Getting a more formal education in graphic design

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by thedon1, May 25, 2015.

  1. thedon1 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    My degree and professional qualifications are in Finance but my interests and job requirements are requiring me more and more to know about graphic design.

    I've read a couple of books on the basics, colour theory etc but I was thinking of maybe doing a more formal course.

    Is there anything online (or in college) that you guys recommend? Is there another route I should go down? Any recommendations would be great.

    I'm in London, UK.

  2. petersolomon7 macrumors newbie


    May 26, 2015
    need a institute for Graphic Design degree.

    i think there is too much scope of graphic design, so companies or individual should provide the online courses to increase the number of people in this field .
  3. laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    I live in America so I don't know what the UK has but maybe there are small colleges in your area that provide night classes. I got laid off from a chemical engineering job and got a $5,000 retraining allowance. Used it to get a 9 month certification in computer graphic design. Really more learning Photoshop, Illustrator and such vs formal design theory. Then I did my time working at a printing service bureau, temping as a graphic design assistant, etc. etc. learning what I could along the way from people with actual design degrees. You might also look into online courses from

    I wouldn't call myself a great designer by any stretch and often I feel like a fraud when I look at other people's incredible skills but I've found a niche of clients who love the way I design what they need and it makes me a nice freelance income. And there are constantly new things I need to learn, like now it's 3D projection mapping and Millumin. I think design skills are learned by observing, copying and trial and error and excellent client service. Learning the basics is very helpful (fontography, white space, scale, preparing things so they are appropriate for their end use) but it's mostly just slogging through, finding your style, knowing your weaknesses and being able to identify when something looks good. Good luck!
  4. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    This is actually the thing that design schools are good for. Most strong design programs do not teach software, but provides a framework of intense exercises that build your experience and knowledge in the field.

    The "best" design school in the world (as voted this year) is in your backyard. Take a look at Royal College of Art. Also look at the London College of Communication and Ravensbourne. All of those programs have evening or certificate programs, and full-on "professional" degrees.
  5. thedon1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010

    Awesome, i've had a look at the London College of art's website and have found that they do loads of short courses.

    I'm interested in this one.
  6. winston1236 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2010
    You can learn more online than you ever will from some professor who's work wasn't good for them to even work in the business. And this is coming from a professional designer who graduated from one of the fancy US design schools.
  7. schopaia macrumors member


    Apr 14, 2010
    Ugh... this is just terrible advice. Often times a professor also has a career.. obviously. More importantly, you are learning from other students, visiting lecturers, critiques and the general atmosphere of being in a design school, which absolutely cannot be replicated online.

    To the OP - good luck! It looks like you are taking a great first step and I am actually really excited for you somehow.
  8. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    Actually I don't think it's a terrible advice - it goes both ways. As you say many professors enter academia after being in the "real world" in a business for a while, which is great. However I've had a few professors who have never left academia at all and that sucked big time.

    Completely agree on the point about learning from others - students, critiques, assignments, where you get really valuable feedback, that's really important!

    Good luck OP and keep us posted how have you decided ;-).
  9. Planey28 macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Birmingham, UK
    Completely untrue. You cannot learn or refine your design process from the internet, there's plenty more to design than just knowing how to use software.

    OP, as you've found out quite a lot of universities do short intro courses to graphic design which sounds like it would be perfect for you. Might be worth looking into CSM as well, I'm not sure if they do a short course but they have a strong reputation (although they are part of UAL as well).
  10. winston1236 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2010

    Really? You can't use one of the many portfolio sites to get feedback and critiques? You'll learn more working than in school 100% of the time. Design degrees are vastly overpriced( at least in the US) and are largely a low return on investment dollars and time. The op needs to cut cost substantially to come out ahead especially starting so late.
  11. thedon1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    Unfortunately I won't be able to enroll on the course I wanted to do as it clashes with some key work dates.

    I have found an online course which seems to have some back and forth interaction with a tutor.

    Has anyone got any thoughts on how good they are? It looks promising.
  12. bayourock macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2009
    Not sure if they have any offerings in the UK or Europe... But I have taken classes on all the Adobe Products through NewHorizons.... They have mentored learning, with a online Instructor and everything....
  13. macam macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2005
    Greater London, UK
    Hey OP - did you ever get anywhere with the course - interested to find out... I'm in a slightly different position that you - I've been doing Art and Graphic design for many years freelance while I still had a mainstay job... however 3 years ago - I moved into doing Graphic Design full time... it's been hard - and I, like someone mentioned above, have a small niche of clients who come back to me all the time because they like my eye. However, I am looking to keep my design skills fresh as I have seen a lot of new designers come out recently who are producing awesome stuff... so just wondering if you did take that course and how you found it... it's always better to do courses that have great feedback... Let us know! :)
  14. thedon1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    Unfortunately I couldn't do the course at the college in London due to timing conficts with work.

    I ended up doing the following online course:

    It's a structured course where they give you things to read and digest, then give you a project to work on, which is then evaluated. You publish your work and can see other users submissions and the critiques they were given. You also get 1 to 1 sessions with a designer to talk through what you're working on.

    I'm about half way through and i'm really liking it so far. I'll probably write something more in depth once i'm done.

    It's definitely a course that covers more of the fundamentals so seasoned designers may have already done all this. For me though, the syllabus is exactly what i was looking for.

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13 May 25, 2015