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HELP NEEDED: University 2012 advice

Discussion in 'Logo Design & Brand Identity Forum:' started by LukeByfield, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. LukeByfield

    LukeByfield Junior Member

    After using primarily photoshop for the past one or two years, I've decided that I want to take graphic design in 2012 at university

    I've narrowed down my options etc. And I really love the idea of studying it at university especially after reading up on what we learn. But I have a few questions

    1). Does it matter on how good you are before you start the course?
    I'm not a complete amateur and I know the ins and outs of Photoshop like the back of my hand. But my only real experience is with making forum signatures and the occasional background. I have however made newsletters/posters for my college work that have impressed my teachers greatly, and I may be making a newsletter for my college which they'll actually be using next week.

    2). Do you need to be knowledgeable in all areas?
    Like I said, I've only properly made forum signatures, wallpapers and the occasional newsletter/background. I look at examples of previous graphic design pupils and it's all typography and large pieces all from their own resources. I'm guessing this will all be taught with the course?

    3). What level are people currently at?
    Quite a vague question, but exactly how good would you say the average graphic design pupil is at university level, before they start

    4). Do you need knowledge in every piece of software
    I'm currently only comfortable in Photoshop (And Flash but it's not that relevant) and I've only tried a trial of Illustrator. I also see people mentioning inDesign? Do I need to be smart with a lot of different programmes?

    5). I cant draw. Is this a problem?
    It's not that I've ever really tried properly, but I can't exactly draw and my handwriting is atrocious, they both go hand in hand really. Is this a problem so to say? Would you recommend learning to draw etc

    Despite all of this I think I can be passionate enough to motivate myself to learning new things, but is my current level too much of a drawback? I think I have an eye for design and placement etc which always helps. I'm fairly self conscious about it and it would help to hear a response from people who know what they're on about. There's a link to my deviant art below but there's not really much on there. Just as an example of what I've been up to

    lukebyfield on deviantART
  2. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    May come off as harsh here but this is the reality of things in what is a VERY VERY competitive field.

    1) Yes it does matter, 90% of courses are over booked and as such tutors get to pick and choose.
    Knowing photoshop doesn't mean you can do graphic design and neither does doing a forum signature. Newsletters done in what, photoshop, word you don't say which but either way neither are tools used in graphic design to do a complete newsletter....

    2) Not all areas but general typography etc is taught before uni, this is at the very least a higher national diploma type course, in most cases it's a-level and to some extent gcse.

    3) depends on the person, some have natural talent, some have worked the behinds off to learn and then there's some which are both.

    4) Not before you go but it does help to have the basics down in most of the key apps (think creative suite and quark)

    5) quite frankly - yes. Design revolves around communicating ideas and you don't always have a pc to do this. You also can't rely on a pc to create your ideas. 99% of us on this forum will say that the first port of call for ALL design work is pen and paper.

    As to if you can do it, personally I don't think you're ready for uni, you need more of the basics being taught so I'd look at higher national diploma or similar at your local college and go from there.
  3. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    I'm sure you have also set your mind on definately going to uni, but consider developing the skills. Its not essential to have to go to uni and get a degree to be able to work in the graphic design indulstry (although it does help). I am also finishing my A-levels off this year but instead of uni i'll be doing an apprenteship. Many firms (if you have a look at graphic design jobs) want real industry experience, something that is developed fully when doing an appreteship.

    Still, this is my opinion and I havn't gone through the system, ill come back to you in 4 years letting you know if it was the right decision :p

    Hope all goes well
  4. LukeByfield

    LukeByfield Junior Member

    I mean this in the most respectful way, but it's posts like this that make me want to prove people wrong and go on and do it haha. I do appreciate what you're saying, and a lot of it is helpful. I've been getting a lot of varied advice from different people (On different websites) and they're often the polar opposites. I appreciate the response

    See that's what I wasn't sure on, if it was worth taking an apprenticeship or even looking into becoming a really low down employee with a design firm.

    Also in regard to the other post about taking a HND, this has been my backup plan in a way, my local college does HND's in interactive media which covers graphic design, web design, multimedia etc
  5. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Cant' agree with Levi more - especially on #5.

    Before I actually decided to make a go of graphic design properly I never bothered with drawing. I was one of those "Yeah it's just not my thing" or I'm a terrible drawer - that's just how I am."

    Well, all I can say now is that I'm really glad I decided to challenge my own view of that. I spent a couple of weeks just drawing things, mostly with references from the internet but hey, you've got to start some where. Just like anything, i.e. maths, it's not a case of simply not being able to do it, it's a case of practising something until you're good at it.

    Far too many people think that you're either born with the gift or you're not. You wouldn't get into a car for the first time and start getting frustrated because you can't drive it (or at least very well). No, you go and take lessons and learn how to do it properly.

    As you yourself even said, "It's not that I've ever really tried properly" - well there's your problem.
  6. lukedavies

    lukedavies Member

    Hi luke!

    It seems to me that youre in pretty much exactly the same situation as me last year. I had never done an art related course for gcse/alevel so i was going to my graphics interview solely on work i had done in my own time with pretty much no help whatsoever. I would HIGHLY recommend getting to grips with illustrator, without doubt the application youll be using most often in uni alongside indesign. If i were you, id leave photoshop alone, and consider moving to illustrator. If you can get to know that application before starting uni, youll be ahead of the game. Most of my classmates are fairly good with photoshop, but to be honest, it really doesnt come in as handy as illustrator, or atleast in my opinion. What i did last year was to post my portfolio work on the forums here and ask for advice, its well worth it. Definintely try and get a basic understanding of How indesign/illustrator works.

    If you want anymore help message me and id be happy to help. Im a first year student at swansea uni invade. Youre wondering :)
  7. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Im not sure- when it comes specifically to graphic design (branding, print work etc) I get the impression that Photoshop does come in more handy than Illustrator. But for other graphic work (logo design etc) I would say Illustrator does have the benefits.
  8. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    All my design work is done in either Illustrator or InDesign. Photoshop is for editing images and is pretty awful and clumsy for anything that involves typography. Leave it for the photography students and design contest 'designers'.

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