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How did you get into graphics?

I'm a brand-spanking new designer from Leeds, UK. As I don't have much experience under my belt, I'm just curious how everyone on here got into graphic design? Any insight into the mysterious world of graphics would benefit me, and also other newbies, greatly.

Jacob. (jacob@graphic-designer.com)
Definately do a course.

I started with a 2 year college course and then moved onto a 3 year degree course. Its a big chunk of time and a huge commitment, but its such a fundamental way to learn the real foundations of design. They also launch you into your career with contacts and strategies for marketing yourself.

You could spend a long time teaching yourself software online and gradually build up a good skill set, but I think you would lack a real comprehensive understand of design principles.

It might not be the answer you wanted to hear, as it isn't a quick fix, but it is a must if you really plan on succeeding in this career.

Good luck

Paul Murray

Staff member
I left a position as a CAD technician to pursue my dreams of directing films and music videos (ah, the blissful ignorance of youth). So I enrolled on a film course that happened to have a graphic design module, though I'd never even thought about design as a career. My tutors noticed I had an eye for design and suggested I considered a design course at uni, which after a couple of years of working dead-end retail jobs to try and pay bills, I did.

That course set me up for where I am now, not only through the tutoring, but the access to industry contacts, opportunities to visit other countries and cities that I probably wouldn't have had otherwise (New York for example). There are many designers who are 'self-taught', and didn't study academically, though truth is much of what we do is self-taught. Nobody sits you down and says "here's how you design a logo", it's more about trial and error – you design something, get feedback, improve it, all the while training yourself to think critically about what you're doing and justifying why you're doing it.
That's a great point Paul.

I think the fact that you get a whole group of people, not just tutors offering you feedback is invaluable. It forces you to be able to justify all the decisions you make and really think beyond just creating pretty pictures. Critical thinking is something that can take a while to get your head around, and I can't think how you would obtain that skill without a course, unless you found an amazing job with a senior team that were happy to invest serious time into training a newbie. Don't bank on that happening though.