O’More College Produces Workers for Creative Environment

O'More College of Design

 by Shari Fox, former provost of O’More College of Design and now Development Office Associate

Confession: I am not a designer. However, having been affiliated with O’More College of Design for nearly twenty years, I have gained a respect—dare I say awe—for design education and designers. Here is what I’ve learned that non-designers should know.

Design is not a hobby. A serious design education consists of the rigorous study of design elements and principles, a careful ordering of which create harmony and simplicity, or rather a beautiful and functional life as experienced in our built environments (interior design), our wardrobes (fashion design), and the images that fill our pages and screens (graphic design). And really nearly everything else in our lives! Think about it: your coffee mug, your computer screen, the type you are reading right now were all thoughtfully designed. While we may give little thought to these everyday items, we certainly notice when something is poorly designed and doesn’t function well or is not aesthetically pleasing.

Design is a worthwhile profession. According to the 2015 Joint Economic Report from Congress, “a bright spot in our new creative economy is the fashion industry.” Fashion is a 250 billion dollar industry in the United States, and the number of people working as fashion designer has grown by 50% in the last ten years. The employment of interior designers is projected to grow 13% from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations, and employment for visual designer will grow 12-20% for the same time period. These figures demonstrate the extraordinary economic growth of the creative economy.

Indeed the creative economy of the twenty-first century is in full bloom. Just as the economy shifted from agriculture to manufacturing in the early twentieth century, we are now entering the creative economy whose driving force is innovation. And we are located at the heart of this boom; Nashville has the fifth fastest growing creative economy in the country as reported by Fast Company.

O’More College boasts a 94% job placement rate of graduates in their fields within six months of graduation, a result of Nashville’s booming creative economy. And, 81% of our students graduate while the national average is 59% according to the most recent numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics. Because our design students love what they are doing, though they are engaged in a rigorous course of study, they want to work in these well-paid, exciting fields and are committed to completing and preparing to lead.

Through their talents and solid design education our graduates will not only create great products, meaningful lives for themselves, and the resources to thrive on, they will help build upon the innovation and creativity that is making Nashville a leader in the new economy.

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