How do I get into Graphic Design?


New Member

I have an MA in Interior Architecture, so have Photoshop Illustrator and Indesign skills. I've also done a beginners course on web design. I'm trying to get into Graphic Design, but don't necessarily want a BA or anything (although I'm obviously open to this as well), I just want to learn graphic design. I can't find any short courses or evening courses, not even by the council (Manchester).

So would it be better in my case to do a diploma course in a college, and learn all the basics? Does this prepare someone for a Graphics job?

Or is it better to try to get straight into an honours degree - does this make a difference on someone's CV?

From what I can see, MMU is the best option in the Manchester area, but not sure about this either.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
I'd be tempted to go for the BA if you've got the time spare as it will stand you in good stead when it comes to the jobs market. That's not to say that having a BA makes you better than a designer without one but stood side by side a designer with a great portfolio and a BA will win the job over a designer with an equally great portfolio but no BA as it shows a level of dedication and application.

Dave wonders how long it is before someone tells him he's completely wrong and qualifications dont matter.
Thanks Dave. Is there any point at all in doing a Btec (and no more) and teaching yourself? Is there enough material out there on the web would you say? Or do you need some sort of tuition? The fees for uni are absolutely extortionate
There's certainly no reason why you couldn't do a btec or a Foundation Degree, it would give you the foundations you need to to teach yourself the rest.
I know people who did a BTEC in graphic design and felt like they didn't learn anything in comparison to what they learnt in their first few months on a degree, same with a foundation degree actually. The quality of courses varies greatly so look around and research them as best you can, some are fantastic, others not so.

You may benefit from a Shillington course (there's one in Manchester). Personally I don't think you can learn graphic design in 3 months and I wonder about how much time is spent developing ideas and thinking them through (graphic design is about the idea behind something, not just the final visual outcome). It looks like a good option for someone wanting to fast track into design from another industry, but I don't think it's the best option for someone without previous experience.

There's a lot of self-teaching on degree courses, more than most people probably realise. You're guided and offered advice but nobody sits you down and says "here's how to design X, Y and Z". Saying that though, I do feel doing a degree has benefitted me because I've exposed to opportunities that otherwise wouldn't have been available to me.
Hey, thanks for that.

Ya you get what you pay for I suppose. It would be quite cool for someone to tell me what it's all about, after thinking about it there's no way I can afford another degree. Are there any design comapanies in Manchester that anyone might know of that take folks in for unpaid work experience? I see there are badly paid apprenticeships out there, but they seem to want younger people.

Thanks again!
A lot of agencies in Manchester will happily offer unpaid work placements to students if you show them you want really it, you just have to ask. Some larger ones are likely to only want graduates but it's worth asking anyway, the worst they can say is no.
I did a BTEC and then an art Foundation course (not a foundation degree) and found that my college was so good on the BTEC that really, at Uni, I probably learned only a quarter as much as I did at college.

I was totally prepared for the transition and while most people were learning the ropes screen printing etc, I was bashing them out. I guess the deciding factor is always going to be the quality of the course.