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Change of career to graphic design

Discussion in 'Design Jobs & Employment Forum:' started by Megahey, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Megahey

    Megahey New Member


    I'm strongly considering a career change into Graphic design. My background is very different however,with a BSc in Mathematics and 3 years experience in the financial sector. Ive been taking advice from different sources and many people seem to suggest that university may not be the best route. I have been looking at the possiblilty of doing a pre-masters course which is set up with the intention of taking someone from a different background, and giving them experience in all areas of graphic design and practise with the key software. I'm not shy of working for free to get some experience but I also want to get a strong grounding with the basics before jumping in at the deep end. Or should I consider a BA? I also know a portfolio is important. There are so many angles it can be a bit daunting!

    Does anyone have experience of a career change into graphic design? What are the key things an employer is looking for?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. NeedForBleed

    NeedForBleed Member

    Don't do it, save yourself!

    No seriously though, as I've mentioned in a previous thread, I studied computing at uni and decided that I'd take a drastic change in what I wanted to do long term (during my final semester).

    I've taken the print route myself, in order to gather a better appreciation of how a designer should be working, and how various factors in the setup of a file, can affect the end product.

    If you can get the work, I would strongly suggest gaining as much experience using a hands on approach as possible. It's amazing how much you can learn by physically doing something, as opposed to the theoretical side of things, but everyone is different.

    However, I will say, there aren't any textbooks I know which explain to a person how the consistency of ink can dramatically affect the tone of black in a print. It's something which is learnt through trial and error, particularly as every printer is different. You'll know what I'm babbling on about one day.:icon_wink:
    On the flipside, understanding the difference between raster and vector is something better recognised through written explanations.

    I'm hoping that my print background will one day pay off as a doorway into design. I'm also slowly constructing a portfolio at the same time. So there's another option for you, print.

    Computing hasn't particularly aided me on my travels, but if you're doing design work, your maths will be a major benefit, and long term, so will your financial background if you decide you want to work for yourself.

    Anyway, I've probably really confused you and put you off so I'm going to end here, all the best.
  3. meadsy

    meadsy New Member

    Don't do it...

    Ring the samaritans!
  4. There are a lot of designers out there at the moment all looking for work...I know students with BA's and MA's and still no job. Get some basic grounding (HNC) and try to get your foot in a printers. You can always do further training later on part time if you want,

  5. dot design

    dot design Member

    Really have a think about if you want to be a designer, the market is swamped and its hard work to become established, that said its a very rewarding job too!
  6. JMCDesigner

    JMCDesigner Member

    You need to train yourself up on Graphic Design, understand about composition, using colours etc etc. Otherwise you'll get out there and all the competition will destroy you. If you're not that way inclined, it can take a while to get a Graphic Designers eye. You don't necessarily need Degrees and such, but definitely some kind of training of the basics is a good start. Maybe a Diploma or something.
  7. JMCDesigner

    JMCDesigner Member

    It definitely takes time and experience! There's no quick back door into being a successful Graphic Designer!
  8. printingdeals

    printingdeals Member

    as said by everyone.. don't do it.

    There are way too many designers out there than work available. Post a job on recruitment websites and you will be swamped with highly experienced and qualified candidates cvs willing to work on very low rates. May be this is not a good time to be a graphic designer.

    Just for fun? definitely go for it.

    Good luck
  9. lauralil

    lauralil Member

    Hi Shane,

    Without wanting to dampen your spirits I absolutely have to agree with everyone else. Stick with the day job and perhaps pursue GD as a hobby. It will take years of practice to get up to a standard where you could consider it a career change, unless of course you have a talent? Are you a creative person? Do you have any pieces of design or art that you've done?

    I ask this because even though I have only recently started my business, I have freelancing experience, studio experience, 2 years at uni, and years and years of art work from my hobby. Basically I've always wanted to be a designer, and have spent as long as I can remember (in one way or another) preparing for this as a career!

    What motivates you to make a move into in this industry?

  10. Tony Pritchard

    Tony Pritchard New Member

    Hi Shane. I don't know if you acted upon your desire to change career but I run courses at London College of Communication for people matching your exact profile. I think design needs thinkers from other academic and professional backgrounds. The course operates in part-time and full-time mode. Have a look: Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication - University of Arts London If you fancy a chat follow the link. I also wrote a piece on my blog aimed at people like yourself: How to be Good at Graphic Design | Tony Pritchard's Blog

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