Doing a Graphic Design Degree in Open University


New Member
Hey everybody, I'm new here! This is in fact my first post, so hopefully someone will reply!

Anyway, a little bit about me, I'm 28, and I currently work as a graphic designer for the government.

A brief moan about my current employment - I'm very lucky to gain a position in graphic design full time, however, the pay isn't "great" and I'm limited on the amount of creativity I can use (mostly due to corporate branding) I've recently been promised a promotion in April and a "progression" style system (I'll get sent on adobe certified courses and if i pass and get accreditation I'll move up the ladder to become a senior designer - lucky me!) problem is, talk is cheap, and i dont want to be licking my wounds come April being told some bullshitty story such as "oh its going through the process, we need to get so and so to approve it before we can pay you more" etc etc. My main issue is, if i ever want to leave my home town, i feel i'll need a degree to get a job in the industry.

My question is, what do you guys think about going to OU? I havent studied since i was 21 but the thought of a degree has always interested me. I should mention that i currently live on my own in my own house (no gf, no kids, no pets even! im such a loner!) so i'd have no problem with distractions.

Has anyone done this or had any experience in this before?

What are your thoughts?

(ps..shameless plug, but i've recently joined behance, so if you'd like to connect with me, then its

Thanks for your help in advance.
Hi John,

I've no experience of the OU, but personally don't like the idea of just sitting there working on your own. Interaction is an important part of the design process, so having someone to talk through ideas with is a great resource.

I've voiced my opinion about design degrees a number of times on the forum, but my general opinion is, they're not necessarily a way into a job. Doing a degree won't make you a designer, and not doing one won't prevent you from getting employment.You have experience already, so you may be able to find somewhere that will take you on as a junior and train you up, saving you a few years of your life and a chunk of money.

You're only 28 though. I turn 29 next month and am only just setting out on my design career really, but we still have a good few decades of work ahead of us yet (unfortunately), so do the job you want to be getting up and doing every morning. There was people on my degree in their 40's, so it's never too late. The important thing is to lead the life you want to lead.

the pay isn't "great" and I'm limited on the amount of creativity I can use (mostly due to corporate branding)

Hate to burst your bubble, but you'll find this is probably the case in most studios, especially as a junior. Agencies only show their best work, so their portfolios are full of brilliantly creative work, but the truth is the boring, dull, soul-sucking, corporate jobs (often for pharmaceutical companies) that never see the light of day are what keeps them ticking over.

Even if you do get to work on a creative project, depending on where you work, you'll probably find the idea and direction has already been decided on by the Creative and Art Directors. You might find yourself just artworking or working up sketches, which is just as dull, though again, this depends on the studio in question.

There's no harm in putting together a portfolio and reaching out to agencies for feedback/employment. Try and build a rapport with one or two, if you can afford to do a few placements, and work you way up to a job. It's unlikely you'll just walk into a job because it's just so uncommon in the industry. Most employment comes from contacts, so get out there and make them!