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About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Careers prospects
  • Studying Design
  • Where to study?

Design is the link between creativity and innovation, transforming abstract ideas and concepts in to concrete instruments that can be used by society on a day to day basis. Everything man-made that we use has been created through a process of design merging innovation with functionality and as such design has played a pivotal role in the structure of the world today.

These days there is a wide range of design courses, qualifications and jobs available. From graphic and new media design to fashion and construction design, there is a creative specialism for all budding designers.

Is this the course for me?

Are you a creative individual? Do you enjoy creating new things? If so, then a design course may be the perfect for you.

However, in order to be successful on this particular course, you must also have an interest in culture and the history of design. As well as learning craft techniques, you will also be expected to understand historical and cultural influences on shaping the crafts industry today.

However, those wishing to pursue a course in design should also be prepared to work extraordinarily hard. Although students will be expected to attend lectures and practical workshops, most of the assessment work will be completed during student’s spare time. Students will be required to submit design portfolios and completed projects that showcase their abilities. In order to be successful in this particular course students should have a passion for the subject matter as well as self-motivated.

Careers prospects

The majority of graduates with design degrees are self-employed or work part-time producing goods to sell or working with individual clients to meet creative briefs, If this is the route you plan on taking, then it is important to comprehend the importance of different marketing strategies such as social media and the impact that this can have upon your business reputation.

There are a number of careers that are suitable for those with a degree in design although these will depend upon the course studied by the individual student. Those that study subjects such as set design may find themselves enjoying a lucrative career within the theatre or film industry whereas those studying graphic design will work for large scale companies designing websites and brand logos.

Similarly, due to the creative nature of a design course, many graduates who decide not to pursue a design-related career will find work within marketing departments, PR agencies or working for art galleries or public spaces assisting in selling works of art and educating the public.

Studying Design

As well as short courses there are also a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses available to those wishing to study a course in design. Universities will consider applications from students who are non-native speakers of English on the provision that they score a minimum of 6.0 overall on an IELTS test before the course commences.

The majority of undergraduate courses will last approximately for three years although some courses may last longer allowing students to gain a year’s worth of industry experience. Postgraduate courses may last anywhere from a year to three years and will have more of a specialised focus.

If you’re looking to study at undergraduate level, universities will expect applicants to have achieved 3 A-levels or equivalent in arts-related subjects.  If you haven’t received your grades by the time you are due to apply, then you may be given a conditional offer depending upon your predicted grades, Those wishing to study at a postgraduate level will be expected to have a 2:1 degree in a similar field.

Most of the course content will take place in a vocational learning environment. While students may be expected to attend some theory-based lectures, the majority of teaching will take place in workshops where students will learn practical craft skills. These will be assessed through the submission of independent projects which will be submitted at the end of each module.

Where to study?

Location is a key influential factor when deciding where to study and your extra-curricular activities will have an impact upon your future employability. Ideally you should apply to study at a University located in the heart of a town or city with is renowned for its thriving design industry such as London or Leeds which will also have the added benefit of allowing you to meet friends with similar interests to you and develop contacts.

Some Universities will offer modules or courses that focus on contemporary design programmes such as multimedia design or set design whereas others may specialise in more traditional subjects. It is vital that you look closely at what is on offer at each establishment and to consider which field of design you find the most interesting. You will spend at least a year studying, so it is important that you end up studying a subject that you are passionate about.

Of course fees and academic grades should also come into consideration. Many of the prestigious arts colleges expect applicants to have a minimum of 3 A-levels, or a 2:1 degree for post-graduate courses as well as a strong design portfolio if you feel your portfolio does not truly reflect your abilities, then why not take a gap year to develop your work and gain some work experience.

If you are struggling with fees, or are still applying for funding, there are a number of bursaries and scholarships available for students