how do i get trained on these graphic design programmes????


New Member
Hi all, i'm new to this forum but thought this would be the best place to ask about my dilemma. Basically i just dropped out of university studying product due to the fact it was too mathematical for my liking and would like to go straight into a graphic design related job, although every job i'm applying for requires me to be trained in these programmes:

'Quark Xpress, FreeHand, Illustrator, Photoshop, 3D Studio Max, Acrobat, Director, Dreamweaver and Flash'

Whilst at university i done a lot of Photoshop work but i was wondering how i would go about getting trained at the others? Whether it's simple other to buy them and teach myself, or whether i'd have to study at a college?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
Firstly Welcome to the forum.


This is the second time in as many weeks that someone has joined the forum and posted the "I've dropped out so now I'll be a graphic designer" statement. Graphic Design isn't a fall back career, you do it or you don't! It's insulting to those of us that have dedicated ourselves and put the hard work in, for someone to assume its easy to just do it.



You could try and teach yourself design software but you'll probably come unstuck. If you're self taught, its unlikely that you'll ever get employed in a creative role as employers expect a degree in graphic design, even for the most junior design role.

Doing a degree in Graphic Design also wont guarantee that you'll be any good at design but a it will teach you more than just how to use the software and thats the bit that really matters.

On a side note, you need to decide what you want to do in the design industry as looking at your list of desired software skills, you want to be a graphic designer, a multimedia developer and a 3d environment specialist all at the same time! Remember the phrase, jack of all, master of none?
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Thanks for your reply, that list of programmes was just copied from a 'requirements' section of a job i was looking at so i guess i'd only need the ones for just a graphic designer. My ideal job would be graphic designer for a newspaper or an advertising designer for a company, so a list of needed programmes for them jobs would be great.

And i understand this thread may look like i'm using graphic design as a 'full back' job but i can ensure you its not, since getting an A* and A in GCSE's and A-levels for design it's all i've wanted to do, but the course offered by university was overpowered by the maths and physics sides to design. I guess before looking for a job, maybe a college course or different university course is essential.
I think first off you need to narrow down your list of design programs...most junior graphic designers would probably only be using Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop on a day to day basis. If you have any web or 3D knowledge that would be a bonus.

As BigDave has already said, there's no easy route into design...

You need to gradually build up your portfolio, work on your design skills, keep practising on the design programs, follow tutorials on the web and generally become a lot more aware of design, colour, typography, photography, setting up artwork etc etc.

You might be lucky and manage to land some work experience or a junior design position. However, bear in mind that you'll be up against other young designers / graduates that already have a portfolio and experience of using design programs and more importantly, a degree in design.
Thanks a lot for your reply, i'm aware i've got a challenge ahead of me, but i'm going to start with getting trained at Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop, whether this is at college or other educational programmes, building up a portfolio and going from there.
I'm pleased that you intend to get trained in how to operate the software but I can't stress enough how important it is to complete an accredited Graphic Design qualification. As I said in my last post, learning the software doesn't mean you're a designer, you need the knowledge of graphic design to go with it.

For example a 2 day Adobe course will set you back £300-500 and will look impressive on your CV but wont teach you about the history of the industry, the printing process etc...

Forget the software specific courses for now, find a college/university offering a graphic design course and sign up!
Yeah i completely understand what you mean. From the 2 replies i've received i've definitely become much more aware of what i need to do now. I've been emailing several universities and colleges to find the ideal course for me and then after i've got the qualifications i need, i'll get an impressive portfolio created so i'm fully prepared for any job i apply for.
Thanks again for both of your help!
My biggest advice apart from the obvious "study, tutorials blah blah blah", is to stay inspired!

Look at the history of Graphic Design and see how things have changed and find yourself emerged into the ongoings of the design world.

There are so many great books, films and magazine bursting full of visual information as well as data led information.

Good luck!
I'm pleased that you intend to get trained in how to operate the software but I can't stress enough how important it is to complete an accredited Graphic Design qualification. As I said in my last post, learning the software doesn't mean you're a designer, you need the knowledge of graphic design to go with it.

In my opinion, and that's all it is, I don't believe a qualification IS the most important thing. I think it's more important to have a creative background. If you can't come up with initial ideas I don't think it matters what qualifications you have. The rest is technical.

I'm self taught. I went to college but I don't have a degree to my name and I think less and less employers are looking for that. I know plenty of self taught designers and I also think that they are less restrictive with the work they produce. You know when something works and a creative person will do it naturally. What employers want to see is a strong portfolio.

However, if you don't have a creative background then I think you will definitely struggle. It's the sort of thing that can't be taught.
I completely agree that you need a creative brain to be a designer but the education you receive will help channel your creativity into the right direction. I work with someone without any design training who is seen by the company directors (neither of which are designers) as very creative because he 'tries new things' but to those of us who know what were doing, he's hap hazard messy and all round incompetent. Had he bothered to get some training or perhaps even research what he's doing, he'd probably be a very good designer.
Had he bothered to get some training or perhaps even research what he's doing, he'd probably be a very good designer.

Yes I agree with that. He can teach himself or research how to channel what he is doing, but I don't believe he needs to be taught that.

You get out what you put in. If you want to be able to design to a standard I think you need the creativity, but the rest can be self taught. You can't teach creativity though.

Thats my problem with this post. You can learn the mac and it's applications and that will get you by technically, but if you don't think creatively then it's an uphill task.
Quark Xpress, FreeHand, Director??
Whoever is asking for those skills is completely disconnected from the industry and not worth working for.

All software skills can now be learnt for free to the highest standards from the myriad sources available online, if you can't learn this way you'll have a hard time adapting to software developments in the future or you'll have to dish out thousands of pounds to keep up to date doing "certified" courses.

I have no degree in graphic design, I studied illustration yet I work for all the top London agencies on a freelance basis. What got me the foot in the door was teaching myself Flash when there was a very high demand for Flash designers but few available. Since then I've worked in all media from print to motion graphics. Foresight and drive will get you anywhere.
As much as i would like to just go straight into a job without no degree, most jobs i'm looking at require one or high experience on certain programmes, which are far too expensive for me to buy and teach myself.
I've recently signed up for a Graphic Design course at Hertfordshire university and emailed the head lecturer who confirmed the course teaches Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator along with many others so i'm very much looking forward to it and the job opportunities it will give me after i finish it.
If your starting University then why not invest some of your loan in CS4-5 Student Edition. It only cost £200 odd. It was then greatest investment I believe i've ever made. I bought CS2 when I started Uni.
Agreed Toppers - I really really wish I had brought a Student edition when I was at Uni...£333 is sooo much better than £1700 makes me weep thinking about it! :icon_crying: