Graphic Design I Flourishes in First Year: Graphic Design II Grows in Its Wake
In response to the immense success of Graphic Design I in its first year as a Riverdale, Mr. Jason Ruff, the creator of the course, has decided to create a follow-up class called Graphic Design II.
When Mr. Ruff first arrived at Riverdale, he was surprised by the lack of a graphic design class despite many “business-minded” students. Mr. Ruff explained that advertising is an integral component in understanding how companies and services are able to achieve success. He elaborated that the Riverdale community, especially those who live in New York City, are “bombarded with advertising” every day. Mr. Ruff believes it is beneficial for students to learn about the marketing process in order to fully understand the advertisements they see every day.
The aim of Graphic Design I is for students to become proficient with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and to tackle, what Mr. Ruff labels, “design problems” using their acquired design skills. A design problem is a situation in which a product, company, or service needs to be rebranded for its advertisements to draw more positive attention. Mr. Ruff not only assigns his students hypothetical design problems, but also tasks them with solving design problems of the world beyond Riverdale.
When considering which art course to enroll in during the 2016-17 school year, current Graphic Design I students were attracted to the technological aspect of graphic design. Now, after nearly a year of practicing graphic design, they do not regret their decisions. Sophomore Toby Edelstein, a student in Graphic Design I, has always struggled to neatly transfer his artistic ideas onto paper. Graphic design enables him to reach his full artistic potential. Edelstein explained, “with graphic design, I can be extremely precise with my work, which I could not do when drawing by hand.” One of Edelstein’s classmates, sophomore Leanna Muhati, also enjoys working on a computer. She dubbed graphic design as a much “cleaner” process than drawing or painting because everything she does is in the digital world: no cleaning up after herself, just logging off of the computer. Muhati enjoys the fact that mistakes are much less costly in graphic design as opposed to more traditional forms of art. She can simply click a button to clear an unintentional mark on her project rather than frantically erase her paper.
Students have also enjoyed the artistic freedom Mr. Ruff has given them in Graphic Design I. “[Ruff] will give us a prompt,” Muhati explained, “and from there, what we can do to solve it is really open-ended.” Mr. Ruff stresses that there are countless approaches to solving a design problem and he wants his students to be as creative as possible. The best advertisements are typically outside-of-the-box ideas.
Graphic Design I students who enjoyed the course approached Mr. Ruff about creating a follow-up class, to which Mr. Ruff replied enthusiastically. A second course will allow his students to become more skilled at graphic design and complete more advanced work. Graphic Design II will officially be a course during the 2017-18 school year.