Graphic Designers...

Discussion in 'Community' started by 7on, May 24, 2004.

  1. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    Hey Graphic Designers,

    I was wondering how influential are grades when looking for a job? Will grade transcripts from college affect being hired regardless of an excellent portfolio?

    I already know how important THE Portfolio is, I just wanted some input on anyone's experience with their GPA and whether it restricted your job opportunities.

    I only ask because my grades just came in :(
  2. Scruffy macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2004

    Not once in the seven years I've been working as a graphic designer in Los Angeles has anyone asked me anything about grades in school. In fact, I'm not sure the topic of education ever really comes up. Now, I've been freelance the whole time, so maybe if you were applying for actual employment, it might come up.

    But, come to think about it, when I recently worked up a resume (for the first time in forever) I didn't put any school information on it at all, and no one blinked.

    If you have a book, and you can produce when called upon, it's kind of a non-issue. The emphasis in school for a designer shouldn't be on grades, it should be on learning the hell out of the software and how to design.

  3. Apple //e macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2003
    outside the education sector, not only has an employer never looked at my transcripts, they never even asked to see a college diploma. portfolio is everything

    however, grades are very important to get into grad school. and a masters degree is very important now, since a ba is so common

    edit: im not a graphic designer but that has been my experience in the architectural field
  4. D0ct0rteeth macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2002
    Franklin, TN
    You will never hear

    Damn.. that guys work rocks.. but I want the guy with the MBA :)

    however many companies (me included) will throw resumes away if they dont have a bachalors
  5. Apple //e macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2003
    yeah but put two equally good candidates. one ma, the other ba.....

    ba is generally cheaper for the employee but that means if you have an ma you get paid more

    ive not hired people because of too good grades. i generally look for people who can get effortless 70-80s
  6. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2003
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    I am currently working on my BA, in Visual Communication Technology, which is geered mostly toward multimedia. But pratically all of my profs. told me that it is all about what you can do, and not based upon what letters apper on your transcript. Basically, create yourself one great portfolio which displays all of your knowledge and capabilities.

    Mine consists of: Samples of hand drawings, my graphic designs, a interactive flash cdr, page layout designs, posters, links to my website designs, movie which i edited on DVD, photography photos, corperate identity packages, and anything else.
  7. rt_brained macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2002
    Your GPA carries zero weight as a creative. A diploma from a recognized school might help get your foot in the door, but ultimately it boils down to how you solved your various design challenges.
  8. Awimoway macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2002
    I'm not in the same field, but as a copy editor/page designer, portfolios are important to my field too (though in most places the in-house tests count at least as much).

    All I can say is that good grades never hurt. What if you get burned out from design and decide to go to law school? Also, great references certainly help too. I just got the job I wanted mostly on the basis of my stunning references (since my portfolio was, well, not so good).

    I've worked alongside some design students though. My impression of their educational experience is identical to that of history majors (I wasn't one, but I've known several): grades are mostly based on whether you share the same philosophy as your professor/instructor or are willing to sacrifice your principles and fake it. Either way, grades don't reflect talent in those situations, so I wouldn't worry too much if I were you.
  9. mcadam macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2004
    benefits of grades?

    He he, this is all kinda interesting to me...I'm studying architecture at "the royal danish academy of fine arts school of architecture" (wooooo), for the past 250 years we've done quite well without grades at all :D (the same goes for the school of design) ... right up untill now!!

    So my impression of the whole grade-thing is quite similar to the general concensus here...

    However from next semester we'll start to use grades. The main official reason is exactly: "it will be easier to find a job" !! I find this explanation, for several reasons, complete bull....

    But grades might have some other benefits (or the opposite), what do you think about it...does it help you to motivate your self, tell you in capital letters when you're to lazy, would your teachers take their job less serious if they didn't have to give out grades???!? :confused:
  10. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    Your portfolio is going to be the most important thing, usually. But GPA might come into play if you're competing against many candidates for the same job. Anything that can be used to show you have better potential is the issue here.

    That being said, GPA is only really important right out of school. Once you're working as a professional, that takes precedence.

  11. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    I've never been asked if I had BA in Design. :(

    And I'm not sure how relevant the grade is. Just because you attain say a First DOESN'T necessarily mean you're better or more creative than someone who gained a 2:1 or a 2:2. It could just mean that you listened to your lecturers, did what they wanted to see, and never broke from following in their footsteps.

    A Creative Director will be able to tell instantly from the quality and level of work in a portfolio to decide how talented and creative you are, and in an interview situation, grades mean squat diddly, if you're work isn't very good, and you're socially inept. :eek: :p :p
  12. agreenster macrumors 68000


    Dec 6, 2001
    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    While I understand your point, and for the most part you are right, but lets not forget that the MOST important thing in landing a creative-type job isnt so much that you know software: it's phenomenally more important that you have artistic and creative skill.

    I think it happens too often that people think that just because they are an "expert" in photoshop or dreamweaver or flash that they should get a job. Most creative places would rather have someone with a well-rounded education with a background in art and art history than someone who knows flash really well. Being able to come up with creative solutions for an effective ad campaign is far more important.

    Sometimes a solid education is the base for knowing "how to design." Sometimes even the best artistic skill needs a bit of educating when it comes to composition, execution, craftsmanship, theme, form, and color.

    To be honest, I dont REALLY care what someones grades are, as long as they arent abysmal. Bt would you want to hire someone with a GPA of, say 2.0? That may indicate that they never showed up to class, did 1/2 of the expected projects, and barely eeked by...but the few assignments they DID were good. I would be hesitant about hiring that person.
  13. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    I'm 12 years out of undergrad right now with a BA in Fine Art and a BS in Philosophy and have worked my way up to Creative Director at a medium-large ad/promotions agency. In those years no one has ever asked for transcripts - ever. I am responsible for hiring designers every so often and I could care less about the person's academic background. The portfolio speaks for itself.

    As far as a BA vs MBA goes, a BA is fine for most employers - if you ever want to move into management at a larger agency (Leo Burnett, Saatchi, etc) an MBA will give you a leg-up on every other candidate. Personally, I think that salaries start to peak out without moving into a higher managerial position (snr. CD, VP). For me, the main drawback of being in that higher position is that you end up doing less hand-on design and more strategic planning and employess management.

    You have to think about your short and long-term goals and decide what is right for you. I'm fine doing management as long as I still can be hands-on and have time outside of work to have my personal creative projects.

    Edit - agreenster brings up an excellent point, I would never hire a person who isn't well rounded and put them into an Art Director position. ADs need to have critical thinking skills, have a sense of history, etc. - aspects of a personality that come from a vast liberal education or immense self-study/training. If a person comes to me with a great skill set but is not well rounded I would only place them in a production-level job. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying a liberal arts school is the only way to go, I've hired self-trained people with no college experience - but only because they were well rounded, had that "it" factor and a superb porfolio.
  14. sonofslim macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2003
    i've never had grades come up in an interview or on the job. i don't even have a degree in art -- just a liberal arts BA. hell, i didn't even major in art or design. once you're in the field, it's really your professional experience that counts. so don't sweat your transcript.
  15. DreaminDirector macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2002
    Ladera Ranch, CA
    Again, I have to chime in as well. It's all about your book. The only reason why school may come into it is if you get some one who is an alumni. I've actually became friends with a few guys who interviewed me who were alumni from my school.

    As a creative, grades don't mean anything. It's all about networking and your book.
  16. &RU macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2004
    It isn't about grades...

    I started up my own design business over two years ago, it has me working day and night. I have never shown anyone a resume or portfolio -- let alone grades. Networking should be at the top of your list. It is all about 'who you know', and even more important is 'who knows you'.
  17. bella macrumors member

    May 5, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    When I finished school and was looking for a job the question of grades was unimportant. A couple people asked how I did in school - I told them I did well and that was as far as it went. No one asked what kind of grades I got or to prove them. They were more interested in my protfolio to actually see what I could do. It doesn't hurt to have decent grades but I wouldn't worry if they aren't top of the class.
  18. agreenster macrumors 68000


    Dec 6, 2001
    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    This is true, despite the fact that it pisses me off to no end.

    Some of the least talented people have some of the best jobs because their dad's-college-roomate's-sister knows about them.

    Although, unless they perform well, people who get jobs this way usually either get canned or manage to scam their way into a position where they can take credit for other people's work.

    There's a lot of talented people without jobs because of that very reason.
  19. Mudbug Administrator emeritus


    Jun 28, 2002
    North Central Colorado
    I'll agree with what's been said

    The fact that you have a BA will at least get me to read through the resumé, but I won't usually even glance down to see what the emphasis was in. For me, I've got a comfy steady gig as the art director for an ad agency after starting in prepress for an offset commercial printer. My BA is in Psychology. See what I mean? One usually has nothing to do with the other. It's the ability to show you not only know how to run the programs you say you can run in your resumé, but show that you have skill when using them. Anyone can click a few boxes in photoshop or illustrator and make an "ad." A designer you would want to hire can do that and make it something that people not only might look at, but WILL look at, and remember. In the creative game, that's the whole nut. Their GPA doesn't play into it AT ALL. The only thing I'll agree with that was said is that if they were generally a C level student, then they may have shirked some classes, which might show up as a problem in the office. But if they shirk the work, the pay drops to reflect it, or unemployment is their next best friend.
  20. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    One other note - it all depends where you get the job. Larger corporations might look beyond the portfolio. Companies that are focused solely on design for work are going to focus on the design in your work - companies that have the need for in house multi-media, graphics people look at things differently.


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