Graphic Design: Degree Or No Degree?

Through my design career I have come across many job adverts for a graphic designer 'with a degree'. It always made me feel a little frustrated – "If I do not have a degree do you automatically assume I will not be good enough to join your company?". Surely a designer's portfolio and / or experience should say more than a piece of paper with a qualification on it.

I studied for a higher national diploma in graphic design at college and when the course finished I had the chance of pursuing a degree in graphic design or go for an advanced diploma in art and design. One of my lecturers told me that the degree contained more theory work where the advanced diploma was more practical. I opted for the practical work … after all that's what graphic design is.

The advanced diploma was only a year of study but most of the work was project based even if the deadlines were a bit too generous at times. However, since leaving college (armed with my qualifications) I admit that I learn more during my first design role and by teaching myself. That kind of education never stops with the design world and technology continuously changing.

This led me to question the importance of a degree as a designer and I know that I'm not the only one to ask this. In my honest opinion a degree does not automatically make someone more creative and successful than a designer who is self taught or who has learnt on the job. Their portfolio should be the strongest reflection of their skills and abilities especially when it comes to finding employment. Do companies advertising for a designer 'with a degree' honestly think that they are going to employ a better designer or is it a status thing?

Now I know that things have changed since I was at college so I thought I had a look at what degree courses my local college offers and found that they offer a BA in Art and Design. Here are the modules:

Year 1: Visual arts; applied crafts; digital arts; site specific design; graphic design; performance related design; web design; animation; self-employment; video production; community art; textile design; teacher or lecturer.

Year 2 : Creative skills and concepts; integrated project; visual literacy; digital applications; specialist options: skills development; contextual studies; personal development planning.

Year 3: Creative practice; contextual practice; specialist options: skills application practice; research skills; critical and contextual studies; pathways and concepts; professional and studio practice; professional and contextual studies; creative futures.

I did not study most of this stuff and I've spent 9 years in design studios working on a wide variety of projects of all sizes and with good feedback. I'm now working full-time as a freelancer trying to grow my own business. I like to think that I turned out okay without a degree.

So I guess my question is … does a degree make a better designer or is it all down to natural creative flair, experience and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends?

Culinary Concepts – How To Create Them And How To Serve Them

Famous chefs can spend 15 hours or more a day trying to create culinary concepts. When they get it right their restaurants gain acclaim, the diners delight and may even pay hundreds for just one course.

For the rest of us mere mortals dining is a pleasure also, as is cooking for those of us who enjoy it when we have the time. Many people prefer to work strictly according to recipes created by others whereas others love the idea of ​​creating something unique in terms of culinary concepts.

How is it possible to come up with this type of culinary success in your own home? One of the largest secrets is to understand the energy of food and on top of this it is necessary to have a good palate so that it is easier to know almost subconsciously what ingredients will work together.

Of course it also makes sense to model restructured chefs who have trained and been working for years. Currently the world's top restaurant is located in Denmark and the owner chef of this restaurant only works with local ingredients. He and his team wander around in the local nature finding ingredients later to be served in delicious dishes. This is one important tip, to connect with local produce and work with seasonal ingredients.

On top of this it is a wonderful experience to listen to your inner voice about food and ingredients. On a subconscious level we often know what would be good for ourselves and our families. When we practice tuning into this we will find the best ingredients for the creation we wish to make at that time. When we cook intuitively we can produce great dishes.

This is a practice that can take time to learn but it can bring some excellent results. The reason it works is that only 12 per cent of our mind is conscious whereas the remaining 88% is subconscious. In our subconscious we hold our more primitive instincts, of which survival is central. To survive we need to eat food and to be healthier we need to eat food that varied and offers us a complex range of nutrition. So ask your subconscious before you start trying to create a culinary success.

Yet do not forget that even when the creation is delicious if it is not presented nicely then some of its qualities are automatically lost to the senses. We initially eat with our eyes, so create a work of art on the plates. This comes more naturally to some than others but again with practice the presentation will improve.

Finally ensure that the table is also as beautiful as possible. This does not have to cost a lot of money. In the same way as creating from quality local ingredients the table setting for your culinary concepts can be simple, but stylish, with a feeling of balance.

Out of Home Advertising Spotlight – Truckside Advertising

Truckside advertising campaigns are used to broaden the reach of a national, regional or local campaign. They add variety, frequency and value to a broadcast campaign or can stand alone as very efficient campaigns.

For those trying to "go green," truckside advertising is a great, though often overlooked, alternative to mobile billboards. Truckside ads are posted on working trucks that will be out regardless, while mobile billboards are on trucks that operate solely for advertising purposes.

Benefits of the Medium –

Truckside advertising can be used as a broad branding medium or as a target-specific medium (such as retail trading zone areas). If advertisers want to add a bit more to their truckside campaign, event promotional options can make great additions.

Truckside advertising is not bound to any demographic market or geographic location, so the reach is endless. This mobility allows for coverage where other types of OOH may not be available.

Truckside also provides the option of a national mass reach campaign, known as "Over the Road". This flexibility in campaign execution makes truckside advertising appealing to both large national companies and smaller companies alike.

Many national advertisers learned on the concept years ago when trying to get their brands in front of consumers in a timely, efficient manner. Truckside easily accomplishes that task because of mobility – an advertiser's message can travel from New York to Los Angeles on one media vehicle. Plus, posting full-color graphics to trailers allows for greater impact.

How It is Purchased –

* An advertiser can buy General Market GRP showing levels.

* An advertiser can purchase dedicated routes to reach specific demographic targets or geographic areas. These smaller routers make it an efficient medium for local and regional companies.

* "Over the Road" advertising can be used as a mass medium to reach markets across the US by purchasing a campaign along Interstate routes. It can also be used for regional coverage.

Markets Available –

Market availability is unlimited. About 95% of the US population can be reached using truckside advertising .

How it is Measured & New Technology –

Tracking systems (such as GPS) have been available for a number of years. However, new companies have emerged that measure audience circulation, impressions during a certain period, and other types of campaign auditing. Some fleet media companies offer online Internet systems allowing advertisers to pinpoint the location of their mobile fleet ads in real time. Some services can also provide data that can be interfaced with other databases to produce demographics by route, fleet or time of day.

SAMI (Satellite Automated Media Information) web-based technology, for instance, addresses the needs of agencies and advertisers by providing credibility through audience measurement and tracking. It allows advertisers to schedule, track, sell and audit their truckside advertising campaigns. Proof-of-performance reporting is available next day, including maps and digital photos. One company currently offering SAMI technology is Moving Images Media, with truckside advertising available everywhere in the US

All About Beijing Duck

OK so you've climbed the Great Wall, wandered through the Forbidden City, taken photos in the Temple of Heaven, walked through the gardens of the Summer Palace and completely ignored Wangfujin street. Now it is time for you to eat Beijing's most classic dish, the Beijing Duck.

Beijing Duck is famous, has a distinguished history, an exquisite taste and is a culinary icon SO before partaking in this mouth watering dish, pause your chopsticks and first develop a well deserved appreciation of the delicacy you are about to feast on.

History

The origin of roasted duck can be traced back to Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420-589) when these hapless birds where roasted in the Jinling area where modern day Nanjing is located. The Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) were gourmets and took the custom of roast duck with them when they packed their bags and set up house in Beijing.

The Inspector of the Imperial kitchen (what a job!) Hu Sihui listed roast duck among the imperial dishes in the "Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages" that he wrote in 1330. This early cookbook even included the cooking process.

Up until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ducks were roasted in a conventional convection oven where the duck was hung from the oven ceiling and roasted over burning wood. Duck cooked this was said to be crisp and golden brown with tender and tasty meat. After the Qing came to power they changed the method of duck cooking to hanging the ducks over a flame in an open oven. These two traditional methods of cooking duck are the foundations of the two modern methods of cooking Beijing Duck.

Roast duck was so popular during this period that poets and schools where inspired to roast duck poetry. Personally I think the large quantities of alcohol consumed with the duck were the main inspiration for these wasted poems and bookworms.

Peking duck as it was first called b foreigners taste so good, it is credited with being instrumental in the rapprochement between China and the US in the 70's. All because Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon kept returning to China for more duck. Just imagine how different history would be if the Havana Cigar had the same effect on US politicians!

In summary, that juicy piece of duck you are about to eat has a royal history of over 1500 years. Chew on that!

How to eat Beijing Duck

Your Beijing Duck will be served with steamed pancakes, sweet bean or plum sauce, cucumber and spring onions.

Place one pancake on the palm of your hand, dip a slice of duck meat in the sauce then place the meat on the pancake, add several pieces of cucumber and spring onion, wrap up the pancake, close your eyes and bite. Control yourself, chew slowly and savor this ancient delicacy.

How to cook

First you need to prepare the ingredients. Here is a list of all the ingredients.

Ingredients

2.0 to 2.5 kilogram of duck

8 liters of water

1 slice of ginger

1 Spring onion

50ml of honey

20ml of white vinegar

20ml of cooking sherry

25ml of corn starch dissolved in 50ml of water

Spring affairs for garnish

Directions

1. Clean duck then wipe it dry and tie a string around its neck.

2. Hang the duck in cool and ideally windy place 4 hours.

3. Fill a large wok with water then bring to boil. Add ginger, spring onion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil again and pour in the dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly during this step.

4. Place the hung duck in large strainer over a larger bowl then scoop the boiling mixture over the entire duck for about 10 minutes.

5. Hang the duck up again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until it is thoroughly dry.

6. Place the duck breast side up on a greased rack in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

7- Place a pan filled with 6 centimeters of water in bottom of oven to collect the drippings then roast 30 minutes.

8- Turn duck and roast for 30 more minutes.

9. Turn breast side up again and roast for 10 more minutes.

10. Use a sharp knife to cut off the crispy skin then immediately serve meat and skin on a warm dish

11 Eat and enjoy.