Tag Archives: art & design

Discovering a Major: Packaging Design

by Claudia Arisso as told to Emily Bennett

Claudia Arisso

Claudia Arisso

I came to FIT really interested in Packaging Design! You do have to begin with the Communication Design AAS, so there were still two years for me to make a sound decision, apply, and get accepted into the BFA program. Communication Design prepared me for Packaging because the 4th semester is all about taking introductory courses to things like advertising, packaging, and exhibition design so that you have a better understanding of which BFA you’d like to continue into. For instance, Packaging is so different from the more commonly known Graphic Design major. Packaging deals extensively with crafting a brand from the ground up. You need to create a story and a reason for the consumers to fall in love with a product. Our classes revolve around brand strategy, creative briefs, and creating brand stories. (It’s all about depth!)

This is a work in progress of a flexible packaging project for an international food brand

This is a work in progress of a flexible packaging project for an international food brand

As specific as Packaging Design sounds, we come out with such a wide skill set because it requires you to wear many different hats, and grads can go into pretty diverse fields. For me, writing, research, and strategy are the aspects of Packaging that I want to take into my future career, whatever that may be.  So far I have done two internships. My first was working on page layouts, logos and identity for a design publication. This was strictly graphic design for print. My internship at the moment is for credit and is a required part of the Packaging Design curriculum. I work in a small packaging design studio that is more focused on brand strategy and how to get instant shelf impact. I have also picked up some freelance work along the way, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend piling that on while you’re still in school.

I had to show a portfolio to be accepted into both my AAS and BFA. To get into Packaging, I just had to show my best work from the AAS program in addition to my GPA.

This was made for the Packplay competition for the University of Quebec and Montreal. The competition is between from schools all over the world (we are the only ones from the US!)

This was made for the Packplay competition for the University of Quebec and Montreal. The competition is between schools from all over the world (we are the only one from the US!)

Last semester, I took a Sustainable Packaging class that taught us how to make sustainability part of our design process, which is so important to anyone involved with making anything in 2015. Outside of Packaging, I’ve taken everything from Crime Scene Chemistry to Bookbinding. Picking a major doesn’t mean you have to pigeonhole yourself! I’m in a pretty specific major, but I learned that you can make it work with whatever talents or interests you have. Your major shouldn’t restrict you – use the aspects you love about it to your advantage and play up your strengths. The different BFA programs are really just different means to an end.


To learn more about the Packaging Design major click here! And to learn about the Communications AAS program click here!

–Emily–

Let’s Get Creative!

“The Foundation Year”

If you have been applying to other arts universities, you will recognize this as the first year of school that is dedicated not to your major of choice, but rather a general sampling of a majority of the visual arts mediums. The idea is to allow students to experience as many forms of the creative process as possible, before they decide what they want to focus in for the rest of their time at college, and potentially the rest of their lives.

The fact that FIT does not have a foundation year was actually one of the main draws for me when I was a senior in high school. Back then I thought the foundation year seemed like a waste, since I was already so sure of what I was going to do for the rest of my life (and we all know how that turned out – cue self-deprecating eye roll). I never like to be wrong, but I must admit that in hindsight sixteen-year-old me may have been slightly too self-assured.

Honestly, one of the hardest parts of FIT for me was continually pushing myself creatively. Of course, projects require a certain amount of creativity, but it is usually restricted by some guidelines or simply time restraints. The workload at FIT is exhausting, so it can be very difficult to  carve out time for personal and uninhibited creation. Even when I had time, I was usually too tired from all the work I had just finished to focus and push myself to put in the effort to do something extra. Looking back, I think a foundation year could have been really effective in learning to hone original thought and experiment with unexpected materials and techniques. It would be especially cool if we could pick our own classes – like a “create your own foundation year”. I definitely would have taken some photography classes, experimental materials, classical drawing for anatomy, film production, ceramics, figure drawing (actually I did take this class my first semester of Fashion Design and it was great and I would totally do it again), I mean the list could go on.

Realistically, there is not enough time in the Art & Design school’s curriculum for such an idea, but the huge wealth of specific information we receive here is one of the largest benefits of coming to FIT. Yet, I wonder if I have missed out on some of the most creatively fruitful years of my life. I have found that the most exciting work does not come from knowing, but instead not knowing and saying, “Hey I have the crazy idea and I don’t have a clue how to make it work but let’s just try it!” Whether or not you end up attending FIT, I hope you keep this in the back of your head. Grades and classes are important of course, but I bet the work you will be most proud of is the stuff that you had no idea if it would work or not, but experimented and failed until it did.

–Emily–