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Graphic design studies: help needed!

Hello everybody,

I could really use some help and any kind of advice is wanted!

I have a bachelor in film studies and I'm interestd in doing a master in communication design or visual communication. I don't know if it is possible to pass from the one field to the other and my main problem is the portfolio. I have an interest in graphic design and I have some experience in Illustrator and InDesign, but not enough knowledge to submit a portfolio for a master (I think). I want to apply for next year, so I have 7 months to work on it. So, I'm thinking of two options. Either to learn by myself online and work on my portfolio or to go to an one-year course to learn the basics and make my portfolio. What would you recommend? I found one school named Accademia Italiana, but it's kind of expensive for one year and I am not sure if it's worth it. Do you know anything about this school? Do you have amy other one-year course to suggest? I live in Europe and I want to stay here.

Also, I would really like to do an internship or a work experience program, but I dont have enough knowledge to do so. Do you think that I could find any company or studio in this field that I can work at just to get some experience? Has anyone done it before, having almost no experience when starting?

I am really confused and I would really appreciate any kind of advide or just anyone's experience on a similar situation!

Thanks a lot in advance, anything would be helpful!

Paul Murray

Staff member
What's your reasoning for wanting to do a masters degree in design/visual communication. Is this level of education required for employment in Italy? It seems like a big (expensive) change for something you have an interest in but haven't actually studied or trained in at an academic or professional level?

Without knowing what your film degree covered it's hard to say whether or not you have any interchangeable skills. I've done a film studies course and I personally don't think I learnt much about design from it. Visual communication, possibly since film is a visual medium that communicates many things purely through imagery, but it's not necessarily the same subject area as design communication.

I'd recommend speaking to a tutor/leader from one of the courses you're interested in taking and see if they think you have the experience and skills that will enable you to complete the masters.
Thank you very much for your answer. The thing is, I want a career change but I don't want to "waste" the knowledge and experience I got from my bachelor degree. So I was thinking, I should find a way to connect my former studies with design. That's why I thought maybe visual communication is the field that combines both. Do you think that a bachelor degree is a better option?

Also, I would like your opinion (also the opinion of other people) on education about design. I am reading many designers online that they strongly believe that design s not something to be learnt in universities. If you have attended any design school, I would really like to hear about your experience. Thanks again!

Paul Murray

Staff member
I can't say which option is best for you, a masters here in the UK is 1 year, a bachelors is 3. I think your previous degree would be more than enough to get you onto a design degree course, but I'm not sure about a masters. Again, I'd recommend speaking to someone direct at a university, they're best-placed to advise you.

The issue of whether or not design can be learnt via a course is subjective, some people will be able to, some won't, some need little in the way of design education as they have a natural eye and learn from experience and observation. A course alone won't teach you to be a designer, you need drive and ambition as well as an eye for design, which I'd argue can't always be taught. I found much of my time at university was spent learning on my own and via my peers. I gained a lot from the course, but it wasn't purely design education, it also gave me opportunities to visit studios and new countries and see new things I wouldn't have considered.

Whilst you can do all that on your own, it's certainly cheaper and easier with the backing of a university, and it's a great way to make contacts for the future. I have friends that are illustrators, developers, interior designers, screenprinters, all with skills that support my own and all from my course.