Design Youniversity is an educational website that will teach world-class design principles, skills, and knowledge for free!
Design Youniversity is an educational website that will teach world-class design principles, skills, and knowledge for free!
Hello! My name is David Royka and I've been a professional designer for the past 25 years. For 5 years I had the honor of being an award-winning Graphic Design professor at one of the top-ranked design schools in the world. Now I'm blending that expertise together in a [r]evolutionary new educational brand. Design Youniversity will combine my professional experience and teaching skills, along with the collaborations of many other talented people, into a website offering the finest design knowledge in the world. The best part is...we're providing it all for free!
DesignYouniversity.com is an educational website that will teach the theories, principles, and skills needed to be a great graphic designer. Through informative videos and animations, before and after examples, and descriptive articles, the website will teach problem solving skills, critical thinking, and how to effectively tell visual stories. Design Youniversity will engage viewers visually with a magazine style format that will be fun and entertaining. It will be built on substance and meaningful content, not jargon or marketing fluff, and provide layers of details to explore.
DesignYouniversity.com, accessible 24/7/365, will allow immediate world-wide access to anyone, anywhere. Visitors will be able to search the site for their specific interests and customize their learning experience. Direct access to what designers need, when they need it, will dramatically accelerate the learning process. To ensure universal usability, DesignYounversity.com will be a responsive website design that automatically adjusts its layout to fit any mobile device, tablet, or computer screen.
DesignYouniversity.com will be also developed using proven teaching methods and the latest research. We're designing this website with feedback from students and integrating the next generation's viewing preferences to make it visually rich and engaging with manageable chunks of information. We'll be adding the information first that students ask for the most to make Design Youniversity immediately beneficial to the widest audience when it launches. Visitors to the site will be able to quickly find any topic they're interested in or discover new topics by exploring the site. In addition, our presence on social media will be an important element of how we'll spread the word about our valuable knowledge base.
Design Youniversity will be a supplement to a design education, not a substitution.
Where do you go when you need information or want to expand your knowledge on any subject matter? The answer is, the Internet, the largest pool of information on earth. Currently, 91% of adults are using the web to find the information they need (1). According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, online learning offers definite advantages and "stronger student learning outcomes" in part to offering students "control of their interactions" (2). Online learning is skyrocketing, growing in both popularity and effectiveness, and Design Youniversity is poised to become a leader in that movement.
Developing the equivalent content that a design student would receive in college is a huge task to undertake…but this is a collaborative venture! I'll be leading and managing the project by taking a quarter century of my unique design experience, and combining it with the vast expertise of other teachers and professional colleagues, and putting it at the fingertips of designers everywhere. The teaching lessons already exist and through your contributions, we'll have the ability to employ many professionals, educators, writers, and designers. The more money raised by this Kickstarter campaign, the more people that will be employed, and the faster the website will grow!
One of the things I look forward to the most is offering opportunities to the next generation of designers. Each web article needs imagery and graphics to accompany it, illustrating the key points. The website will also need animations and instructional videos to demonstrate important concepts. Design Youniversity will contract that creative work to young graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and multimedia artists. We have a large and extremely talented network of students and alumni ready to work on Design Youniversity materials. By funding this project, you'll be providing opportunities to designers who need the work the most!
Approximately 110,000 people graduate each year in the USA with arts related degrees (3). Unfortunately, some of them leave college unprepared to meet the realities of the real world. My goal is for DesignYouniversity.com to be the "GO TO" source for the very best design information online. Reliable, accurate, valued, and trusted.
1. Primary – Undergraduate or graduate design students aged 18-24, as well as those who are unable to afford college, will be our primary audience. We want every college-aged designer to know about Design Youniversity and to reference it often. We also want to provide those who are unable to attend college due to lack of money, limited time, dependent children, health issues, or situations beyond their control with a place to gain the knowledge and learn the design skills they need. By offering this knowledge for free, we can provide amazing opportunities where there were none.
2. Secondary – Recent graduates and design professionals aged 22-35 will also find our website highly valuable. We want graduates as well as seasoned professionals to visit the site for all the high-quality career information it contains including how to manage a design business, writing contracts, negotiation techniques, and other topics vital to the success of a professional designer.
3. Tertiary – High school students students aged 15-18 will find Design Youniversity inspirational. We want motivated high school students who are interested in pursuing a design career to use DesignYouniversity.com as the source to prepare them for their future.
Note: We also envision Design Youniversity becoming a future resource for college professors to show our website and instructional videos in their classrooms to illustrate the design concepts that we covered very well.
Graphic Design skills will be the first major covered in totality. Listed below are a just sampling of the topics the website will cover but certainly not a complete list.
Design Disciplines – Branding • Marketing • Social Media • Advertising • Corporate Design • Packaging Design • Publication Design • Environmental Design • Symbol/Icon/Logo Design • Concepts • Symbolism • Web Design + Much More
Design Principles – Importance of Design • Telling a Visual Story/Visual Communication • Open Space (White Space/Negative Space) • Layout • Typography • Alignment • Consistency • Repetition • Color • Texture • Line • Contrast • Proximity • Design Trends + Much More
Design Career – Industry Expectations • Branding Yourself • Resume • Cover Letter • Marketing Campaign • Interview Tips • Portfolio Development • Salaries • Negotiation Techniques • Job Searching • Personal Website • Self Employment & Freelance • Best Business Practices + Much More
Design Resources – Terms & Definitions • Links to the Best Online Resources • Design Games & Quizzes • Art & Design Schools • Software & Hardware • Printing Sources • Design Inspiration • Boosting Creativity • Web Development Tools + Much More
Note: DesignYouniversity.com will not cover software skills because there are several websites that currently exist that offer excellent step-by-step instructional videos.
While there are other online learning sources like Udemy and Coursera, their course offerings are spread across a very wide range of subject matter. Some prominent design colleges are now offering online courses but they typically require college-sized payments. Design Youniversity will focus exclusively on design education for free. Since no organization currently dominates the educational design space yet, there's a huge opportunity to fill this gap. Design Youniversity will build brand name recognition around being the best. Imagine having instant access to a quality of education rivaling that of a prestigious university. It's my goal and passion to deliver that wealth of knowledge and make it accessible to all. With your support, we can make it happen!
Once we meet our Kickstarter funding goal, DesignYouniversity.com will be developed in the coming months and posted live in July of 2014. We'll have a respectable number of web pages at launch and will be adding one or two new articles every day after that. If we're fortunate enough to exceed our initial funding goal, we'll be hiring on lots more help to deliver high-quality content and we'll be growing faster than that. As the website grows, so will the library of knowledge!
When I graduated college, I had very little mentoring and virtually no one to advise me on how to prepare for my future career. I learned about the design industry the hard way through trial and error. Sure I had my successes, but I also made mistakes, and looking back I really wished someone could have spared me the painfully long learning curves associated with those mistakes. That's one of the main reasons why started to teach, to provide the knowledge and insight to young designers that I was lacking at their age, and to propel their careers faster and farther than mine!
Most importantly, it's no secret that college has become outrageously expensive. I recently completed my master's degree so I know first-hand what a higher education costs. Search online and you'll find many reputable sources providing shocking statistics about the high costs of college. Some facts are:
These costs have far out-paced the cost of living and the affordability for many middle-class Americans.
While this puts a huge debt burden on anyone starting their life, what's even more alarming is I personally know design students who have left college owing more than $100,000!
While many financial experts consider the student debt issue to be a looming crisis, I want to take action and do something about it. Lets turn this around! Lets join together to make education fun, affordable, and accessible to all. I'm committed to making a high quality design knowledge free to those who are motivated or in need. With your help we can do it!
Every university has a campus store offering branded logo wear and premiums…and we will too. As a thank you to all those who pledge, backers will receive a compounding assortment of rewards based on their donation level. Each limited edition reward item will be made exclusively for our generous Kickstarter donors. Once the items are designed, developed, and distributed, they'll be gone forever! Our intent is to provide high-quality reward items that our backers really appreciate and that have lasting value. Please see the side bar for all the reward details...
Our initial funding goal will get the site launched and off to a promising start. The money will be spent on:
- IMPROVING the website design. In December 2013 I created a prototype website to test the concept. With the feedback I received from early reviewers I need to make minor improvements to the design, navigation, and usability. Since this is a website that teaches about great design...the website also needs to be well designed. The changes required are an easy progression from the prototype site.
- WRITING and editing articles. In addition to the articles I already prepared, I'll be using my 5 years of detailed teaching lessons as the initial content, but they're not suitable to post online in their current form. They need to be written in a more compelling narrative and in a web-oriented format. Funding will go towards these writing and editing costs.
- DESIGNING graphics, icons, illustrations, and taking photographs to accompany each article. Every teaching lesson will be delivered in a single web page called an article. Each article will have one main image and several supporting icons or images. Current or recently graduated students will be employed to design this graphic content.
- CREATING instructional videos and animations to teach key points. These videos and animations will deliver a lot of content in a short period of time and can be shared instantly through social media. A portion of the funding will go towards making a few of these animations and short films. The production of high-quality videos and motion graphics is an expensive and time intensive process but they are important online instructional tools.
This website has the potential to educate designers across the world. I have big dreams about what this website can be but I need your help making it happen! Here's what else we can accomplish if we exceed our initial goal…
Stretch Goal: $29,000+ – Our initial Kickstarter funding goal gets the site launched, but if we exceed that amount, that's when the real magic happens! Design Youniversity will have the ability to contract more designers, grow faster, and make a bigger impact in online education. This project will make huge leaps forward both in quality and quantity if we meet our stretch goals!
Stretch Goal: $250,000 – If we hit $250,000 in funding, we'll be able to hire on part-time and full-time designers, filmmakers, animators, and social media strategists to grow the site and expand our viewing audience. At this level we'll really be able to make a difference in online education and positively influence people's lives!
Stretch Goal: $500,000 – If we hit $500,000 in funding, we'll translate the website into Spanish to broaden its reach. We'll also have a permanent staff of designers, writers, and other creatives growing the website daily!
Stretch Goal: $900,000 – If we hit $900,000 in funding, we'll seek out collaborations with other professionals and professors to include Design History, Interior Design, Industrial Design, and more!
Stretch Goal: $1,900,000 – If we hit $1,900,000 in funding, we want to develop innovative video classes. These classes will allow aspiring designers to develop projects and receive online feedback on how to improve their work, similar to the classes they might take in college in a virtual classroom setting. After thorough research and interviewing students, we'll develop classes that satisfy the needs of our target audiences. Specific technology needs to be incorporated to make these virtual classrooms a reality which requires financial investment and technical experts to join our team.
Stay connected to Design Youniversity through your favorite social media sites. Please let others know about our campaign too! Tell your co-workers, classmates, friends, and family. We definitely need your help to spread the word!
Thank you so much for spending the time learning about our dream project. I hope I've inspired you to be a part of this [r]evolution in education. Please help us make Design Youniversity a reality! With your donation, we can do amazing things. Thank you sincerely for your consideration and support!
Risks and challenges
Every entrepreneur knows there are calculated risks and challenges when starting any new venture. This project has been in the planning stage for years so we're feeling well prepared. However, no matter how well prepared you are, things happen that you can't anticipate. That's where my personality traits of being flexible and adaptable come into play. I can respond quickly to changing situations and solve any unforeseen issues. Another reason I can do that is because I'm extremely passionate about this project and determined to make Design Youniversity a resounding success.
With my 19 years of web design and programming experience, we're heading into this well covered on the technical side. I created a prototype website to test the concept viability and responsiveness. The site worked flawlessly and now only needs minor reorganization of content and refinements in visual design. The hosting platform has unlimited bandwidth and will organically expand in real time to meet user demands. A daily archive and back-up on multiple servers will ensure preservation of all content.
Since I've developed and managed websites of similar size and complexity before, I know first-hand what's involved. Getting organized was the first step. To minimize future surprises, I'm organizing an initial committee of designers and creative contributors. Multiple meetings will be held in April, May, and June to anticipate problems, develop solutions, and distribute the work.
Developing high-quality content and writing the articles takes the most time. I've written dozens of the initial articles but I will be hiring a writer and editor to take over that process. The writer will use my existing notes and interview me, as well as other professionals, to extract the essence of every lesson. After reviewing and editing each article to make it perfect, it will be paired with imagery and posted online.
Finding talent to create illustrations, graphics, animations, and videos is no problem. I have creative resources in abundance with a network of over 200 talented student designers and recent graduates to rely on. Videos and animations take time to develop too, but the talent pool is ready and willing. The design and fulfillment of the Kickstarter rewards takes effort and coordination but we'll have plenty of help with that process, and it will be accomplished in logical stages.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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