Member Offer
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Do I make graphic design my career?

Discussion in 'Design Jobs & Employment Forum:' started by cjb1985, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. cjb1985

    cjb1985 New Member


    I am considering a career in graphic design but I have a few concerns. I graduated in 2008 with a degree in Multimedia Computing and Psychology. I thought about pursuing a career in UX design, and have tried to find work but been unsuccessful in these difficult times. I have no portfolio and was thinking that I should maybe do a course in graphic design which would further my knowledge (learnt at uni) in photoshop. I would probably be looking at a course for 6-12 months.

    My first concern is that not having an actual degree in graphic design, will i be at a massive disadvantage with other more qualified competition (with graphic dsign degrees) for entry level jobs? Or is it all about the portfolio?

    How similar is graphic design to UX design? Would it be easy to transfer your skills across?

    Does graphic design require very artistic skills? I am not very god at hand drawing...

    Any other advice or info about making this break into graphic design would be much appreciated : )
  2. spottypenguin

    spottypenguin Active Member

    I'm sorry that I don't have a lot of time to reply fully now but the thing that stuck out like a sore thumb: "maybe do a course in graphic design which would further my knowledge in photoshop".

    There is no way in hell you can even contemplate working as a graphic designer with just Photoshop behind you. You are going to need a really good level of Illustrator and Indesign.

    I'll try and give you a better answer tomorrow.
  3. Amy Welland

    Amy Welland New Member

    I have literally been asking myself the same thing, did a graphic design course for a year, wasnt in the right place in life to be studying so i left... i could/could still go to uni because of previous qualifications but was always unsure i love graphic design but always think im no good at it so have been putting it off... for well, over a year now.

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member


    From my experience, a design course will give you a good understanding of most of the software you will be using in the industry. However (and again from my experience) they certainly won't be teaching you UX design on a general graphic design course.

    The route of all design has the same sort of idea. Good layout, good typography, good colour/image choices etc.. so in that sense, a general design course would be good for you. However I'd suggest you need to learn a bit about web design before having a go at UX design. This will help you with regards to what can and can't be done on devices, how things work etc...

    I havn't done a lot of UX design myself, but I'd imagine I'd have no clue where to start if I didn't know much about designing for the web.

    Good luck. :icon_cheers:
  5. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Are you sure about that mate? You'll be lucky to get a full semester being taught industry standard design software. When it comes to software, that is all up to you to learn them.

    Exactly mate, all of which are best learnt away from a computer screen.


    Being a graphic designer isn't just about what software you know how to use. Software is just another tool at our disposal. Layout and typography are the two main skills a graphic designer must have, without the knowledge and understanding of these, "Photoshop" won't help you. Also you might want to look into what Photoshop is actually used for, you'll then realise that you can't actually design anything properly in Photoshop, as it wasn't made for that. The clue is in the name 'Photo' 'shop.'

    As for your questions:

    Obviously a portfolio is paramount, as without it how are you going to be able to show employers (or anyone) what you are capable of? But a degree is also very important and some employers won't even look at you if you don't have a degree. There are [enter number here] of people with degree's struggling to find work, so why would they go for someone without one? I'm not saying you won't find work without the degree, but it will be even more difficult than it already is.

    And the last but certainly not least key ingredient would be experience. Get some work under your belt, even if you gotta work for peanuts to start with, gain some experience. If your lucky enough to work for the right company, you may find you'll learn more about different design software at work, than you would on a graphic design course.

    Does graphic design require very artistic skills? I am not very god at hand drawing...

    Nither am I mate. I say that's what illustrators are here for (hehe). I mean I can draw well enough for myself and for what I need to do, but probably not good enough for a job that would require good drawing skills. My doodles have been fine for every design I have completed thus far.

    All the best and good luck!

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Not sure where you went to uni, but the one I went to spent several months at a time teaching us industry standard software - Flash (at the time), InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop etc..., followed by various projects and briefs which we'd use these programs for. Sounds to me if you did a design degree and didn't get taught how to use design related software, you've been pretty shortchanged.

    Sure, but what's the point in researching and reading up on these things, if you're not going to put what you've learnt into practice? A good design course will do both and it'll go a long way.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  7. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Not sure where you went to uni but I should of gone there! lol. I went to London Met. Maybe I over exaggerated a bit, making it sound as if we didn't work on macs at all. That is not the case, it's just at the time I didn't feel we spent enough time on them. When we did I was ahead of everyone else, as I pretty much new 90% of what was being taught from previous courses I studied prior to my degree. Their excuse was, and I quote, "This is a graphic design course, not a multimedia course!" I think we were taught the 'old-school' way. Funny enough I think it all worked out for the best, as you get a better understanding of how to design, which you can then use the mac as the tool to execute your designs.
  8. Edward

    Edward New Member

    I would say with the rise of social media and generally with the world migrating online there has never been a better time to be a graphic designer, the whole online world is hungry for visual content and every net-savvy designer I've come across is at least making a decent living. But, like these guys say you've got to do it right, there are a lot of us out here and we're all working as hard as we can to be the best we can.

    Do lots of research, not just into the skills and software you need but into the market you want to sell your services to. Who are they and what do they want from a designer right now? If only there was some way of knowing what they'd want from a designer in 2015!! We'd be minted...
  9. meadsy

    meadsy New Member

    Despite going to uni myself I believe that someone with 3 years experience in the industry would be e better candidate and all round 'hit the ground running' prospect. I appreciate that uni will help you gain a knowledge of the required software packages and help you hone your life drawing skills! but i have never encountered a design graduate that has half an idea when it comes to the commercial environment.

    Even though we are only in our infancy as a business, hopefully, when we come to look to take onboard a designer I will be interested in the portfolio. For me a portfolio with commercial work in it holds more sway than a portfolio full of made up briefs that took weeks to put together.

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Nice website. :icon_cheers:
  11. meadsy

    meadsy New Member

    Thanks Arrivals. Not complete yet as time is tight!!

Share This Page