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how did you end up in design?


Senior Member
i remember seeing a post from someone (can't remember who, my bad!) about going off to study to be a teacher, and ending up in design.
have any of you guys done the same thing? was design a deliberate choice, did you stumble to your job slowly but surely, or did you just one day decide you wanted to do it?

when you got into design, did you feel you made it?


Active Member
I always wanted to be a commercial artist since i was little as drawing was the only thing I could do.
I did know a succesfull Creative Director of a large Ad agency who was originally a Policeman!


I bought Photoshop, discovered the drop shadow tool and away I went! "Professional graphic designer title, here I come!" I said to my self, laughing at those people who had spent years learning about colour theories, design principles, trends, various different types of software, different styles and techniques and everything else that comes with the job. "What fools they are!" I thought to my self as a mercilessly applied overpowered shadows and luminous glows to everything in sight.
Okay, I'm only kidding.. don't remove my mod badge :( I downloaded a lot of software just to get to that position!
Okay okay, when I was younger I was really into computers. At about 13 I got really into coding websites, just the simple HTML/CSS stuff. I don't quite know why, maybe because the code couldn't answer back when I shouted at it (which was quite a lot back then!). From there I learned how to use Photoshop to design websites, simply through trial and error. I did that for about 5 years and then discovered other things like photography, illustration etc. After a year of working, 2 years of college, I'd learned quite a bit. Did a year of A levels (not graphic related), carried on doing graphic and coding stuff. After that year I went into over drive, spending most days reading articles, tutorials, anything I could get my grubby little eyes on that would further my knowledge and understanding of design. I've rather given up on the coding now, I'm afraid to say. I can still do all the basic stuff and a bit of jQuery but I just find it so boring.
That's my story.


Well-Known Member
Tim said:
i remember seeing a post from someone (can't remember who, my bad!) about going off to study to be a teacher, and ending up in design.
Thanks Greg, yes Tim that poor fool was I. Berry, are you ever going to compile the BBoL into one of those "Little Book of..." style books?
To answer the rest of your post Tim, I always wanted to draw, and once I found out more of the options I had available (and got some good advice) I put myself on the right path! I didn't fall into it, it was a conscious choice made as I wasn't happy with the direction I was going in. Took a while to get my first illustration job (about 3 years!) and even though I was having the time of my life I felt I was still learning. Can't really stop improving can you. In terms of "made it" ... I'm still working on that.


Active Member
At School the only thing I was good at was Art and have always been interested in design and craft, but advice from my careers adviser suggested a get a 'real' trade to fall back on.
On leaving School I started as an apprentice electrician and ended up working on building sites till I was about 20. One cold winter I decided this isn't what I want to do for the rest of my working life so I decided to work in an office, Starting out in sales and working with search engines Lycos, Excite selling advertising space on them. Part of the selling process was selling advertising banners, this was my start in looking at becoming a designer, suggesting ideas to the design team and helping clients come up with concepts.
I carried on in sales and then started to sell websites and SEO packages, this led me to research and become as well versed in the whole process, spending nights researching how things are done and how they work.
From here I enrolled on a FdA Degree in Graphic Design course to learn more in-depth about design and be surrounded by like minded people.
Whilst studying I carried on working for my current company part time whilst studying, Gaining real life experience which was lucky.
Things always work themselves out in the end. :)

Tony Hardy

My story is pretty much completed over in the thread: Formal Education Yes or No? But here it is again;
I left school straight after GCSE level (got all A*-C) went to Northumberland College and studied for a BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design which was great fun. The college was great and felt it really brought out the best in me. I was 17 by the time I finished my ND and didn't quite feel ready to head off to University. I decided to stay on at college for another year a got my Foundation Diploma too and felt on this course I got a good grounding in some other subject areas (fashion design, art, 3D, motion/animation). The way our college was laid out was like a big creative design studio so we could waltz between different areas and courses and pick up the info we needed along the way.
Then, I went to University. With having such a positive college experience, I went off to Leeds Metropolitan University. And basically, I hated it. There was too much "oooh, you COULD do this or you COULD do that"..."come in to lectures IF you want". It was all just a bit up in the air. Ended up sticking it out for the 3 years and came away with a good degree (2:1), but, I still feel as though I learned nothing. Maybe how to motivate yourself when nobody is there to put a foot up your backside.
Before all of that though I was really into designing for games and making "digital art". I also worked at my family sign making and screen printing business for the best part of two years. Helped me gain a fair understanding of a lot of things. (Vector vs Raster, Screen Coating) etc etc. And, dealing with clients. That was always a challenge at 15.


Staff member
Sitting comfortably children?
Then I shall begin...........(cue wavy cross fade)
I left school mid recession where the career advisor told you how to sign on rather than discuss our aspirations.
Tried and failed to get on a YTS as a Painter & Decorator for the council (ouch) and then on a YTS labourer (double ouch).
I then went to a collage open day and managed to get onto an Art & Design course.
This was cool and I also met my girlfriend who eventually became my now wife which was a bonus.
Went on to study Graphic Design for a couple of years and got a job right out of college.
I worked at a printers and then a newspaper and freelanced doing some design for a few Sheffield music venues where I did posters for some small time bands like Pulp and Manic Street Preachers who never really went on to do anything. ;)
I took a break from design to do some other stuff like travelling and on my return I needed a job and now people were using these new Mac things (which they told us at college were "a gimmick") so I bought one and tought myself to use Photoshop and Freehand.
I got a job at a printers and as I'd always done illustration I then got a job working at a big greeting and gift company.
So.... really I got into design twice over.
Must have killed a monk in a previous life or tum-tin. :rolleyes:


I like to think that the reason I got into this industry was from something exciting.. Like I was a spy for the UK government and it was my cover in an undercover operation and now I just do that instead.. but in truth, I liked drawing (used to make comics) when I was young and got into an Art College then Design in Uni and been doing it ever since, which isn't as exciting sounding LOL
Funny story actually.
I have been an artist my entire life. I was very very lucky to have parents that supported my love of art and made sure that I had the means necessary to do so. (Mom to this day still says her best move was telling me my sharpie wall art at the age of 3 was beautiful but would look so much better on paper so she could keep it, and then asking me to tell her about my drawing) I got my first taste of "computer graphics" in 9th grade, and then went on to focus on choir the rest of high school. I went off to college to train in classical music and opera, when I realized I hated practicing and was constantly sick from the mold in the dorm vents that they refused to take care of. I would see the art students with their portfolios and paper pads and realized I was incredibly jealous of them and it was then I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer. During my studies I learned my strong points were in print and illustration and that's where I'm at now. I'm 2 years into the field and due to unforeseen circumstances I am freelancing as an illustrator and it's been successful so far! :) And I'm happier than I was in an agency and an in-house corporation.
To be honest I ask myself this quite often because I genuinely cannot remember when or what got me interested in design.
All I remember is that I started doing very basic / shit design work for my Aunts business, not thinking about a career in it or anything like that.
I went to 6th form with the plans of going to university to study some kind of science. Dropped out of 6th form and somehow ended up in uni with an unconditional offer for a design course...
Then I dropped out of uni and set-up shop as a full time freelancer about a year ago.