Take graphics at university without an A level art

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by alixisis, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. alixisis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #1
    Hi,
    I really want to take graphics at university, however, due to a career plan change I have not taken any A levels in art or design.
    I am willing to build up a good portfolio (I got A* at GCSE Graphics, so I know I'm okay at doing it...) but I am worried no university will accept me on this
    any advice on what to do would be appreciated
    cheers
    Alixxxx
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
  3. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    #3
    I got my degree in Graphic Design from a University, I had NO prior art classes in high school. They didn't even care to ask about it.
     
  4. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #4
    my product design course had a day where we took our work in for them to preview. In my case they actually suggested taking a different route to my intended option (I applied for transport and ended up on product)

    As far as I am aware they said yes or no on the quality of the work, not the qualifications, although they may have been considered at an earlier time. I had actually got a btec in art and design.

    It may be worth considering doing an evening course of some sort just to up the skills.
     
  5. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #5
    I think that without a formal design qualification, you'll struggle to get onto a degree design course, purely because you'll lack even the basic fundamental knowledge of design that you would've been taught had you taken a National Diploma for example (An A Level in Art is next to worthless for a design degree anyway).

    Have you considered studying for a National Diploma (2 Years) in Graphic Design at a college? This will introduce you to the basic fundamentals of Graphic Design in a level of detail far greater than what you would've been exposed to at either GCSE or A Level Art & Design and is the ideal preparation for further study at degree level.

    If you're unwilling to consider that option, then I'd suggest a Degree Foundation course (1 Year) at University. These are introductory courses that provide people with little to no formal background to gain a basic understanding of Graphic Design to a particular level that will be required by the University to allow further progression onto their degree courses.
     
  6. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    #6
    For my 4 year degree, here are the classes I needed to take, along with the Core college courses. Again, no design work in HS.

    Art History Courses

    ARTD:101 Introduction to Art History I: Prehistoric to Late Middle Ages
    A survey of painting, sculpture and architecture from cave painting to A.D. 1400. Emphasizes standards of artistic achievement and basic principles of form and style viewed in social context. 4 SH. Core: Perspectives on the World, Fine Arts.

    ARTD:102 Introduction to Art History II: Renaissance to Modern
    A survey of painting, sculpture and architecture from A.D. 1400 to World War II. Emphasizes standards of artistic achievement and basic principles of form and style viewed in social context. 4 SH. Core: Perspectives on the World, Fine Arts.

    ARTD:300 Topics in Art
    An intermediate-level survey of selected topics in the history of art. Topics may be drawn from such areas as American folk art, modern art, Medieval and Renaissance art, or history of photography. 4 SH.

    ARTD:305 Ancient Art
    A survey of art and architecture of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Near East (Sumer, Babylon, Assyria, Persia), Aegean (Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean), Ancient Greece (Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic), Etruscan and Roman cultures. 4 SH. Core: Perspectives on the World, Fine Arts.

    ARTD:306 Renaissance Art History
    A study of painting, sculpture and architecture in Florence, Rome and Venice from the late 13th to the 16th centuries. 4 SH. Core: Perspectives on the World, Fine Arts.

    ARTD:307 Baroque Art History
    A study of the impact of society and of the Renaissance on painting, sculpture and architecture in 17th- and 18th-century Europe. 4 SH.

    ARTD:308 American Art History
    The development of American art and architecture from its early colonial roots to the 20th century. Includes explorations of European prototypes in the 19th century and modern events leading up to World War II. 4 SH.

    ARTD:309 19th-Century Art History
    Art and the role of the artist from the time of the French Revolution to the end of Impressionism, 1780s to 1880s. Emphasizes stylistic development of Neoclassicism, the Romantic movement, Realism, and Impressionism in the context of social and cultural revolutions. 4 SH. Core: Perspectives on the World, Fine Arts.

    ARTD:310 20th-Century Art
    Analyzes movements and manifestos which define the art of the avant-garde from Post-Impressionism in the 1880s to World War II in the 1940s. Explores the various "isms" in the context of social issues which effected change in artistic principles. Recommended for all art majors. 4 SH.

    ARTD:311 Non-Western Art History
    A study of the diversity of non-western or ethnographic traditions. Possible topics include the art of Islam, India, China, Japan, Africa, South America, Meso-America and Native America. Emphasizes the relationship between non-western art and general historical developments. 4 SH.

    ARTD:312 Contemporary Art
    Critical issues in art from 1950 to the present, defined by radical changes in values for the art market, art criticism and public taste. Lively presentations by students will support or contest recent art criticism, involving them in both analysis and debate. Students will visit avant-garde galleries in New York. Same as HONS:363. 4 SH.

    ARTD:313 Women in Art
    A study of the historic perception and the social history of the role of women in art: as artist, as subject of art, and as patron (audience) of art. Emphasizes exploration and debate over issues affecting present day perceptions about the woman artist of the past and the future. Same as WMST:313. No prerequisite. 4 SH.

    ARTD:401 Individual Investigation
    A tutorial course focusing on serious scholarship in art history. Includes writing an article designed for publication. Instructor will assist in topic selection and guide student efforts. Students may do research at major museums, galleries and significant libraries. 4 SH.

    ARTD:403 Senior Thesis
    Required for art history majors in their senior year in lieu of an internship. Students will work with an art historian to develop a long paper. This may be based either on new research or expansion of a paper from a previous art history course. 1 SH.

    ARTD:404 Internship
    Art history majors, in lieu of a senior thesis, or art majors may take an internship in the senior year. Work with a museum, gallery or other art institution will provide valuable background experience. Internships may be broad or specific and will result in a special project. Museum interns may assist in selection of art for exhibition, communicate with lenders, prepare insurance and condition reports, write labels, install shows or work on catalogues. Some interns work for the university's Lore Degenstein Gallery. Studio art majors and graphic design majors may take internships with professional studios and/or graphic design firms. Departmental permission is required. 2-4 SH.

    Studio Art Courses

    ARTD:111 Foundations of Art I
    Investigates the elements, principles and theories of two-dimensional design. Emphasizes exploring various media from paint to computer imaging. Also examines ideas that generate creative projects. Recommended as a beginning course for all art majors. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:112 Foundations of Art II
    Investigates visual concepts related to three-dimensional design. Emphasizes understanding of the physical world of form and space as it relates to art objects. Also addresses conceptual expression. Prerequisite: ARTD:111. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:113 Drawing I
    Problems in visual perception and delineation incorporating traditional and nontraditional drawing media. Also addresses life drawing and conceptual expression. Includes techniques in matting. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:114 Drawing II
    Introduces techniques in drawing with a focus on developing skills in interpreting the visual world through the use of a wide range of drawing media. Includes techniques in matting and displaying finished work. Prerequisite: ARTD:111 or ARTD:113. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:221 Painting
    Introduces technical problems in color, investigating composition, light, illusion, abstraction and other visual expressions using oil and/or acrylic paint. Includes preparation of canvas or other surfaces for painting and preparation of work for exhibition. Prerequisite: ARTD: 111. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:231 Printmaking
    Introduces the aesthetic intentions and techniques of producing multiple prints through such various processes as woodcut, linocut, monotype, collograph and etching. Prerequisite: ARTD:111. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:241 Photography
    Introduces principles and techniques of photography. Stresses the fundamentals of observation, composition, camera use and darkroom work. Also examines the technology of photography. Students will acquire darkroom experience during evening photolab hours. Requires a 35mm camera with manual override. Students are responsible for a darkroom fee and the cost of their own materials. Prerequisite: ARTD:111 or ARTD:113. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:242 Advanced Photography
    Photographic techniques which focus attention on the function of photography as art, commercial communication, scientific imaging, photojournalism, or other camera-related applications suited to the individual major. Written assignments will be included. Students will acquire darkroom experience during evening photolab hours. Requires a 35mm camera with manual override. Students are responsible for a darkroom fee and the cost of their own materials. Prerequisite: ARTD:241. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:301 Watercolor
    Techniques of watercolor in various forms related to landscape and specific design problems. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:302 The Figure
    Drawing and/or painting the human figure, including composition and a study of anatomy. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:303 Sculpture
    The use of plastic material, such as plaster, stone, wood, wax, clay, fibers, resins and glass. Expands on work in advanced design and other studio art courses. Prerequisite: ARTD:111. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:400 Independent Study (Studio)
    Independent work in studio art projects focused on a particular medium which leads to the senior exhibition. To include weekly experience in the studio with supplementary direction by available faculty. (May be repeated.) Junior and senior majors only. 2 SH. 4 studio hours.

    ARTD:402 Senior Portfolio and Exhibition
    Required for art majors prior to their graduating semester to prepare artwork and exhibit in the spring senior exhibition. Students will work with a faculty member to select, mat, and frame work; write a catalogue essay; design and produce catalogue; and develop a professional portfolio. Spring term students will show their work in the senior exhibition. 1 SH.

    Graphic Design Courses

    ARTD:251 Computer Applications in Graphic Design
    This introductory course focuses on the use of the computer and specific software applications as they relate to the study of graphic design. Students gain in-depth experience with pertinent graphic design software applications, as well as the basics of hardware usage, color printing, and scanning. Emphasis is placed on hands-on experience and presentation of digital output. This is an excellent course for non-majors interested in graphic design and prerequisite for all other graphic design courses. 4 SH.

    ARTD:252 Introduction to Visual Communication
    This course introduces students to the profession of graphic design and explores the design problem. Students will learn to conceptualize, analyze, solve problems, and successfully render solutions. Emphasis is placed on idea generation, creative thinking, and traditional design processes. Students complete projects that demonstrate grasp of the coursework using both traditional and digital means. Prerequisite: ARTD:251 and/or permission of the instructor. 4 SH.

    ARTD:253 Introduction to Typography
    This course introduces students to the study of letterforms for their aesthetic and communicative value, as well as their importance as a medium for graphic designers. Emphasis is placed on technical aspects of typographic structure, including the anatomy of a letter and the history of typographic design. Students are expected to generate creative typographic solutions using both traditional and digital means. Prerequisite: ARTD:251 and/or permission of the instructor. 4 SH.

    ARTD:351 Graphic Design for the Internet
    This course offers an introduction to design for the World Wide Web. Students focus on the creative and technical aspects of developing web content, as well as design concepts and structures that are unique to the Internet. Students explore relevant software applications and gain practical creative and programming experience. Prerequisite: ARTD:251 and/or permission of the instructor. 2 SH.

    ARTD:352 Package Design
    Intermediate course in which students study the creation of three-dimensional designs for commercial packaging. Emphasis is placed on problem solving, aesthetics, and the form and function of a product's packaging. Students generate design solutions that encompass a variety of packaging styles from bottles, to boxes, blister packs, and so on. Prerequisite: ARTD:252. 4 SH.

    ARTD:353 Advanced Typography
    This course offers continued study of the value and impact of letterforms in graphic design. Emphasis is placed on the generation of creative solutions that demonstrate knowledge of contemporary typography and design values. Students enrolled in the course will be expected to generate creative typographic solutions using both traditional and digital means. Prerequisites: ARTD:252, ARTD:253. 4 SH.

    ARTD:360 Topics in Graphic Design
    This course will vary in content with each offering as areas of particular relevance not covered by the regular graphic design curriculum are explored. Each course title under this offering will bear a specific subtitle indicating the content to be presented. May be repeated with permission of the graphic design coordinator when course content changes. Prerequisite: ARTD:252. 2 SH.

    ARTD:451 Graphic Design Studio
    This repeatable course offers an opportunity to build a graphic design portfolio through the completion of a variety of advanced projects. The course emphasizes the design of creative solutions that successfully integrate type and image. Students will concentrate on refining skills and preparing to enter the professional world or a graduate program. Prerequisites: ARTD:252, ARTD:253. 4 SH.

    ARTD:460 Advanced Topics in Graphic Design
    This course will vary in content with each offering as areas of particular relevance not covered by the regular graphic design curriculum are explored. Each course title under this offering will bear a specific subtitle indicating the content to be presented. May be repeated with permission of the graphic design coordinator when course content changes. Prerequisites: ARTD:252, ARTD:253. 4 SH.

    Requirements for the Major in Graphic Design. The major in graphic design requires 54 semester hours in graphic design, studio art, and art history courses with grades of C- or better.

    semester hours

    * (21) 21 hours of Department of Art requirements:
    o (4) ARTD:101 Introduction to Art History I
    o (4) ARTD:102 Introduction to Art History II
    o (2) ARTD:111 Foundations of Art I
    o (2) ARTD:112 Foundations of Art II
    o (2) ARTD:113 Drawing I
    o (2) ARTD:241 Photography
    o (4) ARTD:310 20th-Century Art
    o (1)ARTD:402 Senior Portfolio
    * (20) 20 hours of graphic design courses
    o (4) ARTD:251 Computer Applications in Graphic Design
    o (4) ARTD:252 Introduction to Visual Communication
    o (4) ARTD:253 Introduction to Typography
    o (4) ARTD:353 Advanced Typography
    o (4) ARTD:451 Graphic Design Studio
    * (13) 13 hours of graphic design electives
    o (2) ARTD:351 Graphic Design for the Internet
    o (4) ARTD:352 Package Design
    o (2) ARTD:360 Topics in Graphic Design
    o (1-3) ARTD:400 Independent Study
    o (1-3) ARTD:404 Internship
    o (4) ARTD:451 Graphic Design Studio
    o (2) ARTD:460 Advanced Topics in Graphic Design
     
  7. mouchoir macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    It may have changed since my day (graduated '99) but before going on to a Graphic Design BA, you had to have gone on an Art Foundation course post A-levels.

    So providing you can get on to one of those, you should be ok.
     
  8. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #8
    It wasn't even like that in your day. ;) :p

    You don't have to have either A Levels (much less one in Art) or a Foundation Course to get onto a Graphic Design degree course.

    The absolute best way of getting onto a Graphic Design degree course with the most solid foundation possible, is to go straight onto a 2 year National Diploma in Graphic Design at 16 after finishing your G.C.S.E's. This will give you the most diverse and strongest introduction in a subject that is contextually relevant to graphic design.

    Then directly from there onto the first year of a Graphic Design degree course thus skipping the need for either A Levels (which really are not the best way of gaining the basics of design to a level that is required for starting a degree course) and/or the Foundation Year (which is usually for those that are either already enrolled on another course or have no background in design whatsoever but already have some type of higher or further education qualification - A Levels, NVQ, GNVQ etc - and as such do not have the knowledge and experience necessary to start directly on the first year of the degree course).
     
  9. AlexisV macrumors 68000

    AlexisV

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #9
    A level art > Art foundation course > Graphic degree.

    The problem is that colleges want to see a portfolio when you go for an interview, and the same for a degree.
     
  10. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #10
    That's a particularly long winded way of doing things. Taking a National Diploma would shorten that by a year.

    Many institutes have a degree of flexibility with regards to their admission criteria for a Foundation course, they'll state their G.C.S.E.'s requirement (which is usually between 3-5) and an A Level (usually an art or design related one). But often these only apply to recent school leavers. It is completely possible to gain admission to the course if you've already attained a further/higher educational qualification (even in a non art or design related subject) as long as you can provide evidence of a creative ability (like as you said usually via a book - portfolio) at a conceptual level, as critical, contextual and execution skills will be taught on the course.
     
  11. AlexisV macrumors 68000

    AlexisV

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #11
    True, but you'll still need to build up a portfolio, which could take 4 or 5 months. In which case, you might as well do an A Level in Art.
     
  12. G.Kirby macrumors regular

    G.Kirby

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Location:
    Swansea, South Wales
    #12
    I would recommend a National Diploma in Graphic Design (2 years) or depending on your age you could enrol on a Foundation course (1 Year). Both courses will hone your skills and introduce you to how to design. The Foundation will do this but you will also do more arty stuff that may not be your cup of tea.

    If you want to do Graphic Design you need to immerse yourself into it. Start reading Creative Review, Eye Magazine or Computer Arts. Look at how they have been put together, the columns of text in relation to the images. Get into Typography, if you can’t handle type you will not become a graphic designer. Start to compare what you think is good design to what you think is bad design. And look at other graphic designers.

    Hope these tips help.
    :)
     
  13. MagicWok macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #13
    See, I don't agree with that.

    While it is certainly a good way of going about it, hardly anyone on my course at Kingston Uni took that route. And we all graduated and are now in the industry working (or posting on MR :p )

    I took the route of A-Level, Art Foundation & BA Graphics Design - and I wouldn't have changed it for the world. In fact, I personally think it is an ideal way to enter into graphics, better than taking the ND in graphic design. Instead of pigeon holeing myself into a world of graphic design from 16, I have had the chance to do 2 years of Fine Art then going on to learn and experience various other disciplines before securing my mind on Graphics.

    This experience helped me get into my choice of Uni, and it is true that universities look for those who have had Art Foundation or equivalent. Many of the good design courses look for those with a diverse background (this coming from numerous interview experiences first-hand) as they generally have the most to offer, and prefer their prospective students to have an open mind, creativity and determination primarily over knowing what an x-height is.

    Graphic Design tennants are overstated when your are still learning, you must above all else; have a desire for design in all forms and always look to learn, challenge and grow your understanding of design.

    Whilst taking a ND in Graphics Design is certainly an admirable choice, I personally wouldn't recommend it over an Art Foundation Course. Never ever be so focused on Graphic Design, you forget to experience things such as Architecture, Fashion, Fine Art etc. As they all feed into each other, and take inspiration from each other, to create the best peices of work you will see.
     
  14. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #14
    You only need a very basic, G.C.S.E. quality portfolio to gain admission onto a National Diploma. The quality of the finished work at that level is intrinsically less important than demonstrating an ability to think at a conceptual level. If the OP has an A* G.C.S.E. in a graphics related course from school, then it's probable that he'll be able to compile a small portfolio that will demonstrate his potential to course interviewers.

    It's also possible that this would be enough to gain admission onto a Design Foundation course too.

    I'm going to have to disagree with you here, a National Diploma in Graphic Design doesn't pigeon hole you into a vacuum world of Graphic Design exposing you to nothing else, it can cover a diverse range of disciplines from (Fine) Art through to Sociology, but it is always in the context of and how it will relate to Graphic Design.

    It is true that Universities look for many things. Having being a Design Lecturer at BA and MA level I can attest to that. Like many in the industry, I seldom considered their formal educational background when interviewing prospective candidates for example. Hence my comments about institutes maintaining a degree of flexibility with regards to their admission criteria.

    Indeed. A designer is always learning. It never stops. (except when posting on MR :p)

    I would, as long as you're certain that Graphic Design is the profession you wish to work in.

    If you're unsure, as you were, then there are many avenues to pursue, that will provide a well rounded foundation prior to enrolling on a Graphic Design course.

    Cannot fault your reasoning there. Nothing exists in a vacuum. As a designer, you will always be considering many disparate elements and influences and how they will inform and impact on your work regardless of their form or genesis.
     
  15. mouchoir macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    Hmmm, thinking about it you're right. I did A Levels while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do at Uni. Was going to opt for Politics when I changed my mind at the last moment and did an Art Foundation course.

    It was only halfway through that that I decided to do graphics. :)
     
  16. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #16
    I know... ;) I graduated the same year as you, so figured we probably would've started at a similar time too. ;)
     
  17. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #17
    I got a B Comm (Digital Animation) they didn't ask me for a prerequisite in art either
     

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