4 answers

Is college necessary to be a graphic designer?

Updated Los Angeles, California

i am a junior in highschool and I am interested in knowing if college is a must. Can you take classes on your own and still get hired to do small projects? And if so, what is required to be a graphic designer #graphic-design #photography #3d-graphics #python

4 answers

Justin’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Put simply, absolutely not.

Most of my employers have never asked where I went to school, and quite a few of the designers I've worked with never attended a design/art college. Having a degree is a great thing, and by no means is it necessary.

There are countless resources online which can help you learn the tools of the trade. Much like anything else, you must first learn the basics. I would suggest finding books on amazon or at your local library on graphic design. From there I recommend starting to learn photoshop, one of the most versatile tools a designer can use. Tuts+, Lynda.com, photoshoptutorials.ws, are all great places to learn how to use photoshop.

In the meantime, continue learning about design as an art, color theory, typography, iconography, interface design, desktop publishing, branding, product development, etc. After you're comfortable with photoshop, there are several other adobe products I would consider learning.

If you manage to find a curriculum for a school you wish to attend, perhaps start searching for online tutorials related to those courses, and start learning now to get a jump start on your path to an amazing career.

Best of luck to you!

good question

Sally’s Answer

Updated Frome, England, United Kingdom

If you are a highly motivated person who also has a business sense and knows what you want to do, you can go far, very quickly. But for most people, motivation is short and needs to be fed. A constant supply of ideas and projects and motivational like-minded people around you, helps a lot.

There is a mountain of websites giving you tutorials (for free even) online. For example: Creativelive, Skillshare, etc etc...where people like you fulfil projects designed by online mentors and then you all have a chat about each other's work and get great critique in order to improve your skills.....

Never discount the opportunity of a wealth of knowledge and tutoring which can be given to you by experts in their field (whether through college or professionally).

If later, you find work alongside a team of graphic designers, they will inspire you, BUT!!!!! you need to get to that stage first and my advice for you is to gain knowledge of the industry and practice practice practice your skill, to build up a portfolio of good work. College worked for me, big time. I wouldnt be in the position I am now if I hadnt taken the plunge into doing graphic design at University. It helped me to build up a portfolio very quickly.

Good Luck!!

Gianni’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

I'm a classic case of someone who never finished college, but has had a long (15+ years) and pretty successful career in film, animation, and games. I would say that depending on your drive, it is definitely possible to become a graphic designer without a degree. No employer has ever asked me why I didn't finish college. All they really care about is my portfolio and whether or not I can work with people and get the job done on time.

That being said, unless you are extremely driven to be self taught - not just on the tools but also on general art theory: design, color, shadow, light, line, form, composition, etc, then it will be extremely challenging to compete with other artists who have had this training. Your greatest asset as an artist will be your experience and the training you receive in school with give you a very good foundation and head start towards achieving a great eye and skill for your craft.

Rahul’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

No, You needn't have a college degree to pursue in this field. Although typical U.S. graphic design jobs may require at least some form of degree. Also proficiency in one or more graphic design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign is vital.

Rahul recommends the following next steps:

  • Getting started with software packages like Adobe creative cloud or CorelDraw Graphics suite
  • Taking online or offline courses on graphic designing