Do you need to have a college degree to be a designer? - Print Peppermint

Do you need to have a college degree to be a designer?

Image source:

Do you need to have a college degree to be a designer?

Graphic designers take on a very big role in the digital world because they create amazing visuals seen every day, every minute, all over the world. These people create entertainment, advertising, news, and features in all forms, including print and digital media such as arcade games, television, web browsers, and social platforms.

Although, studying design in college won’t bring you the skills to deal with clients, deadlines and stressful situations, it might give you some good theory base. If you’re afraid studying in college will take all your time for preparing some long writing assignments then you can always google something like pay someone to write my research paper to get yourself professional help and concentrate more on designing.

Even if going to college can give you the skills and qualifications you need, you can still become a graphic designer without going the normal route of getting a degree.

Image source:

What can guarantee a person who decided to become a designer that he can succeed in this profession?

First, of course, is a great desire, without which it is not worth it to start. The balloon wouldn’t go up if the Montgolfier brothers did not crave it. Secondly, the necessary knowledge and skills. Third is diligence and talent. But whether the diploma can give any guarantees? This is a very serious question, and here's why.

One of the features of training for the profession of designer is a huge number of training programs, which differ significantly in length, depth, quality of training and the diploma that you receive at the end of training. There are currently no uniform educational standards for the design profession, which makes it very difficult to choose.

Image source:

A graphic designer needs to learn how to transfer the images created in his head to the screen of his working monitor. Therefore, you have to know the types of artistic techniques, the rules for creating a composition, have a full arsenal of knowledge and skills of a real artist. In addition you will have to master the rules for using a number of computer programs, graphics editors. All of the above can be learned. The main thing is never to stop there, because the list of tools for a professional is constantly expanding.

There are a large number of educational programs, trainings, courses and seminars on the market of educational services. We do not advise getting hung up on one approach, but it is better to try to combine and learn in different directions and schools. In this way you can increase your chances of getting your dream job.

Image source:

Since it is quite difficult to assess the effectiveness of a training program from the student's perspective, there is no guarantee that once you graduate, you will be a valuable asset on the labor market. That is why many successful young designers have no profile education at all, and comprehend the wisdom of the profession on their own.

Given the above, self-education is really a good alternative to design schools. However, there is another reason not to waste time and money on teachers. In the design industry, things change pretty quickly. Official training programs don't always keep up with the latest market trends. By studying design on your own, you can concentrate on exactly what is relevant and in demand right now.

Image source:

There are different design programs

Recently, so many different courses, schools, and even colleges have appeared that produce a huge number of designers of varying degrees of "readiness" that the market simply cannot offer interesting work to everyone. Moreover, most training programs do not provide enough skills for graduates to be considered professional designers. As a rule, it is theory, which is not worth a penny without practice of communicating with a real customer. Unfortunately, the vast majority of training programs do not involve an internship, and consequently, students do projects based only on their sense of taste and style. As a result, employers are faced with the fact that even having a good portfolio does not guarantee that the designer will work effectively in a "combat" environment.

Image source:

What should a designer be able to do?

A professional designer must have a set of basic skills that are rarely part of a formal training program.

Expressing ideas

First of all, it is the ability to formulate and express ideas so competently and clearly so that any customer can understand them, and here personal charm and communication skills play an important role.


Besides the ability to sketch in pencil, colorfully describing how good it will look, you should be able to confirm your words with deeds and turn these sketches into a full-fledged project, fully meeting the customer's expectations.

Time Management

As ridiculous as it might sound, considering the stereotype that all designers are terribly unorganized people, a professional designer should be able to plan their projects and have critical thinking. This applies to both time and prioritization. Otherwise, there is a risk to get bogged down in tasks and disrupt all the deadlines, which will have a negative impact on reputation. You might be dealing with some writing tasks when designing. If it takes too much of your time just look for the best writing service and save your time for designing.

Solving Tasks

There is a misconception that a good graphic designer is someone who draws pretty pictures. In fact, the graphic designer should offer a commercially effective graphic solution to the task. He must be able to look at the project comprehensively, and execute the order in accordance with the requirements and standards of the industry, while taking into account the development perspective. This can be compared to the skills of drawing from life, where in order to draw a hand correctly, the artist must know human anatomy: to imagine how the muscles are located under the skin, and to which bones they are attached. Otherwise, the drawing will be inaccurate.

Image source:

How to master the profession of graphic designer yourself?

Of course, if you have a creative mind and an artistic sense, you can master the profession of graphic designer on your own. To do this, it is enough to be an organized and motivated person. So where to start?

Look at those who already know how

Firstly, anyone who wants to devote his life to design should understand that design is about problem solving, not "to draw beautifully. Understanding the client's task and how the audience will interact with the result of your work is a key skill for a true designer. Study the portfolios of major advertising agencies and designers, who often show not only the final result, but also the process of working on the project with an explanation of the tasks and logic of reasoning.

Learn the basics

Despite the fact that graphic design exists for the most part in a digital environment, you can't forget the basics of traditional art. Composition, perspective, working with color, everything that artists and photographers learn must also be mastered by the graphic designer.

Expand your knowledge

Designers need to know everything about design: its history, theory, and practical application. A good designer can do his or her own research, prepare sketches, and implement a project.

Image source:

Follow trends

This profession means constant improvement. Every day there are new applications and software products that need to be mastered to stay on track. Start with the basics: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which are basic, but not the only tools of a designer. Like the fashion industry, there are trends in graphic design, and following them in a meaningful way is also encouraged.

Text, and more text

Typography is an extremely interesting and complicated part of design. After all, rarely does a layout go without text, and how this text is presented to the viewer determines the achievement of the final goal. There are its own laws and rules, which should be obeyed. Fortunately, there are a lot of books about typography, and after reading them, you can understand everything.

Choosing a specialization

As in any other profession in graphic design, there is a specialization. If you get enormous pleasure from thinking up a corporate identity, and you're really good at it, specialize in it. It's not uncommon for designers who draw everything in a row to end up doing nothing well.

Image source:

If self-education is not for you

After reading this article, you are finally convinced that self-study is not for you, and in order to realize the dream of becoming a designer you need to get a formal education? Then we would recommend you to carefully study the offers in the market of educational services. Read reviews on forums, look for graduates of schools that interest you. The information gathered together will help you make a decision.

Image source:

In conclusion

Only you decide whether you should go to college or not. Choose the way of gaining design skills that works best for yourself. But to answer the question “Do you need to have a college degree to be a designer?” - it’s NO. You don’t need a college degree to be a designer.

Author’s Bio

Helen M. Oneil is a PR manager and professional graphic designer with 8 years experience. She was born in New York city, and now lives in the state of Georgia. When not working she’s reading books and dancing salsa.

Back to blog