Should you study Graphic Design in a conventional School or Self-study?

Do you need to go to design school? Or Should you Self study?

This is probably the number one question that people ask me as a graphic designer but I didn’t go to a conventional design school, I mean I did not learn design in a four wall institution.

I owe all my design professionalism to self-study, I am a proud self-made graphic designer.

My livelihood and my living are all placed in design, whether it is logo design, hand lettering or talking about logo design in seminars and Blogs or creating courses for you to check out. All the money I make is from graphic design and I love doing it.

It’s a massive passion of mine but I haven’t always been good at it and ever always wanted to be a logo designer, but I didn’t even go to school to be a logo designer. So how does that work.

I’ve never been to design school and I get this question a lot of the time on how I become a designer without even going to design school.

Many ask that should I go to design school or should I just be freelance and just not even bother and take my chances out there in the real world?

I’ve been reading a book lately and it’s a really cool book, it’s errand rat blend, the author outlined pretty much everything about his journey in design, how you go to design school and what he thinks about it to everything else and it really opened up my eyes to understanding what design school is all about.

It opened up my eyes to the reality of design in this modern day and age whether we need to go or we don’t need to go.

It’s evident as to a lot of stuff to do with an outer experience of graphic design rather than just my personal experience, so I think what is only fair to do is to actually lay this down as a pro and cons of design school.

Pros and Cons of going to study design in School and vice-versa

Whether you should actually go, so here are some pros to go into design school.

1. Professional learning
The first one would be that you get to learn the art of designs from experts or people who actually know what to talk about with design.

I mean people who can teach you the theory behind design and everything, including all the boring and fun stuff in there.

Con: The con to that is you may not have any experience in the design world when you come out of the college or university or school, so that means that when an employer asks you where you work, what do you do? what is your speciality in design? What niche are you a part of ?
What do you enjoy doing the most?

Then you’re not going to have much of a say about that, you’re not going to be able to tell them what you’re good at or what you’ve done personally, you can only show them that you know what you’re kind of talking about even though you’ve had no experience.

You’ve been taught the theory and some of the practicalities of design.

2. The next pros will go to design school and would be that you would make friends, also you get the university experience.

You won’t have to grow up too quick which is what people are scared of, I think people just get to grow up and also you have that layer of security for a while knowing that you’ll get a degree, knowing that you’ll get this NVQ and design or whatever qualification you’ll get you have this layer of security.

The con to that is that you’re starting later than some other designers which means that you may be quite far behind even after you’ve finished university, unless you do size project at university which will just fill up all your free time.

There’s a few pros and cons to going to university but what are the pros and cons of actually doing it freelance the way that I did it.

Self-taught, freelance no education needed, just look online and study away books that people have written.

So what’s the pros and cons.


the first Pro has got to be that you do it on your own time, you have your own time, you’re your own boss you make your own decisions, you study what you want to study, you make what you want to make.

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Con: The con to that would be that sometimes people don’t work well under lack of pressure, people need the pressure of going to university to work hard and to actually work like a student or someone who’s learning something.

Self-study means a lot of commitment, self-discipline and studying hard.

Another con will be that you learn highly from your own mistakes and not the mistakes of people, who are teaching you like your design professors, I guess that is actual Pro for going to universities.

The design score that you learn from people mistakes and you get an insight into their lives more than you would probably get if you’re doing it freelance or out of Education.

And as a pro for being freelance is that you could take on projects and earn money at the same time as learning.

The con is going to be that you probably don’t have the proper abilities to execute that design properly.

So the work that you do as you’re learning for clients or people like businesses, small shop owners, it’s probably not going to be that great compared to someone who understands it a bit more, whether they’ve been to university or just have their experience of learning in the world.

Another pro of going to study design in University is that you get a degree which enables you to get jobs in design in different places like studios or in different firms or agent, this means that you get a higher job security very quickly.

If you are very successful when you come out with your bachelor’s degree.

So I’ve outlined few of the pros and now you have the cotton on both sides of doing it yourself; self-taught and going to University, but I haven’t explore really about money situation.

This all sounds fine and dandy, doing it by yourself or even going to university, but there’s always two sides to the coin which means that when you go to university you could be in thousands of pounds of debt when you come out, which you will have to pay off when you earn enough, which means that you’re probably going to be living on less when you come out of university.

Whether you are in the UK or anywhere else in the world where as a freelancer they don’t have any education or student fees so they go have to pay them out but obviously they’re going to find it harder at first to get clients and make money.

When you’re building the clientele, money is a huge factor in all of this,

I was just doing it for fun at first then when it became a real passion of mine that’s when I made the jump.

Either way you’re going to pay the price for it, either through debt or through not having money.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that when you go to university you’re going to get a job afterwards because that is simply not the case, that hardly ever happens when you’re in a design setting in a university, simply because there’s not enough jobs to go around and because you don’t have the experience.

As for me, I get paid even though I’ve got no qualification, the reason behind people paying me is because they see my works that I’ve done for other companies.


Finally I opined that deciding to go to a conventional school is up to you, you need to understand your type of personality.

Using myself as an example, I am someone who thinks that the conventional school is a waste of my years, I believe what I go do in 3 to four years can be achieved in just one year for me.

I have written several IT and business certifications and bagged them only in months of self-studying.

So if you are taking these up as a career path and you’ve had no degree and still youthful and you have enough funding then I’ll say go to school and study.

But if you are my type of person that believes in a self-paced learning, less funding, determined, dogged and discipline, then go for a self study route.

Get packs of books and resources and study well enough, be sure to take in the theories well, then do a lot of practice too, you can further proceed to make your skills relevant with a professional qualification.

To me self-made graphic designers rule the game.

Let me know your take on this in the comment section.

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