Should You Go To Design School: Doing The Math on Education

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Should you go to design school? What you hope to learn in design school might not be what you actually learn in design school. Is going to a traditional private art school still the best way to learn design? This is a live, facilitated discussion about the state of design education.

Chris Do debunks many assumptions about what students expect to learn in school. He also suggests that students may find greater educational value in hiring “legends” in their field to mentor them versus paying tuition at a university.

Soft skills vs hard skills. What will you actually learn in school?


0:58 Cost versus value – the benefits of going to design school
3:52 The difference between “Soft Skills” and “Hard Skills”
8:24 When you have that degree on your resume, some people’s perception of you may be changed
11:11 Creatives should consider their education in terms of tangible value
12:53 Art is a means of communication. Graphic Design can help express things that are intangible
14:40 Q:What would you pay $100k to get from design school?
15:51 By putting your unique design spin on well-known brands, you raise your value by association
16:20 Is your 90 second demo reel worth $1000 per second?
18:20 Butterfly effect networking versus Value building networks
20:15 Are you gaining good communication skills at design school?
21:40 How to work with legends of the design industry without an art degree
23:05 The New School: How to get a master’s education and build valuable relationships at the same time.
27:33 If design schools are able quantify what an education cost, you should quantify what it’s worth to you.
27:58 How to reach out to mentors: Be persistent and step outside your comfort zone with more effective means of communication.
30:33 How to change the design school education model via technology

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Jose Caballer:
Aaron Szekely:

Executive Producer– Chris Do
Host– Chris Do
Director– Aaron Szekely
Cameraman– Aaron Szekely
Producer– Aaron Szekely
Editor– Aaron Szekely
Show Open– designed by William VanSkaik, animated by Bara Kwon
Intro Theme Song– Adam Sanborne
Annotations– Isaiah Nwukor


Dee Palin says:


Amnon Sivan says:

really dig the outro music, anybody know what that is ?

photo camera says:

Competition, oneupsmanship!

Regan Weinrich says:

The idea of paying mentors to teach me is the same concept as college to me. My professors have all been designers for a very long time, have all been in different fields and I am paying to have them teach and mentor me. I get the added benefit of being surrounded by designers my age who can view my art and critique it based on our generational similarities. My program has cut down to 30 designers out of 150 applicants over the past 3 years, and the teachers treat our classroom as if we are already working in a design studio with 15 other designers. I wish everyone had this great of an experience from their education but I understand many are taught by professors who half-ass everything and don't inspire their students to go above and beyond the classroom standards.

Dave Larson says:

Awesome stuff, I"m a parent now , and starting to think about college for the kids. Love your ideas here.


if I saw ur video when I was studying at CSM… I probably will quit the school and come to you and pay you to learn….

Jessica 1031 says:

Futur – Can I get your advice on attending a campus-based program versus an online one?

ginner zapata says:

Why hadnt i seen this before?

Serene says:

Has anyone done this? What are the results?

Winter gaming says:

Thanks! Hoping to use this for a debate topic about how the US should reform higher education.

Hanju Lee says:

I am 20 and I have decided not to go to art school because I have been questioning myself about this subject since I was in high school and you gave me the courage to follow my thoughts and believes! Back in 2012, I was taking a wonderful course about studying from a company called "Study Code". At that time I was in Korea and the education system there was all about competitions. I did not like that. I wanted to change the foundation of Korean education system but in order to do that, I had to play and win the game to get people to listen to me. I finished their course and follow their instruction to go to the top university in Korea. The CEO of Study code made their own unique system. They made their own textbooks and found the best teachers to record the best lecture videos for their students. They also hire the top 3 Korean universities' students as the coaches for their customers (high school students). He also had a podcast. I really enjoyed listening to it every time I got too frustrated from studying. In his podcast, he said almost the same thing that you said in this video.How the schools need to change. Let students to ​watch the best lecture video and teacher should coach them. So I just want to let you know that the new school system does work! I have already experienced it and it was awesome! Keep up the good work! Your youtube videos and podcasts have inspired me a lot and really opened my eyes. I really appreciate them. Thank you so much, Chris!

Michael Mirchandani says:

wow…..i was really impressed by the concept of working for mentors (and paying them), and flipping the idea of getting a real education. this is really ground breaking thinking, thanks for sharing!

We're Not Very Good At This says:

Curiosity, would you allow someone to follow you for 3 months for (during work hours/ work conversations) $10,000 ?

Zahirul Islam Mamoon says:

OMG! This video has a very strong information to understanding of design education.

Peter BC says:

Love this! This is my new favorite channel

Tonie Renaud says:

I keep trying to find the book mentioned in the video: The Apprentice. Does anyone know the author?

Fuschia Jones says:

….and love the music!

Justin Roy says:

I personally agree with Chris. If I could take the grant money I received for my schooling and gave it to someone to have as a mentor I feel it would of given me a way better education. I think if teachers were not aloud to give the same projects over and over again then schools would be better. Maybe if all the teachers as a whole in a major or concentration worked together to give students not just the hot skills, but the soft skills as well. If teachers branched out and brought in businesses to give them real life experiences in the classroom I feel that could help the communication issue and the ability to sell yourself better. Students who care show it and students who don't care waste their money and fail. I personally feel like school at times was just a place to get a project and receive an opinion on what you should do to make it better. I learned how to sell myself from working in sales and learned techniques as to how to sell paint to different people with different personalities. But as Chris does breaking things down so a client or customer can understand what you are saying is probably one of the biggest reasons I was able to sell myself as a designer and land a job a month out of college. I personally reached out to other agencies and said hey even if you aren't hiring what could I do better. It got me in touch with many art directors and helped me land even better jobs and get paid more money. Teachers in my opinion need to go back to where they started because most teachers just want to do the same thing and go home. Hopefully that changes for our future.

Haley says:

This is a really cool concept but I am poor and where would I find money to study in such ways…the government would never loan me money to study overseas with someone who isn't an approved educator… So here I am at school… Sad truth

darryl lobo says:

this is amazing ! thank you so much !

Daniel Fadness says:

I start Artcenter this fall for Entertainment Design 🙂

safi thelusma says:

Man I love this guy just hope I'll became as sassy and wise as him.

Gaurav Pasi says:

#ChrisDo, do you really read the comments?

Just wanted to say that you nailed it. I had never thought of this approach ever and could not have come up with it on my own. I guess, now that I know, I know. 🙂

Thank you!

eldexxo says:

ofcourse there's the odd feminist in there who ACTUALLY believes that men and women are getting paid differently for the same job.

Roberto Ramos says:

+The Futur Chris i am in georgia and i want to move in january to go to Art Center. My question is should i go all the way to california to follow my dreams and throw myself in crazy amount of debt? (hate my current lifestyle now and need a change of scenery and better area) Also is there any scholarship programs to make the cost at art center not to expensive? and lastly when did u pay all ur debt from art center if u dont mind me asking. Thanks!

Hardip Patel says:

Its just exhilarating to watch you guide everyone from A to B. Especially I love how you convey your thoughts and it makes me feel if I could just do that. In this particular video you mentioned that you have taken training to learn to speak in a more organised and direct sense. Can you please recommend some course or is there any particular profession/process that teaches to explain like you explain?

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