Preparing For Graphic Design at University


New Member
hi guys,

i have been studying graphic design at college for two years (BTEC), this is sort similar or equivalent to a foundation year. I just got back and have a free month of nothing to do. So I was wondering what I could do in this time to prepare for university.

If not to prepare for university but just to pass the time. I want to avoid taking on freelance work as i have people asking me for their services for things like large websites and ecommerce stores, mobile sites etc. but the work is just too much for the time I have considering my little knowledge and the time it would take learn that stuff (which i am doing). But I just really want to go into university fresh without being encumbered and stressed out with freelance work.

I was wondering what you guys would recommend i do. I draw and stuff which i have been doing for fun all my life. But i was wondering what would be some useful things to do that are more directly targeted to helping me at university.

Also, i am going to the university of lincoln. what have you guys heard about the course and the courses reputation etc. im just really curious what is being said about the university if anything.

thank you guys in advance.
I don't really know what to suggest. You could get an online portfolio and twitter set up if you haven't got them already. You could take a cheap flight somewhere for a couple of days and experience some new sights/cultures. You could make a zine. You could do nothing and just relax. All of these could potentially get you into a 'uni' frame of mind.
Just do anything that gets your creative juices flowing. I did exactly what you're doing. I finished a BTEC Graphic Design course, then followed it up with a degree. From what I can remember, the 1st year of my degree was a lot like the 2nd year of my BTEC course. Lots of project work that looks at research, ideas and development. You'll be given made up briefs, you might have some guest talkers in, or even some people come in with live projects. The bit I found most different was the theoretical side of design .. (yes there is one.) If you have time to burn and insist on preparing in some way, my advice would be read up on some theoretical stuff. From memory, in our first term we looked at things like Ferdinand de Saussure and Semiotics which took an age to get my head around, but once understood, came up all the time throughout the 3 years.
Again, some great suggestions above and as stated I’d have a read around the theory of design it will help in the long run. Courses are structured to guide you through the three years and a career choice by the end of your course. The history of design is usually studied throughout but is also focused on from the beginning. Typography is also usually introduced in your first year and is often a weak area for first year students, see if you can find some good and bad examples of typography – layout, design, and context will get you started and warmed up for Type creation and theory. If you want to know about the course get some feedback from ex-students, they should have an online portfolio showing graduate work where you can contact them direct. This will also give you an example of the quality and standard of the course and teaching. Have a look at the national competitions to see if the students are winning any awards, examples are D&AD, Roses Awards, YCN etc… etc…

All the best, Mark
Also, go back and check the prospectus of the university and course you're starting on. That should give you an idea as to what you'll be doing in the first year.