Interview / AOD’s Programme Head of Graphic Design, Alain Parizeau
Posted on March 10 2015
Graphic Design is a vast sector that makes up for the backbone of publishing, industrial packaging, branding and corporate identity design, advertising and several other large industries.
As a promising career path that provides qualified designers with lucrative, stable and rewarding careers, there has been increasing demand for graphic design education in Sri Lanka. Among many beginner level diploma and certificate programmes in the country, AOD remains to provide the only complete UK graphic design degree in Sri Lanka. This internationally recognised degree programme is conducted in partnership with Northumbria University UK through an internationally qualified faculty. Leading this faculty is AOD programme head of graphic design, Canadian designer Alain Parizeau; he is an experienced graphic designer who has studied, worked and taught in Canada before he moved to Sri Lanka at the invitation of AOD. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Parizeau where he provides an insight into what the industry demands from graphic designers, how AOD prepares them for these demands and what careers are available to them upon graduation.
Many believe that graphic design can be self-taught or managed with just a software diploma. Why is a degree in graphic design important?
“When it comes to a graphic design education, there is more to learn then how to use Photoshop software or make pretty pictures; it’s a vast subject with many specialties; each with their standards and procedures. A proper education is extremely important in order to be able to understand the language of graphics and practice as a profession. Graphics can be very powerful. When used correctly, it can connect people, brands, organizations and ideas in interesting and effective ways; and industries today know this difference between a layout artist and a qualified graphic designer.”
What does AOD Graphic design degree programme include?
“Understanding and anticipating the needs of a business is the first step to providing good graphic design services. A graphic designer comes equipped with a keen sense of colour balance, grids systems, composition and possess a sound knowledge of visual language, letters, symbols and shapes. This gives them the ability to critical assess the quality and judge and predict the success of a particular graphic. At AOD, along with our Northumbria University UK partnership we deliver a graphic design degree that includes all this. From selecting the best font for your website, to choosing paper for your business cards, to finding the perfect colour for a new juice bottle, to creating the logo for a fashion brand to creating a way-finding system for a hotel…. the Northumbria graphics degree at AOD ensures our students are all-rounders on graphic design while in their final year.”
"At AOD, we make graphic designers who make business sense"
Why is the Northumbria UK graphic design degree so valuable?
“What Northumbria degree delivers to AOD graduates is a qualification recognised anywhere in the world so it’s really like they have an international work licence for graphic design. The internationally accepted standards of our programme has been made evident through the recognition our graduates have had in the recent times; Sri Lanka’s first ISTD award, Many students being selected to represent Sri Lanka at Spikes Asia – Singapore and Cannes Lions-France, have indeed been very encouraging for AOD graphics over the recent years.”
What kinds of businesses hire AOD graphic graduates?
“All businesses use graphics; whether they contract a designer to do the work or hirer a full time in house graphic designer. From the very beginning of a business when they need a logo and a corporate identity designed, and later on when they need a packaging design for their products or when they have to produce an annual report; even to simply advertise their company, this is all done by graphic designers. This is the case for any business from a bank, a hotel, a restaurant to a big apparel exporter.”
What are the careers available to AOD graphic graduates upon graduation?
“Depending on their individual strengths and preferences, our students get hired to design packaging, brand identity, editorial designers, and more. While some of them get into these careers through the advertising agencies or production studios, some get directly hired by companies as their resident graphic designer. Others choose to lead their own careers as independent graphic designers who manage their own clienteles. Another new path that more and more of our graduates are taking is using their graphic design skill to launch and establish their own brands – Hash Bandara behind Push Skateboards and Chethya Munasinghe behind the Endemic educational toy brand are two such examples. At AOD, we make graphic designers who make business sense, so that they can answer to the needs of businesses out there. I think this is what has made our programme a success and have guaranteed 100% employability for our graduates.”