Sharpening Those Post-Grad Tools

With the introduction of websites like Skillshare many are panicking about what this means for thousands of students spending thousands of dollars at art schools across the country. Why go to a traditional art school when with only $9 and change you can be taught by the legendary Paula Scher, Jessica Hische, and many other talents? I'm not sure about them but I myself am thrilled.

Skillshare is an online subscription based community teaching courses on constantly evolving careers like Fashion, Photography, Music, Film, etc. With $9.95 a month, one can gain access to a multitude of classes within 7 different schools, 7 different types of software and 7 top subjects. Operating in a hipper, more organized Lynda, and a more design focused Udemy, students can log on, share projects and interact with other people in their class.  

Not only is Skillshare updating its classes to fit better technologies it is also teaching the basic principles of design. Whether a newcomer to the art and design world or a seasoned veteran, this website is helping creatives go back to the basics and really look at their work in a different light.

With websites like Skillfeed, Udemy and Skillshare the idea of granting affordable education is an incredible thing, not only for new students but also for professionals brushing up on their skills as well. It has been a year since I graduated from art school and if it weren't for my current freelance opportunities or for the design blogs I follow I would be completely lost in where this industry is headed and how to adjust to it. If you think about how Graphic Design and technology has changed in the past 40 years it's enough to amazing. These websites help designers stay relevant, keep their tools sharp so to speak and interact with other designers across the country.

There is something to be said however about traditional education, I loved being in the classroom and working with my peers in a city that constantly inspired and moved me every day. I loved being able to network and see my professors at events and see my classmates grow and become stronger designers. But I do also enjoy being able to have the option to continue my education and strengthen my skills without spending a fortune or taking out another student loan (as well as learn some BA hand lettering tips from Jessica Hische in her Brooklyn studio). 

Experimenting With a New Audience

Something about me is that I am easily "obsessed" with some great shows: Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, The Office (R.I.P)... More recently I've become a big fan of the "Netflix Originals" with their release of the new season of House of Cards, Arrested Development as well as Orange is the New Black. Something else about me is that I am also a huge fan of "geeking" out with fellow die hard fans of my beloved programs. Every new episode of The Walking Dead I am glued to the television with phone in one hand and a computer on my lap; prepared to live chat, tweet, Google, Facebook as soon as the commercial break begins. I am that fan (SN: after many requests I have toned down my geek outs, but I'm pretty much a spoiler alert on my Twitter).

It is understandable that I am a big fan of YouTube as well, not only the everyday vloggers but also shows specifically designed for YouTube. YouTube is famous for "breaking the fourth wall" and creating an interactive experience with entertainer and fan. It opens active dialogue between the two parties, which always intrigued me. It was with one YouTube reality series that caught my eye which inspired me to write today's entry. The show's premise was very simple, it followed several California teens, many starting their senior year of high school, on their "last" Summer before school began. The show consisted of very short episodes usually lasting around 3 - 4 minutes which would feature the days bit of drama that would often carry on into the next episode. It was very easy to be addicted if you weren't careful, the inner 13 year old in me was very excited to see what appeared to be a modern revival of my beloved Laguna Beach.

The neat thing that I really enjoyed about the premise of the show, and the true reason that brought me to the site, was the interaction that the fan could have with the cast mates and the show itself. One could simply enjoy the episodes, perhaps read a comment, leave a comment and go on with their week until the next episode would air. However, if you become a superfan you can interact with the cast members on a more personal level by following their twitter, their Instagrams, Facebooks, etc. in real time, giving you a more in-depth background to the casts story. While this may come off as "stalkerish," participants are actually encouraged to do this and it is seen as part of the story-line. I was pretty excited to see this because it gave the fan a choice of how in-depth they want to take their relationship with the show. This is what truly caught my interest, the idea of interacting with your favorite cast members on a next level. Although this could be a very dangerous thing to tamper with, the idea of a complete stranger having access to all aspects of your personal life, there is still something so exciting about it. It's bringing another level of entertainment to audiences. 

Another program worth mentioning, is a new movie staring YouTube celebrities Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart called "Camp Takota." These three women have a huge following on YouTube and fans seemed to really ecstatic about the movie they were starring in. Helbig actually brought her fans with her so to speak recording behind the scenes material on her daily vlog "Daily Grace." The followers of Helbig fell in love with the series, and many bought the $9.99 movie just for the simple fact that they got to know the actors and knew the backstory behind the making of the movie. 

I would love to know thoughts or comments on this idea of people wanting a new level of intimacy with their favorite internet/television programs. It seems as though a lot of shows wish they could have this type of interaction with fans and it looks like this show and other are experimenting with it in a fun, new, creative way. 


Melbourne Design is Booming

Has anyone else noticed the wonderful art scene that is developing in Melbourne, Australia? Every time I log onto my favorite bands websites and my favorite design blogs  there is a post about Melbourne. The design which is emerging is quite refreshing and adds a level of personality to the city which visitors and residents can enjoy. One of the pieces I came across more recently was a design for Backyard Apartments by Studio HiHo based in Melbourne. Here's what they had to say: 

'We were approached to develop a campaign appealing to both the Gen Y demographic, as well as the savvy investor. Located at 321 La Trobe Street, the site initially offers a fairly standard idea of inner city living. However, take the next left at Flanigan Lane and a new world opens up…

A labyrinth of lane ways that feed into Melbourne’s hidden treasures; one-off shops, markets, art galleries and bars that are in the very centre of the city, yet remain decidedly off the beaten track… This is the backyard." 

I love this idea and the design work is beautifully handled and quite enjoyable. Check it out! As well as check out some of the other awesome work coming out of Melbourne.