(1) Do you need a degree to be a designer?
(2) Is a design degree worth the cost?
To answer the first one, you don't need a degree but it does help most people. For example, a designer named David Carson was influential in the 90's without a formal design degree. But this is probably the exception, like Bill Gates in the software world. Designers benefit a lot from good critique and feedback, which can be hard to find outside of a design class or program.
To answer the second one, many different institutions offer design degrees. The top private design schools can be expensive. But you can also get study design at a community college, or through an online program. I would also suggest applying for scholarships, not just from the school you're applying to, but from any source that might support your studies.
For me, a design degree was worth the cost. Working after classes, loans, and grants made it more accessible. But it's only worth it if it fits into your strengths. Are you too structured to be a painter, but not structured enough to be a computer programmer? Then design might be a good direction for you. Keep in mind that design is a broad field now. You may find that designing digital experiences makes the time and cost of a design degree more "worth it" for you.
If you think you have the natural talent and drive to do what it takes to build up a portfolio and your skills without a degree, then that is certainly something to think about. But I think that college can be helpful and a useful life experience, and it just may require you looking for a school that can give you the necessary skills, but not cause you deep into debt. You definitely do not need to/should not go to a fancy art school that will put you hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt to achieve a degree. I believe that there are good programs out there that will not cost you an arm and a leg.
I went to an in-state liberal arts school with a Graphic Design program where I could graduate with a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts). YLooking for programs that are balanced in their print/digital design, or a bit digital heavy will be a plus. Finding a program that gives you the option to get a BFA vs a BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Graphic Design could also be a plus.
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I went to a two year graphic design and illustration program. It was just as computers were starting to break through. Many might say the skills we learned were not relevant to the changing industry, but they absolutely were. Learning design principles (unity through proximity, unity through space, unity through shape, etc...) will be in the back of your mind for your whole career, and will help you to make better decisions than people who don't have that background. School also taught me the importance of deadlines. Because of that, this is something I've never messed around with. If I say I'm going to have a deliverable at a certain time, lacking a REALLY GOOD EXCUSE, I will have it.
Finally, school is fun! You have freedom to do cool work, find what you love, and meet like-minded people without having the fear of a paycheck hanging over you. Not for a moment have I regretted any time spent in the classroom, and I go back for skill sharpening as often as I can.
I would say yes, for the same reasons as have already been posted. I'd like to add emphasis on this one, though: a strong degree program can also help you hone some "soft" skills and emotional intelligence, which will come in handy in a graphic or UX design career. These skills include organizing and planning your work, writing, presenting, and working with a mix of people on project who have different skill sets, different fields of expertise, or diverse backgrounds in other ways.
Some people get good training on that early in life, and they may not need it so much as others. I know that I needed it in my degree programs - and I continued to learn and grow in this area through the first several years of my career. (And I'm still improving!)
Good luck to you!
When it comes to finding a job in graphic design, it's true that many employers still look for folks who obtained a degree in that field. However, if you have a strong portfolio that demonstrates your knowledge of design fundamentals and goes beyond (knowing when/how to break or bend those rules), that will speak louder than a degree to any employer.
Yes there are amazing designers that didn't get degrees and terrible designers that did, but in my experience, having the formal training and collaborative experience you get in a formal design program is a massive advantage and will allow you to get the more exciting design jobs rather than just the "marketing person who makes social media graphics and flyers."
Good Luck with the Graphic Designer career if that's the path you choose!
UX is more than just Graphics Designer, but they come from same roots.
I think, this is great field. As you know, underlying technology remains same, the human interface/interactions changed over time.
You remember old days, where people had to take months to learn Softwares.
Now a days, we see, kids user apps pretty smoothly.
That's the difference what UX brings to any software... ease of use!
Your portfolio is the most important piece of information about you, along with your ability to talk about your work. If you're a thoughtful communicator that's passionate about problem solving, you will get you a job anywhere that's worth your time.
The idea of the degree means something to some. It can show that you had the patience and discipline to finish what you started. However, no need to spend a lot of money or go into debt. The private schools don't promise much more than a network, so it all depends on your hustle.
If you are a type A person, who is good at leveraging the people you know and online training resources like LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare, a formal design program may not be necessary to learn everything you need to get your first design job. However, you have to be extremely good at managing your time and keeping on track with training goals. If you choose this route, joining an organization like AIGA and going to networking events, or finding mentors on LinkedIn, will be extremely important.
However, if you're like many of us, going through a formal design program through a university is an invaluable way to learn the basics of design: terminology, building an eye for good design, and—probably most important—learning productive ways to handle feedback and critiques. The people you meet in your program, both students and instructors, are also an invaluable network for those searching for their first design job.