Becoming a Graphic Designer


New Member
I am starting college on Monday, doing Photography, Graphic Design, Art, and Computing. I have always loved taking photos, and using Photoshop. So i am thinking of getting into Graphic Design as a career, but i'm not planning on going to uni, I just don't want to be in a massive debt and i don't think uni is for me. Although i could possibly change my mind once i'm in college. But the question is, how would i get into Graphic Design after doing these a levels? and is it not too difficult?

It's pretty tough even with a degree and years of experience to find a design job nowadays, so sorry to say you'll probably have a tough time with just an A-level, unless your work is of outstanding quality or you happen to know someone who can help you get into a studio (even then the chances are slim).

Quite frankly A-levels don't give you the knowledge you'd need to go into the world and start working professionally, and a degree course is much more than just learning with a qualification at the end of it. It gives you the opportunity to network with professionals and get their feedback on your portfolio, gain experience working on live-briefs to real deadlines for real clients, try new things and experiment with different mediums, meet new people (again, networking is important when it comes time to get a foot in the door of a studio), and build a professional portfolio.

If you're not interested in the whole 'uni thing' take a look at some local colleges (or even some further afield). I study for my degree at a college and it's a good balance. The standard of the past graduates work has been really high too and the course is quite highly regarded amongst local design agencies. Having small groups is useful too, since we get plenty of one-to-one interaction with tutors and everybody knows each other.
I did college and then Uni, however, what I wished (by the end of my degree) was that I'd stayed at college and did the course that was 2 years at college then a year at Uni to top it up, because the people on my course at Uni were stuck up arseholes and the teaching quality was iffy at best.

Getting into work is hard, like Paul said, even with a degree, so unless you have the standard of work and the passion to go it alone, then I'd definitely hop on to a course that's going to offer you a qualification/all the other opportunities that are supposed to come with the course.
Thats exactly what I did Tony. I posted this in a different section but here it is again.

I graduated from Bath Spa University last year. Bath Spa was on my degree, but it was a course they ran in partnership with Weston College. I'd highly recommend their 2 year FdA (Foundation Degree) in Graphic Design course, and 3rd year top-up to a full degree.

I originally applied to Falmouth, Plymouth, Camberwell, and Bath Spa/Weston. I got offers from all 4. Falmouth's reputation is awesome, but the people there were so up themselves, and the facilities (at least when I was there) were awful. Camberwell accepted me, on the provision that by the time I started, my parents were earning more than when I was interviewed (snobby bastards).

Bath/Weston's course blew me away. Not only was there at least 4 hours of tutor/student contact A DAY (that's so unheard of at university level), each student had their own desk space, a weekly tutorial as well as brand new facilities.

Most 3 year degree courses don't offer alot in experience or focus after graduation. The most you'll find is probably outside speakers, some print workshops etc.. The Fda/topup was so different, and so much better. Instead of a regular 3 year university degree where not a lot happens after it, the 3rd year top-up was solely focused on life in the industry after. At the beginning of the 3rd year, I actually began my own design studio with 2 friends on the same course - whilst studying. This gave us 1 year's industry experience before we'd even graduated. We had business modules, freelancing modules, networking modules, as well as guest speakers, the lot. We were running our studio whilst writing our dissertations too. I don't know of many other uni's that offer this sort of thing.

Whilst some uni's have good reputations, there is no way I'd be where I am if I had started at Falmouth or Camberwell. I'd definately go for an FdA degree and top it up after if you wish.