A truly gifted Designer can go a long way on talent alone, and work experience – combined with an impressive portfolio of work – may trump academic training. However, for the best chance of employment, a degree course or equivalent is advisable, with entry requisites commonly an A level in art or design. Edinburgh University came top in the ‘Complete University Guide 2012’ for art and design courses, with Reading University following close on its heels – the University of Lincoln and Falmouth University also gained high marks. Edinburgh’s School of Design covers all the basic graphic design techniques and practical processes like printmaking, calligraphy, drawing and digital techniques, and encourages ideas development and lateral thinking. It also has a strong focus on commercially viable projects and arranges work experience and mentoring from local design firms.
For those wanting a shorter route to a professional job in design, there are also a wide range of short and distance-learning courses variously named Graphic Design, Applied Graphic studies, Applied Graphic Technology, Visual Communications, Graphic Communications, Graphic Art, and Multimedia Graphics. Central Saint Martins offers a range of short and degree courses that aim to exploit both traditional and emerging graphic design skills from typography and photography to multimedia and the internet. Its BA course includes a wide range of specialisations including advertising, illustration, animation, photography, printmaking, letterpress, typography and writing. Shillington College, based in London and Manchester, offers three-month and one-year intensives with a commercial focus. They cover all the bases: taking a brief, typography, colour, computer applications, branding, advertising, electronic publishing, direct marketing, web design, image manipulation, prepress, developing a portfolio and employment advice.
For training in CGI and animation, the Universities of Hertfordshire, Bournemouth, Falmouth, Central Saint Martins and the Met Film School (based at Ealing Studios) offer a range of short, degree and post-degree courses in computer visualisation and digital animation. As much a science as an art, the University of Greenwich’s School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, for example, offers a BSc (Hons.) in Digital Animation and Production which includes drawing and design, 3D modelling, animation, digital video editing, and multimedia programming. Training is also included on how to communicate effectively with business, computing and design professionals.
Words: Jessie Bland
[This article was originally printed in Jobs & Careers with Hilary Devey magazine in May 2013]