Is formal education/qualification necessary?


I would like to ask the designers already working in the field, that- Is a formal qualification, like some college degree, essential in the design field (graphic), if you are looking forward to work with the Design firms?
Wouldn’t the natural artistic/design instinct suffice alone?


Uh, no.

Do you know how to use the industry standard computer tools? Do you have a basic understanding of the history if 20th century graphic design?

Yes, I do. Please view my work. [Follow the www link]

You’re an Indian; I’m just wondering what’s up with the words “reception” and “order” written in Russian at the bottom…that don’t lead anywhere?

But then still why I used those words:
‘reception’ …because right above it is the main nav.
‘order’ …because the design is geometrically ordered.
Anyways, could post this to me in pm, as its irrelevant to the topic. :wink:

I apologize for being irrelevant. I thought it’s a part of designing to decide what elements go into your final design…and don’t put all sorts of random stuff all over the place. That I would say is the main problem in my opinion with your work, but I’m not a graphic designer and I base my judgments only on my personal preferences…so it’s not objective.

That Cyrillic…you‘ll have to change it. The “reception” word that you used can be barely used in that context, but a native speaker would never do that, and you totally got messed up with the “order” the word that you used for it has only 2 primary meanings - an order to kill someone, or an order at a restaurant…want to change that before another Russian looks at your portfolio and goes :”Wtf what do I order from him?”

I actually consulted with some Russian friends before using those words… and clarified that “zakaz” meant order as in balance, and not as ordering someone. And yeah, you’re correct about “priem” …its used like one would say “do you copy?” while communicating via wireless.
But anyways, thanks!

confused me too. overall design too busy imo. is the goal to look cool. or to be both cool and efficient? a trained GD might go for both. talented. but so are alot of GDers. w/out the degree you’ll always be second best compared to similar talent. but sounds like you have your mind made up about school anyways…

I third the confusing layout. GD isn’t only about aesthetics - it has to make sense and be easy to use/understand. There is no substitute for formal training when it comes to UI design - you have to have a basic understanding of Human Factors.

How Russian are your Russian friends? They should be embarrassed not to know their supposedly native language. Unless they have misunderstood you.

Anyway, I would get rid of it…’cause it doesn’t look like it has any relevance to your design work. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t add to your work, it is just confusing…it might mislead people that you speak Russian, or something…for a second I thought, wow that’s cool someone in India took a pain to learn Russian…but no, to my disappointment, it was you just trying to be cool.

We take a great pride in our language, your misusage of it offends me somewhat. I’m serious.

my main problem wasnt where the categories were, but where to click to go to them. The russian words really dont add much to your composition (and now that they dont mean anything relevant to your design i would scrap them).

i think the overall layout is interesting, certainly different. The long loading times and having to wait for every little section to load was bothersome.

I thank you all for your messages!
Sorry, but… why are you all commenting on my work? That was not what I started this discussion for. My question was about the significance of formal education in the field of graphic-design. I referred ‘nydesignguy’ to my website because he asked whether I had the basic understanding of “industry standard computer tools”.

About my site:
I didn’t design it giving the highest priority to the ‘user’. I just wanted to experiment by letting my mind free. If any of you looked at the work in the portfolio, it isn’t at all like this site. I accept that I must have not put up the link to it on my profile, (and I shall remove it).
So I would humbly request the users to please not comment on my work.

I would just request you to post your views on the Subject of this thread-
(The first message I posted.)

I thank ykh and nydesignguy for giving their opinions related to the topic.

I know about Architects turning over to Graphic-Design as the main stream after completing their B.Arch. and not finding the dream projects. A day before starting this thread, I read about a guy who did his engineering in Mechanical science, and now is working as a graphic-designer.
I have been going through the job-ad’s for designers who ask for “Any Graduates” for the post of Graphic-Designer, (and yes, “preferably B.A. in Graphic Design”).
Do they take it for granted that the “basic understanding of Human Factors” required for “UI design” is taught in any graduation course? So ultimately, it seems to me that its just an official requirement in a company/design-firm, that anyone they’d employ, should atleast be a graduate (be it any stream). But this is how I have found out from my experience after browsing the job-ad’s in the design field, and hearing the general talk from the people around. (I might state it here that I am in India, and this scenario I’ve particulary noticed in the Indian community.)

So I wanted to know about this from the Designers there who are already working in this field and have ample experience. And I hoped it would bring up opinions from people of different countries.


It’s a shame that it has come to this, but unfortunately, a degree is necessary to be successful in the design field. It’s a ticket to the “big-leagues” and unless you have one, you’re out of luck. That’s certainly not to say that can’t get a job as a graphic designer, but you’ll always be passed over by designers with degrees. Our society sees a degree as a badge of merit, and pay and reward accordingly.

For some reason, your site got hung up when I tried looking at it, but the Flash work was impressive even during the opening scene. You know your stuff, but without formal education, you’re kinda screwed to put it lightly.

I know that graphic designers have AIGA and industrial designers have IDSA, but we have no certification requirements. It’s one of many good reasons why our salaries and respect is not that great. Any nimrod computer geek can get good with Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop. Computers have made it easy for people to consider themselves graphic artsists because it does much of the work and masks mistakes. It’s understanding WHY things work that promotes creativity, and that’s what you get with formal education.

You’re talented. Don’t waste it. To see your fullest potential, go to school and get a degree in graphic or UI design.

Best wishes to you.

a kick-ass portfolio, a great understanding of marketing and advertising, trends, knowledge of standard programs, sketching skills makes for a good foundation.

i don’t have a design degree, but i do have a multimedia degree. i originally started out as an animator, then fell in love with toy design and graphic design. i’ve been working in the field since.

all you need is someone willing to give you a chance and learn as much from it. a formal education may be good too, but i think enthusiasm and a desire to succeed in the field can make you an attractive candidate.

i’ve been a designer for 8 years. a lot of times, half of what they look for is the portfolio, half is your ability to get along with the team. that, and a desire to learn and do a good job.

good luck with whatever you decide to do. and as cliched as it sounds, you’ll succeed as long as you have that intense desire to get to where you want to be and work hard towards it.

Funny you bring this topic up. I have never been asked to pull out mt diploma on a interview. I neve have really been asked about the school I went to. But like people that have responded before I feel they just “want” to know that you graduated from college with a graphic design degree. Mostly inpart a college degree answears some basic questions like:

  1. I worked under a supervision of a teacher.
  2. I I graduated than I must have turn in my assignments on time which can be equivelant to deadlines in the real world.
  3. You studied graphic design elements and conceptually thinking.
  4. You might have worked on be around other “designers” which will be likely how it is in the real world.

The list can go on forever. In my opinion you can get a job and even be successful. BUT in an interview when ALL THINGS ARE EQUAL against you an your competition having a degree might just be the deciding factor. Yet if school not an option and your have the talent AND THE WILLING TO BE A STUDENT of the game you will make it,

Just speculating but could it be your lack of formal training that is causing people to comment on your work? I have not seen what you posted but at one point, it seems you did offer the link to one or two people in order to answer questions they had. If they have comments on your work…and negative ones at that then it could be that your work in their opinion needs improvement. But then again…they are just opinions.

Regarding your original question about a degree in your field of interest, I am sure it is not 100% necessary but I would recommend you find an area of study you are interested in and pursue that. Only a chosen few can make it without any formal training…ie no degree. A degree says a lot of things other than " I have one". In my opinion, at the end of the day, education is the great equalizer. No matter where you come from, if you have a good education, you are as good as the next guy. With that said…talent will always be the great divide. I say, youre better off having both.


Thanks for your posts ‘Guest’, and ‘blade’.

It was nice to see some replies on this thread that I started quite a while back.

Well, at this moment, I’m not that worried about not having a degree in design as I was when I posted my first message in this thread.

Okay, you are right. ‘Guest’, I understand that having a degree will certainly help. (Why not?). But there had been reasons why I couldn’t get one. (And, sorry, but I don’t feel like telling them here.)

Lets see how it goes. If possible in future, I may get some diploma.

Okay, thanks again. (I’m not writing from home… but from a public internet access, and therefore in hurry. I may write more when internet is available at home.)

Thanks a lot! Happy Designing! :slight_smile:

Hey man you mentioned a couple of things like do you need a degree to work as a designer, well if you shit hot enough and you have enough professional contacts no.

The second thing you mentioned about getting out of india, some thing i can relate with, is you absolutely need a degree, if you have a ba already what would even help you more is to do an MA in communication design, because with out it, ul have a difficult tiime with immigration, to prove your self as a supremely skilled worker, that would be an asset to the country.

So either way you best of doing it, a friend of my was successful freelancer, after 3 years he drooped it when to school, and now after graduating this year, his got a cick ass placement at philips in idenhoven, some thing would be extremely difficult with out any schooling.

Hello ‘v_khokhlov’ !

Thanks for the post!

You are perfectly right about the immigration part. And that’s one thing that had been disturbing me the most. And you’re also very right about getting hired full-time by the renowned organisations. Its a kind of issue of reputation or even a policy of their company that each employee working in their firm atleast be a college graduate (irrespective of his talents).

Well, you covered all the points just perfectly.