aionline.edu/tuition/military-aid/.

The Ideal Client: How and Why to Create Personas

written by Georgia Schumacher 9 October 2014

If you want to launch a career in a creative field such as web design, fashion design, or video game development, you should understand the vital role of personas. Personas, which should be used throughout the creative and development process, are in-depth profiles of potential clients. Those make-believe individuals will represent precisely the kinds of customers that you're trying to reach.

By creating personas, you help yourself and your colleagues to analyze andunderstand your customers, audience, or users. Once you’ve built personas, all of your decisions should rely on these imaginary people and what would—or would not—resonate with them or move them to action. Ask yourself about their wants, their needs, and their goals. Think about their prior knowledge and background and how that will influence the way they interact with what you create.

Be aware, however, that you should only rely on three or four personas for one project or campaign; have more than that and it starts to get confusing. Therefore, those personas you select must accurately represent your largest groups of potential customers. Of course, you won't be able to capture every potential user in those personas; the key is to cover as many as you can.

How to create a persona

To create effective personas, you'll first have to do some investigating. That is, you must learn about the backgrounds and needs of the people who are most likely to seek your services. This kind of inquiry is called market research.

Step 1: Market research

There are several ways in which to conduct market research. For starters, you can interview past and current customers over the phone or in person, and you can direct them to online surveys. To ensure that enough people complete such interrogations, you could offer them discounts in exchange for participating. You may also be able to conduct research about those who purchase products from your closest competitors. You could even contact trade associations, major industry publications, and even friends who are in the same business as you; ask them to send you some of the customer data that they've collected over time. Even if you don’t have customers yet, you can create personas based on information you find about your target customers or the people most likely to purchase your product or service.

Step 2: Find patterns

Once your market research is complete, it's time to turn those statistics into personas. To get started, identify recurring patterns in the customer information that you've gathered in order to settle on three or four archetypes. For example, if teachers and women between the ages of 50 and 60 are among the people who appear the most often, one of your personas could describe a female, 55-year-old high school teacher. 

Step 3: Templatize

Your next step is to create a template for your personas so that they'll have a uniform layout. It's wise to search the Internet for personas and to study as many as you can; borrow the elements that most appeal to you. Your final product should be clean, attractive, and easy to read; you’ll probably be sharing this document a lot! Each entry should also include a photo of the person's face: You can purchase the rights to stock photos, or include of friends and family members.

Step 4: Fill in the details

When it comes to the text of a persona, provide the person's first name next to the photo. Below the name, supply information in several categories. The first grouping should be a demographic outline, which might include:

- age
- ethnicity
- place of residence
- educational history
- marital status
- any other relevant factors

Other categories could be employment details, technical knowledge, and relevant interests. Finally, set up a section that describes what the person would need and expect from you and your business. Note that you should use short phrases and bullet points to present these facts, rather than complete sentences.

Step 5: Distribute your personas

Once, you’ve assembled personas, make sure to share them with other designers, your stakeholders, manager, and anyone else on the project team. Remember, your persona will help you focus on your audience and ensure that your design is functional and relevant for your customers—making you more likely to succeed!

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.

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 fashion 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!