Graphic Design without the degree?


New Member
Hello, I see there are quite a few threads posted here asking what is the best way to become a graphic designer. Predictably, the answer tends to be; get a degree in it.

I understand that Graphics is a complex subject with a huge amount of technical ability and contextual understanding needed in order to be good at it, as well as a talent for problem solving and an inventiveness with regards to visual communication. I am in awe of great design, and like many people with an appreciation of the aesthetics of things, fancy myself a bit of a designer myself.

I would love to take the advice suggested in these threads and enrol on a graphic design degree, the problem is, I already have a degree, in Fine Art.

My story, I know, is not unique! Like most people, I didn't know what I wanted to do in order to earn a living when I was 18, all I knew was that my interests lie in art, so I did a degree in it. Don't get me wrong, it was fantastic and I can't imagine a better way to spend 4 years. However, I now find myself in an office job which is not creative in the slightest, is not something I ever thought I would be doing and, I fear, is slowly crushing my soul. In hindsight, studying graphics would have been a clever idea in order to end up with a job that fills me with joy, rather than a lingering sense of doom...

What I want to ask is, with a degree in Graphic Design not being a viable option ( unless someone has a spare £30,000 kicking around, anyone? ) what would your advice be to someone wanting to get into the industry? Is it a possibility, or did that ship sail when I chose the non-applied arts education route?

Thanks for your honest thoughts...
You can start freelancing in your spare time. If you're good at designing, you will make the same as any other design student + you will have those 30,000 in your pocket :)
Good question but why not follow your passion and get a more Art type of job? With your degree you can surely become an Illustrator? If you wanted to edge more towards the design side of things, you could be an Artworker, I'm just trying to think of things that can be design related with what your degree would be ideal for. Obviously you can become what ever you want, but if you want to be a graphic designer, I would assume you want have to gradually find your way in by taking up a more art related role that includes design, rather than trying to jump straight into graphics. I say this because graphic design employers generally don't employ someone unless they have a decent degree in the subject matter at hand. And lets not forget a good design portfolio as well.
Like yourself, my degree is not related to graphic design. Still getting to the point of freelancing as a designer as I have built up a good portfolio of voluntary work. I highly recommend voluntary work haha! A good step forward. If people want to pay, work out a cheap basic rate of your services. Has worked so far for me :)