SCAD ups the ante for HK design

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 January, 2012, 12:00am


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has well-established university campuses in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, and in Lacoste, France. It has established an international reputation for developing people with the creative talents that are sought after by leading companies such as Apple, DreamWorks SKG, Electronic Arts, General Electric, Marvel Comics, Microsoft Corporation, Movado Watches, Pixar, Ralph Lauren, Vtech and Versace.

'Our postgraduate degree programmes at SCAD are designed for dedicated, self-motivated students who are committed to the pursuit of excellence through advanced study,' says John Paul Rowan, vice-president for SCAD Hong Kong (SCAD HK).

He says that graduate curricula are structured to address the literature of the discipline, and to ensure ongoing student engagement in research or appropriate professional practice and training experiences. 'The graduate experience culminates in student teaching or in a thesis or final project demonstrating a mature and resolved body of work or research,' adds Rowan.

For a little more than a year, SCAD has been offering postgraduate degree programmes in graphic design, interactive game development and photography at its campus in the historic former North Kowloon Magistracy Building, in Sham Shui Po. Students can complete either a master's of arts or master's of fine arts degree in each area.

Photography is currently the most popular area of study for students at the Hong Kong campus. The postgraduate programme enables students to explore camera vision, equipment and technique, photographic applications of digital technology, the use of black-and-white, colour and alternative photographic processes, and studio and location lighting techniques.

In keeping with the college's philosophy of preparing students for life after university, there are also courses in portfolio development and business practices that help prepare students for careers in a wide range of commercial, fine art or documentary fields of work.

In the areas of interactive design and game development, SCAD students are encouraged to develop a strong visual aesthetic by learning aspects of critical interactive design, technical and analytical skills, and a mastery of industry-standard tools, by working with the same high-end hardware and software used throughout the profession.

The postgraduate students in graphic design are involved in design projects that may include activities such as promotional campaigns, logos and visual identities, multimedia and interactive projects and presentations, packaging, posters, publications, information design solutions, internet pages, brand design and social media exchanges.

The graphic design programme seeks to mirror the work of graphic designers employed in professional practice by providing students with the opportunity to generate professionally competitive design projects in both print and digital formats, and to demonstrate knowledgeable use of print and time-based communication media.

'The SCAD faculty continuously encourages students to refine their work, to enter competitions, and to perform, screen, exhibit and publish through university organisations, events, galleries and partnerships. Student work is featured in galleries and SCAD publications, and is often shown to visiting artists,' explains Rowan.

One of SCAD's major aims is to provide creative people with an educational environment that models real-world experiences and engages students in industry standard work, but also retains the learning, collegial and social environment that a full university experience can offer.

Students are able to develop a good understanding of industry expectations and practices through learning from professors who are all well-qualified in their area of expertise, and are still working in professional practice. As many of them continue to publish, exhibit, design and consult professionally, they are able to share their expertise and professional connections with SCAD students and alumni.

Class sizes are generally small and enable lecturers and students to maintain closer working relationships that provide for more individual feedback and instruction.

In each programme, students are involved in lectures, collaborative projects, custom-designed classroom assignments and internships. Through sponsored projects or the creation of commissioned work, students may also be able to work closely with corporate partners and learn all aspects of product development, which could include the negotiation of contracts, doing market research, meeting important deadlines, making presentations and receiving final client approval.

Students have recently completed work on projects for organisations such as Audemars Piguet, Shaw Studios and China Light & Power.

Each student's programme of study is portable across all SCAD locations, so students are free to study at any of the university's campuses without a change of tuition or loss of credit.

SCAD provides students with a number of career services. Career advisers offer individual guidance about course options, r?sum?s, portfolios, interviews and job-search strategies. Workshops and classes cover entrepreneurship, branding and salary negotiation.

The school also offers students and alumni exclusive access to a free online job portal - updated weekly - that provides lists of jobs and internships. It also maintains an expanding private database of more than 5,000 employers throughout the world to further assist students and alumni with career opportunities.

'Career prospects for SCAD students are excellent. Our mission is to prepare talented students for professional careers, and over the past five years, an average of eight out of 10 new alumni responding to a survey said they were employed in their field or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation,' says Rowan.

Postgraduate level tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year is HK$239,400. Applicants are required to have a relevant bachelor's degree and provide a portfolio of work. For details on the portfolio required, applicants should visit the college's website at