Experience is the best teacher. Is it?
Way back when there was no Digital Arts, Fashion Design or Multimedia courses (Photography was lucky to have workshops at least) creatives just learn their craft through merely experience and experiments. New generation is lucky to have books and schools about it but veterans says nothing beats the classic.
Is it advisable to go to a graphic design school and learn the theories or experience is enough to get things done?
All ideas are welcome!
Using myself as an example, I have a Bachelors Degree in Visual Art from a state university and I really learned a lot of fundamentals from my design, art and color theory classes but the few web design classes that I took were teaching old methods not even used in the real world anymore such as tables based layouts and never once touched on anything CSS. So, even though I went to school I ended up teaching myself a lot of what I needed to be able to design and develop basic websites. HTML/CSS and various software were no problem to learn on my own but when I started trying to learn more in depth types of coding I really struggled on my own so now I'm looking into going back to school to get some more training.
I've found that state run universities tend to teach old methods instead of new technology but their fundamentals are solid and some private/design/media schools are really up on the tech but lack a little in the fundamentals area. People should have a fairly solid idea of what they want to do and research, research, research any schools they plan on attending.
Ultimately, to answer the question of self-taught versus school, I think it depends on the person. Some people are better learning on their own while others need a structured learning environment and face-to-face instructor and others, like me, need a mixture of both. In any case, people just need to try stuff out and find what works best for them.
It helps to learn from both. Experience definitely is the best teacher but I should say that getting into a design school makes things easier. However, since that is not possible for everybody, one can always seek help online--through tutorials, forums, design blogs. It is also important to actually practice your craft.
Personally though, I've always wished that the design course I took tackled more than traditional art so that I would know more about designing for the web. How easier life would have been! So yeah, I'd suggest getting both experience and a degree if you can.