An Interview With Eric Rosenfeld and Camdon Wilde of Full Sail University
There are so many paths to building a career as a creative and selecting a school to align with those needs can be a huge feat to take on. Knowing this, we sat down with an educator from Full Sail University who oversees two degree programs within the School of Art & Design, as well as a graduate from the university to talk about what the higher ed institution does to prepare its students with the tools to embark on their professional career.
Today during our conversation, we will be exploring three Full Sail University programs: Graphic Design Bachelor of Science, Digital Arts & Design Bachelor of Science, and Media Design Master of Fine Arts. Each of these degree programs offer students’ unique tools to prepare them to take on careers as a creative.
The Graphic Design Bachelor of Science degree program is an accelerated campus and online degree program that educates students on how to meet deadlines and work within specific creative demands while producing high-end design work in a variety of formats. Key focus areas in the degree program are interactive design, print and 2D, as well as advertising and branding. Through course offerings such as Typography and Page Layout, students learn how to use typography as a critical part of page layout while also understanding how the printed or viewed page looks as an integrated graphic element.
The Digital Arts & Design Bachelor of Science is also an accelerated campus degree program that combines art fundamentals with the design industry’s current technology – helping students expand their artistic talents to create powerful imagery for entertainment, advertising, branding, and the web. Key focus areas in the degree program are print and 2D, motion graphics, and interactive design. Within the degree program, the course, Motion Graphics Production, educates students about advanced techniques of motion-graphics creation through the use of software programs utilized by design and animation companies worldwide, applying these techniques to their own projects.
Within the Media Design MFA accelerated online degree program, students go through a full-scale branding project. They learn how to identify client needs, develop well-researched creative work, and craft an effective path. Key focus areas in the degree program are brand development, design strategy, and production workflow. Course offerings such as Design Research within the degree program teach students the process of exploring and evaluating design options as they investigate many of the research methods and tools used in the profession.
To gain more insight into these degree programs, we spoke with Eric Rosenfeld and Camdon Wilde. Eric Rosenfeld is the Program Director over the Digital Arts & Design bachelor’s and Graphic Design bachelor’s degree programs at Full Sail University. Camdon Wilde is a two-time Full Sail graduate (Graphic Design Bachelor of Science and Media Design Master of Fine Arts) and 2015 Graphic Design USA Student to Watch honoree. He is now the owner of Leighton Moon – a creative design company based in Alamogordo NM with a national clientele.
Question: Eric, since you oversee both the Digital Arts & Design Bachelor of Science and Graphic Design Bachelor of Science degree programs – can you tell us some of the key differences?
Eric Rosenfeld: At Full Sail in general, you will find that our degree programs are very specialized. We avoid being generic in our education, but instead, we like to give project-based real-world learning opportunities to our students that closely models what they will being doing and experiencing in the industry when they enter a professional setting.
Although at a first glance, Digital Arts & Design and Graphic Design may seem like the same exact degree program, they have very significant differences. In the Graphic Design degree, students are learning how to build a brand from the ground up and focus on things like editorial design, advertising and marketing, branding, user interface design, and user experience design.
On the other hand, Digital Arts & Design students and professionals typically start their projects with an existing brand to figure out ways to integrate 2D and 3D animations into films, television shows, commercials, etc. Throughout this degree program, Digital Arts & Design students focus on elements like motion graphics, 2D and 3D animation, video editing and live events design.
Question: Cam, you went through both the Graphic Design undergraduate and Media Design graduate degree programs at Full Sail – how have the two programs helped in your career?
Cam Wilde: Going through both degree programs was honestly one of the best decisions I could have made for my career. Because of the knowledge I acquired in the degree programs, I am now the co-founder of Leighton Moon. My organization was founded in 2018 after my business partner, Julia Royal, and I both graduated from Full Sail University’s Media Design Master of Fine Arts degree program in 2017.
In the Graphic Design undergraduate degree program, I learned a lot of the foundational knowledge about things like the technology and platforms commonly used within our industry, how to design things like logos, page layouts, color selection, and so much more. As well as how to translate these designs over various mediums. The 29-month online bachelor’s degree program helped me apply my formal education to the real-world much sooner.
Whereas in the 12-month Media Design master’s degree program, I gained a lot of skills that extended far beyond design and design concepts – I learned to implement effective graduate-level research, copywriting, to speak the language of company executives, and to effectively develop a campaign strategy.
Because I went the extra level with my education, I now have the technical skills and strategic mindset to work with organizational leaders across the nation through my company, Leighton Moon.
Question: If you were talking to someone interested in earning their Graphic Design BS, Digital Arts & Design, Media Design MFA, or a combination at Full Sail what is one thing you would tell them?
Cam Wilde: Wow, that’s a power-packed question, but if I have to narrow it down to one thing, I will tell them to go for it. Investing in your education now has the potential to take you to places professionally that you may not have been able to imagine previously.
Eric Rosenfeld: I would tell them that their time in the Full Sail community extends far beyond their time in the degree program. We are dedicated to their success for life. For example, we have an Alumni Relations department dedicated to staying in touch with graduates and remaining a lifelong resource. We also have a Career Development department that can help alumni navigate the ever-evolving hiring landscape.
Additionally, we have a Program Advisory Committee for each focus area at Full Sail University dedicated to making sure the curricula closely emulated the standards of the industry. These advisory committees are compiled of faculty and graduates who help us keep a pulse on the industry.
Question: As we close out the interview, Cam, tell us a little more about Leighton Moon and what you and your partner do to stay connected to the alumni community.
Cam Wilde: Yes, of course. I mentioned a little earlier that it was founded by one of my previous Full Sail classmates and I, but it was because we worked so well together while in school. Through that online master’s degree program, we quickly learned that we were able to provide each other with valuable, constructive feedback that took our work to the next level.
Although we lived in different states, we started off the company organically in a more freelance capacity. Eventually, our client base and work grew, and we were eventually able to quit our day jobs. Since then, we’ve been proud to help so many companies start new visuals brands or build upon their existing branding.
For example, one of our largest contracts is with New Mexico MainStreet as Revitalization Specialists in Graphic Design and Marketing. The program is under the New Mexico Economic Development Department and is dedicated to helping affiliated local communities and organizations create an economically viable business environment while preserving cultural and historic resources. It is cool working with the small businesses and community-level programs throughout the state that go through the program and providing them with essential branding, marketing, and graphic design services. We’ve been working with the program for three years and have seen a great deal of success with the program.
And as far as staying connected to the alumni community, the Full Sail team makes it so easy by inviting me to alumni mixers, to speak to current students and so much more. One of my favorite ways to give back is through the program advisory committee (PAC) – Eric mentioned it a little earlier. Through the committee, I can help inform the curriculum so it can be reflective of current industry practices, trends, technologies, and more.
To learn more about Full Sail University, click here.