You may not know this about me, but I went to a four-year college and graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. However, these days, a graphic designer career does not necessarily require a college degree. Many companies hire creatives based on their portfolio or skills alone. But back when I was in school, there weren’t online learning platforms or YouTube videos from which to teach yourself about graphic design. Honestly, even if online resources had existed, I don’t know if I would have had the discipline or the accountability to learn it on my own. I wouldn’t have even known where to start.
You see, in college, I didn’t actually begin to use design software until I was well into my third or fourth semester. First, they taught us about history, design principles, and color theory. We learned about composition, perspective, and concept development. Eventually, we started designing—but not on computers. We created three-dimensional structures from cardboard, made posters with paper cutouts, and explored artistic and technical drawing techniques. Once that was mastered, we finally transitioned into learning design programs.
Nowadays, there are many excellent graphic designers that are self-taught, yet I still feel good about my own path. Learning the fundamentals in a traditional school setting created a solid base for my style and workflow. And while I now take online courses to keep my skills up-to-date, I sometimes miss the classroom experience. What about you? Does your job require you to have a degree? Or are you self-taught?