How to become a graphic designer without going to university

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Although going to university can help you pursue the creative career of your dreams, setting you up with the right set of skills and qualifications, it’s not for everyone. You can still become a graphic designer without going down the usual degree route.

With a good dose of diligence and patience, and a world of information at your fingertips (online tutorials, short courses, classic books, training videos, boot camps), you can definitely guide yourself into the profession.

But it’s not easy to go down the self-taught route, as designer Stephen Grace explains. If you need a little reassurance that you’re on the right track, you could consider a part-time or full-time course at one of our Shillington campuses. Yes, it’s an investment – but it’s certainly more affordable and less time-consuming than a four-year degree course. You can learn graphic design with us nine months part-time or three months full-time. But enough about us – here’s how to get started in graphic design without going to university.

Understand the fundamental basics of graphic design

You need a solid foundation in graphic design history, theory and practical application if you’re going to make it as a graphic designer. This superb guide by Tuts+ is a must-read and should be your first port of call.

Next, check out this excellent class, Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory & Application by Richard Mehl, who has taught two-dimensional design, colour theory and typography at the School of Visual Arts for over 12 years. It’s just one of many brilliant classes on Creative Live that will teach you the fundamentals of the craft.

If you’re pushed for time or want to learn “on the go”, then take a look at these best creative podcasts that we’ve put together.

Buy the right books and read them cover to cover

There are so many wonderful books on the subject of graphic design that it’s difficult to select a top six. However, the following titles come highly recommended and provide a decent overview to teach you graphic design.

For further inspiration, check out these 50 essential design books, one we put together earlier for Creative Boom. Or you can visit Shillington’s own Book Club with lots of recommended books added each month.

1. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann

From a professional for professionals, here is the definitive word on using grid systems in graphic design. Although Josef Muller-Brockman first presented hi-interpretation of grid in 1961, his book – Grid Systems in Graphic Design – is still useful today for anyone working in the latest computer-assisted design.

With examples on how to work correctly at a conceptual level and exact instructions for using all of the systems (8 to 32 fields), this guidebook provides a crystal-clear framework for problem-solving.

Priced at £25.97 | Buy the Book

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