A guide to studying Graphic Design at university - including what to expect, reasons to consider the subject area, application tips and a careers overview.
Why consider studying Graphic Design at university?
French artist Edward Degas quoted one hundred years ago that “art is not what you see, it’s what you can make others see”, this quote sums up graphic design. Graphic design is about giving a message, this includes branding, logos, package design and wayfinding and is increasingly used to improve user experience on the internet.
Graphic design requires a good foundation knowledge of fonts, typography, print and the use of grid systems on the page, screen or web page. University graphic design students will develop a wide range of skills including:
- Expertise in different computer programmes including Adobe Creative Suite, InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop
- Photography skills, not only taking photographs but the editing of pictures too
- Skills in infographics which are used to convey information in a simple visual format, such as charts and diagrams, without using lots of words.Watch this section on the video from 00:36 – 06:39
What careers does studying Graphic Design lead to?
Graphic design is very industry orientated, with 85% of graphic design students working within the industry six months after graduation. These careers include design consultancies, the publishing industry, advertising agencies, multidisciplinary design groups, web and app design, television, film and multimedia.
There is a set career route within the graphic design industry from junior designer, middleweight designer, senior designer through to creative director. Watch this section on the video from 06:42– 10:14
Application tips for Graphic Design courses at university
All university Graphic Design courses will require a portfolio of your work. This work does not necessarily need to be ‘polished’, as the Graphic Design course will develop these skills, but your portfolio needs to show creativity.
If your portfolio is mainly from a photography background it would be advisable to include some pieces of work that includes ‘type’, and vice versa, if you have done a lot of work in branding then you should include other work, which could be photography based. You should not be afraid to include sketches in your portfolio.
You will be expected to talk about your portfolio at interview so it would be beneficial to bring sketchbooks showing your ideas and how they came together for your completed projects, be aware that these may need to be digital - you could use a phone to photograph or film as you look through them.
Universities will need a statement from you explaining why you want to go into graphic design; it is advisable to take time over this, research famous graphic designers and what graphic design is about. You will need to craft a statement expressing your reasons for wanting to study graphic design.Watch this section on the video from 10:17 – 12:16
Thanks to the event speaker (featured on the video):
Brent Meheux, Head of Visual Communication and Applied Arts at Solent University, Southampton
Jon Cheek, Founder and Director, UniTasterDays.com