Graduate School Question!

Hey there everyone,

I have been looking into grad school lately, I am currently a senior in Industrial Design. I been hearing the same advice from everyone that doing grad school with ID wont really benefit you, only if you want to become a teacher or a manager.

However, I am still thinking of doing design, but Graphic Design instead. I still want to be a industrial designer in the future, but maybe expanding my horizons with design would really help me out as well as an overall designer.

What do you guys think of this? Is it a good idea to go to grad school for Graphic Design, even though I still want to be an industrial designer?



Many industrial design jobs will allow you to do graphic design too. If that is the case, then on-the-job training is better than learning from acedemia, imo.

But if you cannot get a job where you can do graphic design and you wish to do both graphic and industrial design, then acedemia does offer the needed training.

But a post-graduate degree is not only for teaching or management. It is also for developing a new skill set that you cannot receive or are having a difficult time receiving from industry.

I would suggest taking typography and color lessons at a night class while working: you’ll be hard pressed to find an ID job after 2 years studying another major.

Graphic design is a big part of ID that seems to be overlooked a lot. A majority of the ID community have poor graphic skills, even though it’s part of our everyday tasks: composing sketches, creating client presentations, placing the logo on the front orthographic of a product.

From my personal experience, I would really immerse yourself in the world of graphic design: visit sites like ffffound and dribbble and follow good designers. I would also start making shit - doing is the best way to learn. Best thing? Redo your design portfolio: one of the toughest graphic design projects you’ll ever have to do, and you’ll never get it the way you want.

Are you a senior in an ID undergrad program? If so, work as a professional first for a few years before going to grad school.

+1 what yo says. Also, if you’re pursuing a grad degree, go after something outside design altogether. I’m not saying graphic design isn’t useful, but to me the graphic design seems more redundant to ID than the other way around. Not that ID grads necessarily have comparable graphic skills to graphics grads, but they have or should have enough of the basics to not need to spend two years and thousands of dollars developing that skill set. Personally I would pursue an MBA focused on product development, marketing, or business strategy; a master’s degree in Human Factors, Cognitive Psychology, or Anthropology if you’re more interaction or research focused; or a technical degree in tool and die making if you’re really into the nuts and bolts of part design. Any of those would complement ID very nicely, and IMO be way more useful and valuable in the long run than variations on the degree you already have. Coupled with significant work experience, of course.

Agree with the above comments.

I think working and learning by doing will better develop your craft, than engaging in a context, which focuses primarily on theory.

Grad school is very pricey and time consuming. You want to go in there armed and ready. Working for a while will give you more tools, connections and over all ability to make it a success no matter the program. You will be able to leave your grad program with a professional foundation as well as a masters degree.

Wooow thanks this definitely makes sense. And part of the reason I want to do this is because I have no loans to pay for grad school and learn more about another subject. :smiley:

Also, I am really scared I wont find an ID job after graduating. Its really tough, I had three interviews for different summer internships and I could not get them. So Iam pretty worried about finding an ID position.

Thanks for the responses, I would definitely take this into consideration.

I think you may find it difficult to get a job if you have done undergrad and grad school consecutively unless you have had multiple internships.

I agree. You have to work before deciding which branch of design you should go for. you can get profession by working on that area (interaction, marketing etc.) also. But attending a graduate program makes it easier to be hired as a marketing, interaction designer etc.
I would like to get your ideas also. After working 2 years in a global firm, I decided to go on marketing, branding area, which I interested in and broaden job opportunities for me. After researching grad programs I see that there is only a few marketing/branding programs at design schools. Many MBA or design strategy programs at design schools are not into marketing/branding (or just 1-2 lessons).
Marketing programs at business schools are OK. But ı am afraid of being away from creative areas, creative thinking.
For the future I want to get a job,maybe about branding, at a marketing dept. at a design driven firm or to establish my own branding consultancy.
What do you think? Which would be better?

I would strongly suggest looking into Computer Graphics Design. CGD focuses on interaction design, motion graphics, 3D modeling, game art and design, web and mobile UI design and visualization.

I know Rochester Institute of Technology ( has a BFA and MFA program in Computer Graphics Design. The curriculum combines knowledge of design theory, methodology and aesthetics with skills in 2D and 3D computer graphics, interactive techniques and interfaces.

A program that integrates traditional graphic design with new technology may be the best solution for you, especially with your current knowledge of 3D software used in ID.

Best Regards.

I did opposite: my undergrad degree is in graphic design, my grad degree is in ID.

If you are thinking getting graphic design skill as just a “plus” of your ID skill, as someone said above, take color and typography classes. However, if you are seriously thinking of pursuing graphic design career, go grad school for GD.

GD is not redundant to ID. You can go very far with GD. It’s a profession dealing with communication. I worked 6 years as a graphic designer before I did MID, I worked in broadcasting, and marketing & branding firms. I also did copy writing, and marketing research + interviews as well. People in ID thinks GD is redundant to ID because they tend to see only a part of GD that relates to ID or they see it as “graphics: forms in 2D”.

And as people said above, I strongly recommend you work for a few years before you go to grad school. I had classmates who came just out of undergrad, and their thesis tend to be weak; not enough life experience to have a strong vision. Unless you go two master’s degree or PHD, the next master’s degree will be the last chance for you to study as a full-time student. I also recommend you to look for schools overseas if are from the states. Just having an experience being in a different culture would make you a better thinker.

Good luck.

Thanks Athena for your response!

One of my closest friends graduated from a Graphic Design degree, and oooohh I learned so much from her.

This really did convince me to just get a job or even an internship if I cant find a job right after graduating. I was looking into relocating, I am currently living in Chicago and I want to move to California to learn from a completely different environment. Moving overseas is a little too much for now, but may be I can consider that later in life.

Thanks Guys!!