Design Degrees, Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
The following information on graphic design degrees discusses what type of person would be interested in this field and the different degrees one could earn:
Creativity is crucial in all design occupations. People in this field must have a strong sense of the esthetic -- an eye for color and detail, a sense of balance and proportion, and an appreciation for beauty. Despite the advancement of computer-aided design, sketching ability remains an important advantage in most types of design. A good portfolio -- a collection of examples of a person's best work -- often is the deciding factor in getting a job.
A bachelor's degree is required for most entry-level design positions, and candidates with a master's degree hold an advantage.
Formal training for some design professions also is available in 2-year and 3-year professional schools that award associate degrees or certificates in design. Graduates of 2-year programs normally qualify as assistants to designers. The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is granted at 4-year colleges and universities. The curriculum in these schools includes art and art history, principles of design, designing and sketching, and specialized studies for individual design disciplines. A liberal arts education, with courses in merchandising, business administration, marketing, and psychology, along with training in art, is recommended for designers who want to freelance.
Because computer-aided design is increasingly common, many employers expect new designers to be familiar with its use as a design tool.
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design currently accredits about 200 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design; most of these schools award a degree in art. Some award degrees in graphic design. Many schools do not allow formal entry into a bachelor's degree program until a student has successfully finished a year of basic art and design courses. Applicants may be required to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.
Individuals in the design field must be creative, imaginative, persistent, and able to communicate their ideas in writing, visually, and verbally. Because tastes in style can change quickly, designers need to be well-read, open to new ideas and influences, and quick to react to changing trends. Problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently and under pressure are important traits. People in this field need self-discipline to start projects on their own, to budget their time, and to meet deadlines and production schedules. Good business sense and sales ability also are important, especially for those who freelance or run their own business.
Beginning designers usually receive on-the-job training, and normally need 1 to 3 years of training before they can advance to higher-level positions. Experienced designers in large firms may advance to chief designer, design department head, or other supervisory positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools, colleges, and universities. Many faculty members continue to consult privately or operate small design studios to complement their classroom activities. Some experienced designers open their own firms.
** Source of this information on graphic design degrees:
Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Respected source on job statistics and job opportunities. Spans 250+ occupations, encompassing nearly 90 percent of US jobs.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
GRAPHIC DESIGN RESOURCES:
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