Becoming a Graphic/Web Designer without formal degree?

I am extremely interested in becoming a Web/Graphic Designer and have been looking at certificate programs for a structured program of learning. I have twenty-five years experience as a professional photographer, and a good deal of that experience was being an in-house corporate photographer for corporation communications. Freelance work has included other catagories such as: photojournalistic, portrait, fashion, editorial, still life, fine art, etc. I also have a two year associate degree from a top photographic school. I have a writing background, as I was always good in art growing up and later on English. I have had music reviews published and two years ago, I published my first novel which has received good reviews. So, I am an accomplished photographer and writer. I also have excelled in recent years in sales. My challenge will be that I am an older, but very youthful, and now I want to learn the field of Web/Graphic Design. I also want to mention that two jobs ago, I designed brochures for a drum company and they are still using these brochures ten years later. I am computer saavy and know my way around some basics of design and design programs. I am not someone fresh out of school, but an experienced, mature, creative professional who now wants to pour all his interest and passion into this new discipline and profession. I have looked at some online programs like and a few others, but...One, I could do a program for about a year if it would make sense for me to invest the time. Two, I don't think I can swing any such online program financially, (and I would have to learn online exclusively due to my job hours restraints). I am a gifted photographer and I have proven to be gifted in writing. I have no doubt that with my artistic intuition, sense of design, understanding and abiltiy of conceptual art, would also transfer into the discipline of Web/Graphic Design. However, reality on what it is in the real world today for hiring aspiring designers and the competition among applicants...What do you think my chances are in getting the training and then landing a job? Also, what other programs of study or training methods could you recommend if I cannot finance a formal graphic/web design certificate program of study? I would think my experience as a creative visual professional would provide a great foundation. What do you think?

Thank you for whatever you can recommend.



5 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Best Answer

    As someone wise mentioned before, it isn't the education but the connections you make. Photography and graphic design share similar design theory, so I reckon you won't learn much in school. Of course, you'll need to learn graphics programs (i.e. Corel, Adobe), but you could do that on your own time.

    If you have any contacts from your profession as photographer, who also happen to be connected to the graphics industry, warm up to them and have them do some networking for you. And start doing a portfolio of your work.

  • Lisa
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    You ask a lot of really good questions. I wish the internet was around before I started college. I would of asked the same questions. Here are my answers: Should I bother to make the effort to get into the graphic design field without a degree? Yes, but you should work on a degree at the same time. You can make a portfolio to show potential clients and also earn a degree. Be ambitious and do both. Do you agree that it is more important to develop a strong portfolio than to have an impressive resume and college education background? I see your logic and it is possible but here is the difference. If you go to college you will learn from many different teachers and have a degree that shows you can make a commitment and follow through. On the other hand if you don't go to college you will basically teach yourself. A college education will give you more knowledge from different view points. You will also have a degree. Society respects college degrees. It is just the way it is. I do not think it will change. Yes, there are exceptions to everything but you can't go wrong if you go to college and apply yourself. Do employers REALLY care more about talent than credentials? Will they care that my teacher wrote in a recent recommendation letter for me that "the world of visual design needs more people like her"? Will they care that I'm a praised student or will they just want someone who went to college? Credentials help. A college education is a good thing. You can use common sense in a lot of things. What if you were hiring for a project and 2 people applied. One went to Penn State and had a great portfolio and the other one was self taught and had a great portfolio. You would most likely choose Penn State with a great portfolio. There is a lot of competition out there and you need to stay marketable and competitive. You also need to put yourself in real world situations. Here is why college is good. Let's say Company XYZ needs a new print and online campaign for their new car that is coming out and they want to reach a certain age group. Let's also say that you did a project like this in college. You would already have a background in it. These are the types of things that you work on in college. Projects based on real world situations. Let's say you taught yourself, what would you say? Is an employer likely to hire a person just recently out of high school? Yes, if there portfolio is really good and they see potential. What kind of difference will it make if I work an apprenticeship at a design firm? Do they even tend to hire apprentices as actual workers eventually? I wouldn't use the word apprentice. I would say intern. Yes, design firms hire interns. Apprentice sounds outdated or it would be better used for different types of work.

  • 7 years ago

    Yes you can be a professional artist without formal education like most other artist I know here but you have to compete with that that have training. Employer would usually overlook education if the artist has immense experience and had served clients that is equally those of the present client. Try becoming an apprentice in a popular company. A popular company can be a good addition to your resume. Then improve your experience from their.Have a very nice collection of your work in your portfolio to wow future employers. Get influence by existing advertisements. Notice the latest in design.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    DSLR photography doesn't need to be over-complicated. This online photography course has been developed for beginners - intermediate levels and will teach you how to make the best use of your DSLR camera.

    Learning how to confidently use your DSLR will help you get full value out of this awesome camera you have already paid for!

    This course has been developed after seeing many potential photographers give up far too soon, wasting good money they have spent on the purchase of their DSLR camera.

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  • ron
    Lv 4
    3 years ago


    Source(s): Develop Your Photography Skills
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