Am I too old to start an I.D. degree program?

Ive been interested in I.D. for a number of years now, but have not taken any college or university courses on the subject. Im 25 now and have been out of school for a good while. The course im looking into starts next September, so when i start i’ll be 26. The course is 4 years. So when I graduate i’ll be 30. I dont know the industry too well, but do companies generally hire people at this age who are fresh out of school. Or are they looking for younger talent? I know that 30 isnt by any means old. But I just want to know what i can expect coming out of school at that age, and most likely competing with younger blood. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to Core77
age’s not a problem, search around here and you’ll find there are plenty of others in the same boat. what matters is passion for design, a grasp of where you want to go and the commitment to get there.

Tell us a bit about yourself, what about ID intersests you, what sort of things would you be interested in learning and at what schools, and where you see yourself after school.

Hey Hydra,
I’m in a similar sort of position, I completed a Bachelors in a non design field, went back to school and will be heading on 27 by the time I graduate in 2013. At this point I don’t regret doing it, and it’s really what you make of the situation. Yes I am doing another undergrad degree, but my personal mindset is that I’m in a 5 year graduate program. I’ve done all the partying, all the college life stuff, I got my fill on that and now I’m ready to really put in work. I’m actually glad it worked out this way. I think, personally, had I gone straight into ID from High School I would have graduated with a lot of regrets. I think your experience will give you a perspective that some of your peers will not have and you can leverage that to your advantage.

Will you be older than most of your peers, yes, but will an employer pass over your work when they realize that you’re 30, no. And if they do I doubt you’d want to work for them anyways. The nice thing about ID is that its as much about who you know (being networked) as what you can do/have done (as evident through your portfolio).

If you graduate at 30 and are on a career path you are passionate and can see yourself growing into then you’ll be ahead of the curve. When you’re 80 and reflecting on your life I doubt you’ll look back and regret being 30 when you got your first ID job.

Good luck

Only if you think you’re too old.


FWIW I started on my ID degree at 24. I did feel older, but I sure didn’t feel old. I felt smart, and much more life-experienced.

Thanks for all of the advice guys. Ive always had a passion for design and i dont see myself in any other profession than this one. Ive been working since the age of 13 so I know what the world is like, and im a pretty mature person if i do say so myself. For the past 6 years I have been working fulltime jobs just trying to make money and pay bills, and i feel that i need something more fulfilling in my life. Ive been putting off school because of my own doubts and fear. I know deep down that if I dont do this that i will regret it in the long run. Sometimes its easier to find excuses not to do things, and I know thats not the right mind set. I lack the support of my family and friends because they dont exactly know what I.D. is and why I want to go to school for it. These forums are just what i need to kick me in the right path. Like I said the course I want to take is a bachelors degree (Humber, in Ontario), and it starts next September. That gives me almost a full year. Is there anything i should know about design school? You know something to give me a heads up. Thanks again for all of the advice!

Your never too old, but remember you pay is in relation to your experience level, not your age, so you might expect to earn a similar salary to a fresh grad. In time your other life experiences might help accelerate your career, but at first you will most likely be with the graduating pack.

I started an ID course (part time) at age 34, I’m now 39, still studying (and working full-time, with a supportive wife and two little girls, and a mortgage). It’s hard, especially when you get home from work at 6, spend the next 2 hours wrangling kids, then have to study for a few hours.

Having work experience (dealing with work collegues, management, deadlines, managing expectations) means you will hit the ground running more than a recent graduate who has never worked in a professional capacity.

Don’t worry about your age, the biggest difference between the students I study with, regardless of age, is enthusiasm for the work.

The kids I study with are generally great, and I constantly am amazed at the quality of work they do- it is an advantage to see the competition. However I am the old man in the class (anything before 1990 may as well be 1890) so don’t expect to be Thornton Melon.

I once worked for an older industrial designer (He was in his 60s) who told me he started studying ID in his 30’s. He said he actually climbed the ladder at work quicker because people assumed he was experienced. So he felt his age was actually an advantage for him.

Thanks guys, its comforting to hear that there are other people out there in the same situation. And that its probably not as big as an issue as I thought it was. Its actually really encouraging to hear that its not too late to take on this amazing profession. Does anybody know what the general age is of the students that graduate from an I.D. degree program is?

That probably varies by University. Just depends. In my class we had people who were from 22-45 at graduation time. I graduated at 29.


I’m a 25 yo, 2nd year medical student… desperately searching for an elegant, simple way to transition into ID – my passion. I have this same question, and many others, nagging at me, but I’m determined to do what is best for me.

Thank you to everyone who has responded and best of luck to you.


I started at Art Center when I was 27. I graduated at 29 with honors and am now a staff designer at Vans/Pro-tec. It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

I started when I was 29, graduated 33. There were plenty of mid 20’s classmates (probably the average age group IMO), many fresh out of high school kids, and some 30’s people too. It seemed like the mid 20’s and older classmates (a generalization, definitely not always the case) took things more seriously (especially in the beginning), but towards the end the younger students seem to have matured as well.

Wow those are alot of great experiences. I think this decision to start a degree program at an older age is better late than never. I guess all that really matters is how serious you want to make it in this field, not your age. Maturity is the key here. With further thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I had taken this course when i had just graduated from high school, I would have most likely screwed it up big time.

Hydra, I’ve been at ID for a while. You’ll find when you start working in the design field, your past experiences doing other things (i.e. non-design work, people/object observations, personal interests, hobbies, etc…) help provide substance to your designing and will work in your favor when finding the right design-employer match. Best of luck!

Appreciate the replies all. This has been running through my mind of late as well.

Thanks for your thread, Hydra, and everyone who replied… . I have the same question and doubts too, and even if I apply now and get accepted, I will start at age 28. The age certainly plagues my mind, but it gives courage to see that other people do it, and done it. As much as I’d like to get away from family in New York, I think it’s wiser rent-wise and resource-wise if I can get in Pratt and stay living home, even if Art Center accepts me. But anyway, thanks for this thread, and thanks for this whole place. It helps clear my mind a lot.

I’m starting my ID career in September, when I begin a MSc in virtual ID in the UK. I’m 37 and have my fourth child on the way, so i’m quite nervousabout the whole thing. That said, i know that I can put both my work and life experiences directly into the field of ID i’m looking at, so this gives me a distinct advantage over some younger graduates. Hopefully.

Go for it! or think about what might have been for ever.

i am new in the forum and i am intresting for industrial design i am 34 years old is it late to start? and how to start?

i really like the industrial design