Untrained MAC Operator thinking about going back to University proper training?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by dazedandconfuse, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. dazedandconfuse macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2008
    Hi Everyone...

    In a bit of a dilemma and i would like some advice from trained graphic designers?

    I currently work as a MAC Operator at a printers loving all the basic design jobs i get to do, leaflets flyers etc.. but im feeling i can not ever advance from this position as i do not have a Graphic Design degree.

    I have a degree in Journalism and always designed at home but never had the guts to go for it and now im a typical ' went to school young didnt quite knwo what to do' students and now im 28 and in a job thats great but i;
    1. dont have the skills to get a graphic design job ie the degree
    2. have the confidence
    3. have the money

    Just a bit of advice needed is it fundamental that i do get a degree in order to progress in this industry?
    Would my current full portfolio ever get me a job better than a mac operator?
    Will i come out of university with a design degree only to start back at the same job im in or as a junior?

    Does anyone have any advice is it worthwhile going back to uni? I feel i can learn so much more!?

  2. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    Yes and no.

    Yes, it's easier to get a job if you've got a degree (some companies wouldn't consider you without one).

    No it's not fundamental, some companies will only look at what you've produced before. Some of the biggest names in design are self taught.

    Personally I'd say – if you've got the opportunity, go! I've never meet anyone who has regretted going to a good college.
  3. smokedog macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2008
    To progress in the industry you just need to build up a decent portfolio. Having a design degree doesn't guarantee you a design position. The competition for graphic design role is fierce.

    You are heading in the right direction. Try and get some freelance work off friends to build a portfolio.
  4. tberglun macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2008
    There is nothing they teach you in college that a highly driven person can't learn from reading books. I did go to college and I feel as though it has helped me quite a bit since graduation. If you have the chance to go... GO

    Even when I got out of school I had a very hard time finding a job because of my lack of professional experience. I found myself doing work for friends and family as well as making up projects for myself. During interviews when I was showing my portfolio potential employers were very impressed that I took time from my personal life to enhance my portfolio. Hard work pays off!
  5. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    absolutely untrue.

    what you cannot get from books is the critical dialog from your fellow students and instructor. contrary to what people think, you also cannot get it from internet forums, chatrooms, etc.

    you need to be a room with a bunch of people doing similar work and talking about it with each other, without the abstraction of a message board or other electronic "virtual meeting". you need to be able to draw on your work, cut it up, turn it around, see it in relationship to other contexts, etc... a poster on a screen IS NOT THE SAME as a printed poster at full size hung on a wall. period.

    anyone can learn software, it takes a different kind of environment and mental headspace to learn design. you are SEVERELY limiting yourself if you think you will pick that up from books. contrary to what some people have said, the vast majority of good designers are NOT self taught - almost all of them have some formal classroom education. There are certainly exceptions but those are extremely rare.

    if you want to learn photoshop, then reading books, online, Lynda.com etc.. is all fine.

    if you want to learn about design, process, ideation, iteration, narrative, symbolism, meaning, semiotics, and all the other million things that go into design you need to do it with other people in the room.
  6. Toronto Mike macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2008
    What shecky has just said is true.

    I am not a trained graphic designer, but a mostly self taught visual artist. I've taken a few strategic private classes from instructors. That experience, plus thousands of life drawing classes immerses you within the discipline - and the social interaction of making art. You learn as much from others as from your own efforts.

    Graphic Design and Visual art are kindered spirits. Both incorporate a much greater greater world than only putting text and visuals together - it's also about content. Your future graphic design will include, and be a total reflection of who you are, what you have thought, and what you have experienced in your life. You are reflecting all of that - as it comes through in your work.

    Any coarses, or learning instituations you might attend, apart from any technical instruction you might learn, will be another learning experience within your life that reveals itself in every design you do, every business encounter you enter. The best hope of any learning institution is in introducing one to a broad range of awareness. It is the individual's task to take that further, and explore ideas in school that might only be hinted at - once they leave.

    Should you go to school?

    I'd say there are no hard and fast rules. Take as much as you think necessary given your own personal finances and inclinations. I'm certain that a definate amount of technical instruction would be essential - given the complexity of the design field and how all the business parts must fit together: printing, software, design workflows, ect. But don't agonize over how much. Initially, you don't have to drop everything to become a full time student - but can take part time classes. Balance in your life might be just as important - by this I mean: if one of your passions is rock climbing, you'd be surprised at how much inspiration that actually gives you for the design work you do - you'll know how to put the thrill of that into future designs. Don't believe me when I say that is important. You'll discover that for yourself in the future.

    This is why it's so hard to give everyone a blanket answer about how much school to have. Each of us is different. For me, too much school is smothering - I need a little at a time - then go out there and test the waters, play off what I have just learned - or think I have learned. And just because you are not in school, never stop learning - pick up books, travel, talk to people - it will all reveal itself within your work.

    And don't be afraid to pick up a pencil and draw. Drawing is about design as well. All the world's great art is great design.

  7. primalman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    at the end of the hall
    Ditto :)
  8. dazedandconfuse thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2008
    thanks everyone for your comments... i think for me education will give me that confidence that im am currently lacking... i work alone at the moment and miss having anyone beside me saying that looks rubbish or what do you try this?
    i think that i f i learn basic design fundamentals in class this will open my eyes up to another world of design i never knew about?!

    thanks for your insights finger crossed that this time next year ill be learning!:)

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