What's your take on a 2nd degree in Graphic Design?

Hi everyone,

So I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on from my current job which I’ve been employeed at for 2 years since my graduation. I just feel like it’s best that I move on and focus on finding a better opportunity that utilizes my skills better and offers more opportunity for advancement in the long run.

My gut feeling is that I need to spend as much time as possible AGRESSIVELY searching for a new job, and that includes doing some big mailing campaigns, adding to my portfolio, creating a new website for myself, and doing some more training in software. All of this leads me to believe that it’s something I can’t accomplish in a short enough time frame when I work full time and come home exhausted/stressed out from a normal day of 9-5 work. I want to do this right this time, and make sure that the outcome is a position I’m truely happy with.

I’m in the planning stages of outright leaving my current position and going to school half time, for Graphic Design. I’ve been gaining quite a bit of “hands on” experience at work in Graphic Design, and I’ve decided that it would benefit me to learn more in that field to diversify my skill set, and make myself more marketable for a job in a consultant firm, or as a freelancer. By going half-time, I can “support myself” for the time being on student loans, and I can focus my new found “spare time”, on improving my portfolio as I described and doing a more extensive job search.

My main goal is to find a job for a consultant firm. If I further develop my skills in Graphic Design, then I bring to the table at the very least the ability to do any promotional materials, formatting for presentations, etc. I could also allow them to offer another service if they feel confident enough in that realm. Additionally, I’d like to take a crack at freelancing, and if I can do Graphic Design just to pay some bills, why not? It would get the ball rolling for me in building a client base, and maybe even get my foot in the door to some design firms that could use the graphic work and have me do product work later.

My concern is, I don’t want someone to look at my resume, and perceive a 2nd degree (most likely an associate) in Graphic Design as a change in my career direction. I’m afraid that someone is going to look at that and think “So he didn’t think he could hack it in Industrial Design”. I’m not “bailing out” on Industrial Design, it IS my true passion, it’s just that I’ve learned enough in the realm of Graphic Design to believe that it is a 2nd marketable skill that I can use to my benefit.

When that “Why are you taking Graphic Design classes?” question comes up in interviews, I’m going to approach it from this perspective:

“I do not want to change my career focus, and I feel that my main objective is still Industrial Design. I feel that the hands on experience I’ve gained in Graphic Design has made it clear to me that I have a talent for it, and I feel that it would be an asset to me because it would give me an additional marketable skill that I can use to my benefit. I feel that it would give me greater value to my employer as well, because I would able to handle work that would generally be farmed out to a Graphic Designer.”

So what’s your snap judgment?

Any feedback on this? I’m moving forward with it soon, just curious what people’s impressions are.

I’ve learned enough in the realm of Graphic Design to believe that it is a 2nd marketable skill that I can use to my benefit.

Absolutely no arguement, whatsoever. There appear to be a helluva lot more ‘graphics’ jobs than ID jobs.

That said, throwing away, essentially, a solid ID job may not be wise. I would argue that you are not “supporting yourself” with student loans. True, you will have beans and jeans, but it will be expensive come payback time, especially if you are trying to get set up in your own practice. Business overhead is hard enough to come by (for me anyway) without having a monthly “student loan payment” hanging over your head.

I’m afraid that someone is going to look at that and think “So he didn’t think he could hack it in Industrial Design”.

If you have a reasonably strong portfolio I don’t think this is a problem; most designers today cover a lot more than one base.

So, my snap judgement? Bite the proverbial bullet and get your graphics training via night classes, seminars, CD’s or however. Pay as ya go, as it were. OJT is a great way to pick up valuable skills, while maintaining your cash flow. See if your current employer would be willing to fund your training.

I dunno.

From my perspective I cant see the value in an additional graphic design degree education.

I believe that graphics design, perhaps even more so than ID is a design quality that you either have or dont. sure you can learn some theory about typography, layout, etc., but if you true passion (and skill) is ID then going into graphic design wont get you anywhere.

Sure, there are lots of opportunities to do logos and banner ads for small companies, but I believe if you are truly skilled at graphics design, setting aside your ID education, then you would be doing it, not learning about.

You may want to do a graphic education for fun. and more power to you. but if you are looking to kick start a new career, i would say dont bother.

just my 0.02$ worth.