Degrees and Switching Career Advice Please

Hi Guys
This is my first time here and I hope this is the right place to post this question. I need some advice about switching careers… A little background info about me, I got my BFA in Media Arts from Pratt Institute and I have been working as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator in the fashion industry ever since. I worked briefly as a footwear designer and since then I knew ID was what I really was passionate about. I want to end up designing Athletic footwear or Toys. My question is what in your opinion should my next step be, a Masters in ID? or should I take a few core classes? or start from scratch with a BFA?(which is my least favorite choice), should I be looking for internships or entry level positions?, do companies hire ID designers with other design degrees? I think if I knew now what I knew then I would have most certainly majored in ID at Pratt ,which I notice is one of the few schools in NYC that offer BFA and MFA degrees. Since I am alumni I can audit classes for pretty cheap( last I checked it was $200) but they wouldn’t be for credit or a degree. I tried to talk to a career counselor but scheduling an appointment is very complicated, so any advice is very appreciated. Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

No matter what you decide to do, keep updating and improving your portfolio on a constant basis. The better your book looks, the more opportunities will come your way. This is a competitive field, but the great equalizer and qualifier is your portfolio and what it demonstrates about you as a designer.

In this situation, my advice would be to try to slowly change oaths instead of going bak to school full time. If you have the opportunity to design some footwear at work, soak that up. Emerse yourself in the world of upper pattern files, tooling blue prints, and construction methods. Ask as many questions as possible. Do ad much “extra” work in this area and show it to the people that make footwear decisions at your company. Look into some night classes or audit some classes at Pratt… Seems like you are close to the world you want to be in now, stay close and dive deeper.

Thanks guys. Its so good to know that I don’t have to completely start over.

As has been said, portfolio and skills mean a lot more than degrees, esp. in the fields you mention. I know a lot of footwear designers at large and small brands that have backgrounds in art, ID, graphics, fashion, you name it.

Best would be to post up your portfolio here so we could better direct where your strengths and weaknesses are. You might not need to back to school at all, and just brush up on some technical or skills or find the right “in” at a place that can take you where you want to go.


I do have a portfolio on Coroflot Sandra Gaddis, Designer/Illustrator in New York, NY I have also attached a few sneaker designs that I completed working at a footwear company. I am not currently working at the company anymore, now I am freelancing working on anything from apparel graphics to scrapbook prints. Thanks again for all the comments and input I really appreciate it.