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Students urged to avoid design...


Greg

Active Member
#1
Industry heavyweight Ian Cochrane is recommending design students to ‘get out’ of the sector, which ‘does not need you’, as the recession bites. Cochrane is managing director of management consultancy Ticegroup and former managing director of both Fitch and Landor Europe.
Cochrane tells Design Week, ‘There are still too many people coming out of design courses, and there simply aren’t the jobs for them.’
He recommends that students enter alternative occupations and gain experience outside the design sector.
Article from Design Week by Emily Pacey
Students urged to avoid design - Design Week

Some interesting comments following the article, but what do you think? Is Ian Cochrane right to be sending out a negative message to design students? Is this the true reality of the industry?

Interested to hear your thoughts and views as ever :)
Greg
 

tim

Senior Member
#2
I don't think it's getting saturated... but anyway, he can't say students won't get a job, because he doesn't know each individuals skills or portfolio or whatever.

If he's right, howcome I've managed to get started on a good portfolio (working for businesses!)?

TBH, it should be telling the least bothered people to get out more than anyone.
 

philjohns

Senior Member
#3
If he's right, howcome I've managed to get started on a good portfolio (working for businesses!)?
I totally agree! Im exactly the same too!

How can someone tell you that you wont be geting jobs in the design industry...when...to be quite honest you already are - Im not just talking about the odd freelance logo/banner either, Ive done fully blown websites, branding, and provide many other services to current clients too.

Also, how can it be right if someone like me has actually been offered full time?

Fair enough, maybe he can argue that for a lot of people its the wrong business as at the moment in this economic climate the industry is shrinking and probably at a very quick rate, however to push all design students out of the window?! Now that just cant be right!

On another note.....

Cochrane is managing director of management consultancy Ticegroup
Now excuse me if im making a big mistake but is the situation at the following link present because of a lack of designers!?

Ticegroup
 

Kevin

Senior Member
#4
Branding guru Michael Peters concurs, saying, ‘There is too big a supply of young designers and far too many people doing mediocre work.’
I think that's the problem. The overflow of bad design is making people think they are rather good and that they will definitely manage to survive as a freelancer. I think the baseline of the article should be the majority of students does not qualify.
 

Kevin

Senior Member
#6
Link doesn't work...
And with students I mean people who are coming out of high school, wanting to follow an additional course (college, university) hoping it will teach them what they need to know.
 

tim

Senior Member
#7
Honestly, I do see your point, but I'm saying it's not just young people. TBH, if it's crowded, that's even better for the talented better, as more businesses will rely upon their great services. That'll surely flush the crap ones out in a matter of weeks.
 
#11
Have to say I in part agree with the Cochrane. Don't get me wrong you can't generalise to the level that the article seems to. Think the figure is over 85% of students graduating from design related degrees don't work within the area within three years of graduating. Obviously a lot of people with choose different paths after Uni but with most it will be down to quality of work or a lack of junior opportunities.

Think Universities do nothing to warn prospective students of this, so harsh as it sounds for the vast majority not all it is prob good advice.
 

philjohns

Senior Member
#12
Its a good point Russell.

Arguably for some students and young people (such as people similar to myself and Tim), with a foot already half way through the design industry door this article is not relevant at all.

The opposition (in some ways being my self) may argue that to start developing your skills for the industry before the time of Uni comes about is very beneficial, and could even
in a few cases similiar to myself provide routes into full time design or freelancing with a ready "bank" full of current clients.

I suppose that this is kind of turning away from the topic of the article now, however one thing I will add is that fair does - some people should never study design at a Uni for one of two reasons - not being good enough, or being "too" good (dont get me wrong - i dont feel you can ever be too good for a uni but if you can get your foot in the door another way it is quite sensible). For the rest of the young people who are good designers, or are managing in the field either way then surely it is clear that they WILL infact certainly stand a chance in the industry for the next few years inline atleast.

RANT OVER
 
#13
Agreed Phil, and the fact that young'uns like yourself are gaining live experience and are focused enough on your chosen area to be involved in forums such as this shows you have what it takes to get on in the industry. Just really do feel a bit sorry for those blindly following a path, that entails massive debt, if no one has made clear the amount of drive (and not to mention talent) to succeed.

Obviously an informed view can be found with enough research, but just think Uni's need to reduce their intake to get those who are serious getting into the field.
 

philjohns

Senior Member
#14
Most of the threads I read on here are to do with designers and the choice between uni and diving straight in! Maybe a sticky thread should be made!

I ahve always felt that unless you do not know how to design a logo, build a, okay, BASIC, website by the time you have to go to uni then maybe a design course isnt worth it?!

I know a few designers that have gone through uni and to be quite honest havent come out good the other side for a reason, but I also know a few designers who have started at the age of 15 and performed great successes in the industry within 10 years later. No offence to anyone who has gone through UNI and come out good the other side and is doing well in the industry as I am probably the last person on the forum with the right tor ant about this - but maybe its about time the "heads" of the industry looked at portfolios first? THEN qualifications?
 
M

mrleesimpson

Guest
#15
I have to say guys I almost completely agree with Mr Cochrane.

Every time I speak with a design student who is struggling to get employment in the industry I can't help but feel a little bit sorry for them. Especially since most of them either won't find a job or will end up pushing pixels at some high street print shop for the rest of their lives.

If you like what you do, and you can see past the stuggle to get a job and potentially crap pay, then get in the trenches and fight your way to a job. But if you're hoping that you're going to be a rockstar designer with a nice car, nice house and cushy job, then this is certainly not for you.

I just wrote the second post regarding why I think design education is failing UK students and I think this backs up my opinion that students need to do so much more to guarentee themselves work.

tim-ater said:
If he's right, howcome I've managed to get started on a good portfolio (working for businesses!)?
You don't know the half of it. I think that having a portfolio of actual commercial work is a big win, its not the be all and end all of a career. I bet a 101 current and ex-students read that and said the same thing as you, but there is a huge different between the odd job here and there with a client and start paying some bills.

I've been there, and I don't much fancy going back.
 

tim

Senior Member
#16
But at the same time I bet 201 people didn't think the same too.

I'm earning quite a decent amount from web and graphic design, and I'm 15. I don't have any kind of design degree, GCSE, GCE, or whatever, but I think I'll be more than fine finding myself a job.

Naive as that may seem, it's not about age, and fair enough, if someone's gonna waste years of their life in a crappy job doing something which only 10% links into their original idea, then yeah, they should reconsider, but it's all about the skills.

I'm sure if you asked potential employers to pick between a 30 year old male who's been in this area of work for 18 years, worked for three companies but still doesn't understand what the difference between JavaScript and HTML is, or a 15-22 year old who's got a degree or not, and got the technical skills even though it's their first year, I'm sure they'd pick the more technically skilled one (as wordy and badly written as that was).

TBH I don't ever see myself with an awesome car, big house, blah blah, but I do see myself paying the bills and still having some. And even that, I don't see having within the next 20 years unless a miracle happens.
 
#17
tim-ater said:
pick between a 30 year old male who's been in this area of work for 18 years, worked for three companies but still doesn't understand what the difference between JavaScript and HTML is, or a 15-22 year old who's got a degree or not, and got the technical skills
Firstly, maths, it's very important - who starts work at 12? (30-18=...)

Secondly, I think there is a massive misunderstanding in skills here. A designer has no need to know how to code, that's a programmer/developers job. Having said that, if the said designer is working on on-line projects, then an understanding of what different technologies/language's offer can be a real bonus.

A designer is a creative problem solver, not a coder. There are so many people out there calling themselves web designers, when they actually mean site builder/developer/coder. Maybe it's because the word Designer appears to be more glamours then developer.

In my experience (20+ years) you come across a few rare individuals who are apt in both disciplines, but this is very rare.

Anyway, getting back to the main topic of this tread, the situation has always been the same. So many people who I went to college with never ended up working in the industry.

I guess now there's even more people leaving Uni, college ect. Back when I left school if you were interested in the creative industry the only place's to study were art colleges, no Uni's, Polly's or normal colleges offered such courses.

It was a hard fight to get into art college, even harder then getting my first job.
 
#18
In a very matter of fact way he's absolutely right - there simply aren't the jobs out there for the volume of grads leaving colleges each year.

The same is always true though - good people will always find work so I would take his comments as an invitation to raise standards.

And if you still can't find a job have a go yourself. Some of the best design agencies in the world were started by graduates that couldn't find "proper jobs".
 

tim

Senior Member
#19
Firstly, maths, it's very important - who starts work at 12? (30-18=...)
Sorry, mistyped early in the morn... i meant 8 years.

A designer is a creative problem solver, not a coder. There are so many people out there calling themselves web designers, when they actually mean site builder/developer/coder. Maybe it's because the word Designer appears to be more glamours then developer.
TBH, I don't agree with that. A designer can be a developper too, and okay, if you don't like that analogy, how about technically good with software or whatever? It's irrelevant, I was simply making a point to show where I'm at, no need to be pinickity.


Sorry if you disagree with me, but that's your opinion to keep and mine to challenge. 20 years ago is also irrelevant. Today, if you're good enough, you'll get a job. If you're average, you'll struggle. If you're crap, you'll really struggle. As far as I know that's a generic statement for lots of work places.

Here's some evidence of that off Berry...

1. Hunger. Desire over ability. if your really hungry you will find a way to eat.
2. Learning. An ability to constantly learn and change and evolve. Not many people can actually do this!
3. Patience A person who can learn, sit and wait and measure his attack. This is a marathon, sit and wait, and you will win the race. Let others blow up, you have 30/40 years in this business, be a stayer.
4. Desire If you want it you will get it.

I've always employed people with these attributes rather over 'talented' people as these will finish the race and long term will survive and adapt. It's not your portfolio employers buy into it's you, and what you may become.
 

philjohns

Senior Member
#20
A designer is a creative problem solver, not a coder. There are so many people out there calling themselves web designers, when they actually mean site builder/developer/coder. Maybe it's because the word Designer appears to be more glamours then developer.
I agree with this.

Tim - A designer is someone who DESIGNS the visuals. For instance - a furniture designer is someone who draws the 2d images of the furniture, a furniture maker however makes the physical piece of furniture.

Thats why some people choose to have both "Website Designer" "Graphic DEsigner" and "Developer" on their website.

You are not wrong by saying...

A designer can be a developper too

But like "DJ" went on to say :
you come across a few rare individuals who are apt in both disciplines, but this is very rare.
You are not automatically a devloper if you can design the visuals of a website and you are not automatically a designer if you can code a website (or develop).

Studying a design degree quite often doesnt give you any developing technology skills, and on the other side of it - web development degree may not tell you the ins and outs of how to design a website visually in Photoshop.