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college degree in Graphic Design. worth it?

Discussion in 'Creative Arts' started by Edward 96GTS, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. Edward 96GTS

    Edward 96GTS F1 Rookie
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    will a graphic design degree from a university afford a good living for young woman?
    my daughter will enter ASU as a freshman this fall. the school is expensive since she is an out of state student. thus we will need to takeout loans.
    according to USNews and Reports, ASU seems to have a good program.
    any thoughts?
     
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  3. ridege55

    ridege55 Formula 3
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    I really think it depends on the emphasis and industry. From an entertainment industry perspective, I have seen graphic design and post production positions become "commoditized". As such, incomes have come under pressure and not competitive. From a software design perspective (gaming/social interface platforms), I have seen user interface and graphic/software designer positions increasing in value. If it is just an "arts" position, she should rethink it (for a good living).
     
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  4. tritone

    tritone F1 Veteran
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    Maybe. And only if her computer skills equal her design thinking; technology is/has changed the concepts of graphics dramatically. She will have to be able to develop into a superstar very quickly; as John said above, the basic skills have been commoditized, and everything is available (to be stolen/copied/appropriated) on the internet. Hopefully she is clearly showing extreme talent already, as she will be graduating into an overcrowded universe. Persuade her to research the prospects diligently!
    In my career I've hired/directed/dismissed well over 100 designers.......I only know of fewer than a dozen who went on to run their own studios and be really successful. And I consider the field to be vastly more crowded/competitive today.
    I wish I could be more positive...... Tell her to start building her portfolio NOW! :D
     
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  5. Edward 96GTS

    Edward 96GTS F1 Rookie
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    she also has an interest in film.
    her strength is writing/english.
     
  6. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    It's an interesting question. As was stated above the Design schools are churning out a plethora of Graphic Designers. Will all these grads find work in that discipline?
    Probably not. I would ask the prospective student about what her goals are and what her expectations are. If she truly has a passion for Graphic Design then I would always be encouraging. However, if it's just a means to 'go to college and get a degree', i'd look for another avocation. There are too many graduating to be absorbed into the profession.
    The same thing holds true for aspiring car designers. Too many graduating, not enough positions. Most will find employment in other fields. Nothing wrong with that, but if one had their heart set on becoming a car designer or graphic designer, then it's liable to lead to disappointment.
    As James pointed out above, the portfolio is the single most important element for making the 'cut'.
     
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  8. Innovativethinker

    Innovativethinker F1 Veteran
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    I hire creatives from time to time. I can tell you that of the 300+ resumes and portfolios I’ve looked at the majority were simply horrible. I could not believe they were graduates.

    If she is serious about design, have her attend only the very best design schools. Degrees from anywhere else is almost meaningless.

    if she is not artistic now, she may want to reconsider. The best creatives I’ve seen have a natural ability. School may teach tools and techniques, but IMHO creativity is not learned.

    go onto indeed and search for jobs in that field.
     
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  9. tritone

    tritone F1 Veteran
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  10. tritone

    tritone F1 Veteran
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    Edward, check out annunaki's thread in Silver; maybe a "test"/opportunity for your daughter?
     
  11. 4CamGT

    4CamGT Formula 3

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    Edward, just my 2 cents. I have a BS degree in Transportation Design/Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design. I’ve been in the global industry for over 35 years. My daughter has a BS from USC Cinematic Arts Film Production. She is passionate and works hard in a very competitive industry. She wouldn’t change a thing though. The film industry is a user based industry. My advice is never push anyone into a creative or any other career. It has to be their passion and decision. Talent, passion and curiosity are the drivers to be successful. Talent is something you can’t teach but learning how to access Is what you will learn. You can learn much yourself, especially what’s online. Small companies won’t hire because you have a degree. They would rather find someone talented. Having said that, going through a good design school will give one access and feedback from great teachers and critiques and an advantage. The real teachers are your classmates. The competitive spirit will either come out or it won’t. It’ll give you a reality check. Kind of like being a really good basketball player in HS but compared to a pro? Graphic Design is everywhere. It actually borders into every kind of design.

    Before committing to any school, my advice is for her to take night classes. This will give her a taste and see if it’s what she wants. It’ll also build up her entrance portfolio. Don’t expect to get rich! It’s far too competitive for that!
     
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  13. Peter Tabmow

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    #10 Peter Tabmow, Apr 25, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
    Her writing ability can give her a real edge in the field – which at its best is all about effective communication integrating word and image – in two ways:

    First, I think it's fair to say the standard of expository writing is quite poor across the board these days, so high-quality portfolio pieces (even 'made-up' projects) which she has written as well as designed could help her stand out from the crowd, in both academic and professional settings.

    Second, being able to both write and design a project can save clients a lot of time and money and confer an advantage whether working as a freelancer, staff designer, or studio owner. Speaking as a college pre-law who switched to graphic design and went on to an MFA degree, I have benefitted from this throughout my own career.

    While I agree with the others who have written about the commoditization of design skills, creating this kind of competitive advantage can help position a young designer for the higher-level (and still well-paid) jobs that remain.

    I believe ASU has a solid undergraduate program, but so do many other public and private colleges (see https://www.gamedesigning.org/graphic/design-schools/). What is your home state? With the pandemic casting doubt on the physical opening of schools in the fall, perhaps there's some scope for considering an in-state public university which would reduce your tuition bill.

    Best of luck to your daughter and keep us all posted!
     
  14. Edward 96GTS

    Edward 96GTS F1 Rookie
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    all good advice and thanks to all who replied. my daughter is still a senior in high school but has been accepted into the graphic design dept at ASU.
    no portfolio created as of yet. i’m ecouraging he to enroll in the honors programs but she is too intimidated to apply. so i’m not pushing and this major she selected caught us by surprise. thought she would go general ed for the first yr.
     
  15. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    +1 I worked as a graphic designer through college and loved it. I started as a painting BFA major. But before I got through electives I was advised by a family friend - who had worked herself up the ranks at a videogame publisher from art to VP - to focus on sales and business skills and let art follow. She asked what I wanted to do. I said own a design studio. I already had three years of high school design/publishing/photography coursework and 1.5yrs of college. She said forget studying art then, 'artists are a dime a dozen... If you can sell and run the business and get clients, you can hire all of the artists you'll ever need. There will be thousands applying.'

    I went back the next semester and changed from Art to International Business Management.

    I kept working in design through most of college and then freelanced a bit later. I will say that the naturally talented designers I knew who had an eye for balance, composition and typography produced much, much better work than those who learned skills in the design courses but were clearly forcing it.

    Of course you know I ended up going to law school instead of pursuing dreams of a studio. For the first 7 or so years that seemed like a huge mistake, admittedly. But I've found my stride and at this time [especially with the current recession starting] I don't see another feasible alternative that will be as stable and financially rewarding.

    To come back to my own advice, a degree in design is probably fine as it is the standard benchmark in today's corporate environment. But my own suggestion, if she's naturally talented, would either be to take a minor in a technical or more established university subject, or to consider a minor in design and a major in something more established (ie. literature or history + design minor). Goes to the Scott Adams success advice to be good at two disciplines and bring those talents together.
     
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  16. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    As a professional designer for the past ~34 years, good advice already posted in this thread. The degree can open the doors but unless she is REALLY GOOD, her income will be mediocre at best.

    In the art/design world its usually feast or famine. The absolute best get paid well and everyone else gets the crumbs.
     
  17. Peter Tabmow

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    #14 Peter Tabmow, Apr 25, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
    This. I was fortunate (and persistent) enough to be able to leverage my combined design and writing skills to build a career in motor racing over the last 35 years and have had an absolute blast along the way. I've made less than my college peers who went into finance or the law, but still prospered and I just can't see having had more fun or satisfaction....
     
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  18. Alpintourer

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    I have a BFA. I never formally used it but good design has been a thread throughout my life. I can't draw/paint but I can tell what looks good and what is really poor; I can also sell that to the decision makers. (I should have been a Mad Man/AE). If she isn't already passionate about some aspect of art/design it's not something she's going to "pick up" in college. Did she submit a portfolio to get into ASU? I'd have her contact ASU's Career/Placement Center. What sort of Internships do they offer. How many grads get job offers upon graduation? What's the starting salary? Then I'd hunt down those companies and get more info. Scour their websites job postings. Go meet someone who works there. She might find its competitive/stressful/deadlines/high pressure to produce, etc. Is that her personality?
     
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  19. Innovativethinker

    Innovativethinker F1 Veteran
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    If she gets into specialties which require her to be present, and wants to make over $50k, it will severely limit where she lives.

    if she works remotely, salary will most likely be less.

    I pay $20-$24 an hour for degrees creatives. However I’m not in a big city. More affordable housing but only making $20 and hour is a bitter pill for many that spent five years in school.
     
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  20. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Know nothing about design, but if it's anything like science, this is good advice. Start with the end game and work backwards. What is her ultimate career objective? what schooling/networking/etc. does it take to get there, what did other successful people in the field do to make it big, what is ASU going to do to put her in the dream job she envisions, what do grads typically do upon graduation, job placement assistance, internships, successful alumni and grads to network with, and so forth.

    Good luck...T
     
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  21. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Tell her to focus on UX "User Experience" it is growing in demand. I know, I was a UX Prototyper/Engineer for Google. UX is a major growing field and it is pretty good depending on where she will land. No, it won't make her rich, and anything design related takes a bit, but if she is good at self promotion, she stands a better chance.
     
  22. DavidDavey12

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    If that's her passion - she should do it. It's pretty much a lucrative job which is good. So I think it's worth it even considering that you have to take student loans.
     
  23. DavidDavey12

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    I hope she'll get a great education anyway.
     
  24. Edward 96GTS

    Edward 96GTS F1 Rookie
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    im encouraging her to take a couple business/finance courses just in case she wants to open her own business.
     
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  25. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    Excellent.
    Too few creative types try to understand the business side of the creative professions.
     
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  26. VelocityTexas

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    I have a degree in graphic design, class of 1983, worked as a package designer for Coke in Atlanta, Art Director at two ad agencies in Atlanta, Art Director at three ad agencies in Dallas and then started my own agency in Dallas which I sold in 1993, it still operates. I don't know about today, but back then moving from agency to agency was as common as changing your underwear. The one thing I wish I had done, looking back, is develop a bigger business/finance slant to my knowledge base much earlier. We were dynamite at creative but knowing what was happening on the money side was always left to luck.
     
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  27. Brian Show

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    If you are in the USA, for some of the higher level agencies and in-house work a degree is the first thing on the list of job requirements. No degree, and they won’t even bother looking at your resume, let alone your portfolio. There are people here on the GDF that have been in the design field a long time, have a ton more experience than any college grad, but because they came up the old-school learn-by-doing way, they don’t even get a consideration because they do not have that little piece of paper. That’s not saying there aren’t jobs out there. We hire with or without a degree. But we also don’t do design work. We realize other’s designs.
    Think about which end of that stick you want to be on.
     
  28. VelocityTexas

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    Funny that back in the early 80's we'd see diplomas and later find out they were faked by none other...the graphic artist that was hired because they knew they had to have the magic diploma. They were good artists and knew it was the ticket to employment at certain agencies and back then nobody called the school verify as that was a pain. Tons of stories like this that in today's world would get you the death sentence. All are still funny.
     

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