New to the field

I am new to the field and have some questions about how to break in to design. My background is in psychology, in which I have a master’s, and do not really have that much experience in design. Although I have done some basic drawing, I will be taking some classes at Pratt so I can develop a proper portfolio.
My question is: How would one go about getting an entry-level or such job in design?

Thank you,


see a psychiatrist?

sorry. couldnt resist.

It’s a difficult question to answer because there is no one way to go about it.

Design, as you will find, is a lot more than the skill of drawing, though visual communication is very central. Your psyc background could really dimentionalize you design work. I would also highly recomend investing in som Art history, Design History, Architectural History, Form Theory, Color Theory, and 3d Design courses… so pretty much a BFA. Without this knowledge you will be at a disadvantage when working with other designers or on your own.

Some degree programs have co-op programs (University of Cinncinatti) which prod students into the work force, but often times the transition takes time.

Also an entry level design job pays crap so I hope you have a good intrest rate on those master’s degree student loans.

I guess, building the folio is the first step on the path though. Get a web folio up, and see how it goes my friend. A lot of posters have links to there work below their posts (myself included) some good benchmarking always helps me out.

Your psych degree will definitely help assuming you put focus on user-centered design and not styling. Interaction Design in particular is in need of cog-science skills.

IIT Institute of Design has a masters program tailored specifically for non-designers. Carnegie Mellon is also excellent.

Thanks for your suggestions.

I’m expecting an entry-level design job to pay crap, so I guess this is the proverbial “don’t quit your day job”. However, as I am not currently working how would you suggest one support themselves while in school?

What exactly is meant by user-centered design, interaction design, ethnography?




Design school is extremely intense, and extremely expensive, so if you work some crap job while you’re going to school you’re ripping yourself off in the long run. Place a bet on your own future success!

i went back like you. i was too uninformed to apply for loans first year thinking the load i’d saved exempted me. burned through it so fast head was spinning. after that i got scholarships, loans, and did work-study. internships that pay too. did short stint working full time but only for one semester. killer job. killer hours. cg is right. stay away from work if possible.

learn to live cheap. get smart on the loan system. prep yourself so you have better chance with scholarships. dont believe you cant get help. learn to play credit card shuffle. find roommates. etc etc. you want it bad enough you’ll manage.

actually the psyc degree will come in handy while doing the aesthetic work (styling as some still call it) as well.

symantics is a huge part of design. as functional componentry becomes ever smaller, the function of the form to tell people what this thing is, how it works, and what it does, becomes ever more important. The iPod looks easy to use, simple, and it is, the rio looks like a hightech piece of garbage you will never be able to figure out…and it is.

The function of form should not be dismissed as styling, afterall, all the ergonomics in the world won’t matter if people are not compelled to purchase the item. By creating objects that allow people relate to and integrate with, we reduce consumerism and waste. Stress the value of materials. This is probably the reason you would get you grandfathers pocket watch fixed, but throw out your timex. We used to have it figured out as a society, but so many people told us that material things can’t make us happy that we started to believe it. Now we wonder why we live in a world of disposable crap.

By a book for the ergonomics, but the value of appropriate aesthetics is literally imeasuable.

Sorry for the tangent, loans and workstudy. Stay away from fulltime employment to maximize your studies for sure.

well im new 2 in this field. juz about 2 mth w/o any drawing skills. so far i can survive. right this field eats up a lot of money. i don’t deny that coz almost all my pocketmoney goes to the course…

Your background with a Master’s Degree in Psychology could be very valuable in design research, namely as a focus group observer. This is more in the design marketing sector. As yo said there is no one way to go about it. With that kind of degree in psyc, you could go for an MBA in Marketing and go for a shot at design marketing. I see this as a good alternative to starting over for a BFA or BS in Design, you’re going to want to learn the design process, not just the skills. Marketing does play a role in the design process, however it’s much less hands on. Still, if you’re in marketing, AND can draw, it helps out the designers :slight_smile:.

Wow, you really have a lot to learn. If you think ID is all about creating cool looking products, you are greatly mistaken.

You will also need to learn the propoerties, and charectoristics of many matterials, and manufacturing processes. When and how to use them, and how you can push them in ways engineers tell you can not be done, and when to listen to the engineers and redesign your product. All while meeting the extreamly low tooling and piece price the client is insisting on.

Many of our projects start with a Focus Group lead by our research coordinator, an individual with a Master in psychology as well as a MBA with a mrketing focus. We use him to get to the real problems, issues, needs, desires, and ideals of the taget consumer. Or even to locate and assign a target user for the product.

Personally I feel you could benifit many design teams, but first you will need to learn the process of design, steps needed to develop and market a product, and if you want a hands on part of the actual design, master the skills better than most in your class.