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Lots and lots of questions on Graphic Design Careers!

Discussion in 'Universities & Training Forum:' started by henna108, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. henna108

    henna108 New Member

    Hi everyone, my name is Henna. I am in my last year of A levels. I am doing 2 Full A2 Courses which are Fine Art and Graphic-Product Design and 2 AS courses which are ICT and Psychology.

    I have a lot of questions! :icon_confused:

    1. I'm starting the process of applying to Universities to go to next Sept and I would like to incorporate some work experience in my personal statement. I know there are easy opportunities to gain some experience at my local Newspapers, but I want to do something different as it seems to be very common and would not make me look very unique.

    I have also thought about retail companies and their design areas, but I am not exactly sure how to apply for experience there... are there special contact numbers? Do I need to have certain qualifications to just gain some experience? Any ideas or any extra info on what I've told you would be greatly appreciated! - I live in Hertfordshire.

    2. I have done some research and have found many Universities which interest me that teach a course around Graphic Design, possibly with Illustration, however some of which I have not really heard the name of - so I'm not too sure if they are respectable or leading?

    3. There are a lot of Universities that require a Foundation Degree before you start their course, but I really would not like to take an extra year in this. Does anyone know any Universities that do not require this? Or, some that specify but can make exceptions if the Portfolio is decent enough? Based on my subjects listed, do you think there would be enough work for my Portfolio so I do not have to take this foundation degree?

    I know that's a lot, but If you could answer about at least one or help me out for some extra advice, please please let me know, I would really appreciate it! :icon_smile:
  2. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    1. Newspapers don't really do much of the stuff that you're looking for. Page layout is automated and the majority of adverts are supplied by Advertising agencies so you're stuck with artworking local plumbers adverts (booorrrring...).

    Generally speaking retailers such as Debenhams and M&S etc... have design teams in Central London offices so try googling 'debenhams design department' or similar and you should be able to find details. (in fact, i just did that an debenhams have a graduate scheme into their design department (no mention of intern-ships though)).

    (part 2 & 3 coming soon...)
  3. henna108

    henna108 New Member

    Yes, thats exactly what I was thinking. I will definitely look into that now. Hopefully if they are based in London its something I can do during the weekend as I would be in classes during the week.

    But that's great! Thankyou so much, I was loosing hope in getting replies from this thread!
    Interested in what you have to say about the other questions.
  4. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry about that, it was 5.30 so time to go fetch my son from nursery…. (which leads me onto my next point)… You'll find that most (if not all) agencies and design departments are closed on a Saturday & Sunday (Office hours are usually mon-fri 9-5.30).


    2. Research is key to finding a good uni and a good course (by good uni I don't mean the one with the cheapest student bar). My degree is in Applied Digital Media (Design). I wanted to do digital graphics and flash development but after 2 years I realised that whilst I was technically good at flash, I found it really dull and wanted to design stuff I could touch, feel and see in the real world. It was too late (and too expensive) to swap so finished my degree and set about trying to build a career in product design and print design with what were really the completely wrong qualifications. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you know 100% what it is you want to do then find a course that specialises in that subject, if you think you know but aren't sure, find one that is a broad graphic design course with an option to speicalise in your final year. (It'll save you so much farting about later). Visit loads of Art colleges and uni's until you find one you like the feel of.

    3. Foundation courses and foundation degrees are two different things to watch out for. A foundation course is a 1 year course aimed to give you some prior knowledge of the subject and to build on your UCAS points. They're there for people who know what they want but don't have the UCAS points or experience from A levels to qualify for a full blown degree course. Some Uni's will insist on you taking the foundation course regardless of you UCAS points but if you can prove your prior experience of the subject (in your case Art and graphic/product design) and a portfolio to back it up, they may be willing to bend the rules for you.

    Foundation degrees are usually 2 years long with the option of a 3rd year 'top up' to earn a full BA Hons.

    I hope some of this has helped and good luck out there.
  5. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    The best way to tell how good a course is, is to go to their 3rd year shows or open days, take a look at the work the students produce and speak to them about their experiences. Or find graduates online, see their work and email them asking their opinions of the course.

    All courses have pros and cons and each persons' experience will be different, so speak to as many people as you can.

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