New student Graphic designer from Holland

I will start next December the one year course Graphic designer Creative Cloud to learn how to work professionally with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

I have to wait until December to buy all Adobe Apps because then as a student I can buy them with a discount.

Suggestions to prepare me for the course are welcome. Thanks.

Firstly; welcome.

Suggestions? Know that learning software is not the only part of being a designer. In fact, it is not even the most important part. I could do a course to learn how to use a mallet and masonry chisel. It would not make me a master stonemason.

Do you plan on doing a design degree after that – or do you have one already? If so, the rest of this post will become redundant.

If your long-term plan is to have a sustainable career as a designer, I’d strongly suggest that you need to do a design degree. In fact, truth be known, this would be preferable to doing a one-year software course. You’ll learn the software by default as you go along. Anyone can learn software. Being a designer is a whole different ball park.

I am not trying to deflate you here, but honest truth is always more useful than faint praise in the long run.

You need to look at the wider picture. Usually, (certainly in the UK – and the US), the pre-requisite to being able to call yourself a professional designer is a 3-4 year university degree (in the UK, a one-year foundation course, then a three-year bachelors degree). After that, four to five years of experience, then you might just begin to know what you are doing.

If you haven’t paid for the course yet, my advice would be to pause and rethink, with a view to looking into getting a degree-level design education – assuming you have the requisite aptitude in the first place. You have a legacy of great design education and practice in the Netherlands. In fact, there’s a Masters course I’ve always fancied doing in type design in The Hague, but my knowledge of Dutch wouldn’t even get me through the registration process!!

Good luck. Sorry, probably not what you want to hear, but I hope it helps, or at least gives pause for thought.

Thanks for your answer. But…

Universities are nothing more than businesses, obviously they will tell you that the more years you study, the more prepared you will be. I don’t believe them at all, I smile when I see what many “professional” designers create, which are no more than inverted or cut in half geometric figures that they call “design”.

As for the Dutch companies that exploit recent graduates, I am not going to apply because I do not like being exploited with the excuse that they are giving me the opportunity to gain experience but without salary or with just a tip in the form of charity.

Holland doesn’t have the slightest idea of what design or creativity is, they just don’t know what it is, all they understand is about money. But thanks for your effort it’s funny to see how the marketing about Holland deceives some people.

I could be equally cynical about the education system in my own country, but the truth is, you will learn more from going to a university, than not. Granted, it is easy for me to say, as I went at a time when universities were all but free. I think the amount you have to pay now is immoral and for that you have my sympathies. It is a huge commitment.

However, you learn a lot through lecturers and peer critiques, which you simply cannot do going the self-taught route. This is a big part of the design education process. By not going, you severely limit your options. If I had 100 CVs on my desk for a job, I’d have to filter somehow, and I fear, those that have a degree vs those that don’t would be one of the major YES/NO filters. It also shows a commitment on the part of the applicant to be able to complete a degree.

Of course, it is your choice. I can only give you my advice, based on 30 years of experience, working in studios in London for 5 years and then the next 25 years working for myself.

When I went for job interviews after graduation, I used to get really irked that no-one ever asked about my degree; what I achieved, where I achieved it, etc. Until, I realised I wouldn’t have even been in the interview chair without it.

Now – with the odd exception – you can usually pick off those young designers who have been through the education system and those who haven’t, I’m afraid. As I say, it is your choice, but education at the University of YouTube would not likely get you the job, without a truly knock-out portfolio. As I say, there are the exceptions to the rule.

Personally, I think you may doing yourself a disservice by being so cynical. Of course the early years are tough. I worked for peanuts for a good few years to be able to learn the ropes, because quite frankly, much I thought I was, I wasn’t worth a huge wage until I had ‘done my time’, had experience and learned what I was doing.

If you plan on doing a course to learn software and then freelancing straight away, you may be making things a lot harder for yourself and frankly – I say that without knowing what skill level you have, of course. You may be the natural genius that is the exception. However, there are so many unqualified people out there who don’t have a clue what they are doing (but think they do), calling themselves designers, offering substandard services to unsuspecting clients and below-market rates, that the net effect is driving the industry to its knees.

Personally, I think the whole thing should be regulated so that anyone has to be qualified to be able to legally practice. The same as pretty much any other professional service. You can do a lot of damage to a company or organisation if you are not qualified to be able to tell their story effectively and communicate to a target audience. Design is not about software, or creating ‘pretty’ logos (as seems to be the common misconception du jour). Sometimes the simple geometric shape is the correct solution (one cannot say without knowing what the brief was). It all depends on the problem to be solved.

Design is all about communication. It is not art. It is far more hard-nosed. It is not about the aesthetic preferences of the ‘artist’ within. It is part (or should be) of any effective business model.

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I appreciate a cynical view of the world.
But choose your battles.

Not all universities fall under that broad brush. You have to do a lot of research and get the most information for the money you pay.

And the first thing you learn in a design job, it ain’t about art. Those things you mentioned called “design” may have been exactly what was needed to communicate the client’s message. The message is the key. Of course, there are a whole slew of ‘designers’ on another whole slew of crowdsource sites that produce nothing but yet another slew of schlock that the clients adore and pay for. But did the crappy design work out for the client’s message?

Best of luck.

Thanks again but I can’t read long texts due to lack of time.

But since you like to make suggestions, I will riskily assume that I can make one for you.

Maybe you could participate in a philosophy discussion forum to help others, those forums where people with stone convictions try in endlessly discussions to convince each other that only one of them is right without showing each other any scientific, statistic or empirical proof of what they say.

Sorry if I don’t reply to your next message due to lack of time.


We’re all busy! Don’t worry, rest assured, I won’t waste any more of my time trying to help. Remember, you are the one who asked the question. If you are not prepared to consider answers you don’t like, then think about the questions you pose. Hope you make the right choice for you.

Now that your answer is shorter I will reply. I did not ask for help, I did not ask any question, I asked suggestions.

It is not that I do not like what you say it is that what you say does not make any sense because you are not making a suggestion but a bunch of unfounded fanatical statements.


I’m out. Good luck.

. . . that you refused to read, yet are somehow able to draw this conclusion.

Oh, you’re a fanatic.

What? You didn’t know?

And there was I thinking, I was just boringly opinionated! A fanatic. I like the sound of that!!

You were fanatical from the very first message which I have read.

You may be in your own eyes an expert in whatever you may claim to be but you certainly need to learn the difference between a suggestion and a statement.

Alrighty then…

Mod stepping in. @Incognit knock it off. And I say that as politely and succinctly as possible.

You came to a professional forum and asked experts for their expert opinion. They were graciously given and you can’t be bothered?

If you want 280 characters or less head on over to Twitter. I’m sure they can help you out :wink:

Don’t lecture me on anything, I haven’t asked you anything. I prefer to rate the reactions of others by myself I don’t need you to do it for me, and I react as I consider necessary if you don’t like i’ts your problem not mine.

If you want you can block me but save the gibberish for yourself.

I’ve been holding the TOP championship for years (Totally Obnoxious Person), but now I can see I cannot even hold a candle to you. I am gladly relinquishing the title to you.

Do it proud.

I hope he feels better now. I took his advice :wink:

He won’t have to listen to my gibberish anymore lmao :stuck_out_tongue:

What a dick. He better get a thicker skin if he ever plans on making anything of himself in this business.

Study graphic design, assuming you’re not already a designer and just need to learn some Adobe programs. used to be a good resource, though I haven’t been there in years so it might be different now. Sounds like you’re tight on cash so maybe just books and YouTube vids will suffice. :slightly_smiling_face:

Regulating GD did sound a tad fanatic, btw. The GD license exam would have to be laughably easy, being such a subjective occupation.

Asks for suggestions. Ignores suggestions. Can’t read more than a few lines. If this is a sign of those coming in to our profession they will be in for a huge shock.

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Sorry I nodded off after line one…