What you’ll actually learn in art school

audrey stemen portrait

If you’re like a lot of people, you might assume an art and design education like the one you’ll find at Columbus College of Art & Design is all about the hard skills, like learning how to use digital tools like Photoshop or InDesign, how to operate a CNC router, or how to run a knitting machine, to give a few examples. 

And sure, those type of skills are important, but it’s the soft skills you gain at a place like CCAD that can make all the difference in your career, says Audrey Stemen (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2019), in a blog post, “What I *Actually* Learned in Art School.” Stemen says attributes such as “being a nice human, patience, and presentation” are key in supporting your talent and skill and making you the full package “wrapped in a pretty bow” as an artist or designer.

a arches typeface work
inspiration work

At CCAD, instructors work to take students and turn them into professionals, reminding them of the value of first impressions—after all, you never know if your classmate of today may be in a position to hire you tomorrow—and of being “responsible, accountable, approachable, efficient, and on time,” writes Stemen. 

“Learning to take criticism, give presentations, talking about yourself/your work, and collaboration are also great "little things" that should stick with you forever, especially when working as a freelancer, director, designer, or all of the above,” she continues.

Stemen is a freelance designer and illustrator who runs Audrey Stemen Design & Creative and who has created work for such clients as Root Insurance, Made by Things, Spacejunk Media, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse, Roto, Star Cadet Apparel Company, and Columbus College of Art & Design (via the CCAD Student Agency). Click here to read her full blog post and learn about the three things Stemen says she gained from her CCAD education.

Learn more about the Advertising & Graphic Design program at CCAD or apply here.

Photos, from top: Audrey Stemen

Caption 1: Audrey Stemen’s A for Arches in the 2021 36 Days of Type challenge – National Park Service-style

Caption 2: Gritty inspiration by Audrey Stemen