Computer Arts

Design matters: Education

We asked six top designers: “How well does a design education prepare you for the industry?”

Mate Steinforth
Director, Sehsucht Berlin

“When I started my visual communication studies I wanted to learn about exciting software, 3D and such. What I had to do was draw, learn basic typography and basic composition. I was bummed. Now I realise how valuable those lessons were – much more so than learning software, which would have been outdated when I left university. While the diploma isn’t worth anything, the time to concentrate on the basics is invaluable.”

Thiago Maia
Director, CAKE

“I personally don’t think education prepares us well for the industry, at least not in my time and where I came from [São Paulo, Brazil]. I think in Europe it’s a lot better, but I still believe you learn more within an everyday job. It’s very important to be around other designers in a ‘working’ environment. There’s a lot to change in universities in how well they prepare people for work. I think the time we spend in university is the time where we learn about ourselves.”

Tara McLaughlin
Illustrator

“I was definitely provided with the skills to create, critique and pitch my own work. But when it came to the business side of things, I found myself learning as I went along.”
 

Katie Scott
Illustrator

“It’s surprising how some big jobs follow the structure of a school project: verbal briefings, interim crits and final presentations. I wish they prepared you more for the boring side – costing your work, invoicing, taxes. I felt very unprepared once out of college.”

Grzegorz Laszuk
Graphic designer

“Officially, I’m a lawyer. It seems that studying the Habeas Corpus Act for over five years and spending a month in a court can awaken a desire to create with letters something more than just describing murders and divorces. Don’t follow my way!”

Alex Donne-Johnson
Motion designer

“Real-world experience is invaluable, and for me this came from freelancing all through university: I learnt about project management and dealing with clients. But it depends how forward-thinking your system is.”

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