Graphic Design - A Hobby Or A Job?

February 20, 2018

Pins Won't Save The World - Sagmeister & Walsh.


This isn’t something that I’d normally post, but it’s something I’d like to start speaking about on here because it’s such a big passion of mine and that’s, Graphic Design. 


During high school I was massively into art, I did art for my GCSE’s and absolutely adored it however I couldn’t draw. I could draw still life and used to be pretty goddamn good at it, but the minute a person or a face or anything like that was mentioned I just could happily melt into the ground hide and cry because I just couldn’t do it. I had friends at the time who were doing Graphics at high school and it truly never really spoke to me because I was so in love with art, textiles and photography . I then finished high school with my highest grades being in art and textiles so I clearly knew I was doing something right. 


However... when I looked at colleges and looked into what A Levels I wanted to do, art was so out of my comfort zone, I like some method and neatness within my work and art sometimes depending on the course can be RANDOM. So I picked Graphics and Photography at A Levels. Graphics is something I’d always loved looking at, looking at type and experimenting in ways that wasn’t always with paint or pen. So it sounds ideal? right?. So I applied and started studying Graphics and I genuinely think I fell in love within the first lesson. I loved packaging, I loved branding, I love how all of that worked. And I just fell into a pit of love with it from that first day of college. 


I have always been creative, my highest grades have always been in a creative subject, I used to go to my dads cafe when I was in primary school when I had inset days at school and spend the day making things out of egg boxes, any materials he would give me. So it was quite clear I would end up how I started. 


Even though it used to be tradition when you did A Levels you would go onto university, I just didn’t want to. I had my sights set at the beginning that I would fly by, freelance and just find myself by being myself without extra education. And my I was wrong. It wasn’t till my first or second university visit when I thought to myself, hey this shits for me. 


I looked at eleven universities in total and only 5 I reasonably liked. If you are looking at universities for Graphics yourself, what I say about universities that didn’t suit me, may suit you. I looked at University of Leeds and found it was too academic for me and didn’t appear to be hands on, like I am. I’d much rather be making things than learning about the history behind things. I looked at Manchester Met and didn’t really like the whole feel of it same with Edge Hill, I loved Northumbria and the way they structured their course and it was the same with Lincoln. I looked at so many more but I won’t bore you with the massive list of them all. I got an interview at Northumbria, Lincoln and Nottingham Trent. I went to my Northumbria interview and felt like they were just there to find students and weren’t interested in the students themselves and just wanted the student not the work - if that makes sense. And they offered me a place for advertising and not Graphics after my interview (I had a lot of branding work in my portfolio) but I didn’t want to narrow my options down for my future just yet which is why I wanted to do Graphics. I went to Lincoln and I adored them and they appeared to adore me, they asked me about my work, how I created it, the story behind it and offered me an unconditional on the spot, and I was over the moon. So I cancelled my Nottingham interview because my heart was set on Lincoln. 


So there I was, heading to uni in Lincoln. I am so happy for that result and it has bettered me as a person and it’s bettered my work ethic and work by a mile. When I look back now in my second year of uni i'm incredibly happy that I did what I did. 

To the topic within the title, a hobby or a job? I of course agree that it is both. Someone could be academic and in their free time love creating things graphically and within a job you are of course doing it day in day out to get a living from it. It completely depends what you want out of doing Graphics in general. If you want to have something that you do to pass the time then doing it as a hobby is ideal however if you love the way Graphics works and you are incredibly talented at it and want to make a living of it... go for it. Whatever you have your heart set on, do it.


Do I think a degree is a must have for Graphic Design? I don't think so no. However, if you need it in the future, if you wanted to go into teaching you'd need the degree. I got told when I was in high school by my art teacher that 'You'll go into industry for 15 years then become a teacher' so a degree to me always felt like a winner even if I didn't fully need it like you do with some careers. I'll mention it here before I go on any further talking about university. When you are there and you decide that you don't like what you're doing. Don't listen to your drunk friend on a night out saying just drop out if you aren't happy. Speak to your lecturers, speak to student services, your parents and listen to your heart. You dropping out might just be a change of course to bring you the happiness you deserve at University. If you are a drop out you are not a failure, you've just found something that's not for you and sometime soon you will find something for you. But most importantly University is a large part of your life, your learning path through life and its a big cost - enjoy yourself as much as possible. 


If you enjoy posts like this speaking about Graphics, I would love to do more. 


Lots of love, Ellie x 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload