FROM OPPORTUNITY (A CAREERS MAGAZINE FOR BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC STUDENTS): AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

How to succeed in the design world

Exhibit impressive skills in art and design and put yourself in the frame for a successful career, says Margaret Jones

Great artists and designers don't down tools at teatime and switch off. They live and breathe their creativity. In the arts there is no nine-to-five. Be ready to work, and work hard! Yet having a true vocation doesn't mean you can't be exceptionally successful in business (look at Vivienne Westwood, Terence Conran, Neville Brody) and that passion, drive and inventiveness means art and design graduates are in demand for their creative-thinking skills and ability to verbalise their thoughts confidently.

Design and art are often put together in higher education, and although similar, they have differences. A designer designs for a mass market and manufacture. An artist creates one-off pieces that appeal to a more individual market and are less likely to be produced in bulk. The two areas feed off each other, and an artist's creativity can be tempered and commercialised by a designer.

When considering design as an area of study, the sheer variety of courses and types of design on offer can cause confusion. A quick look at the Ucas website shows over 2,600 courses aimed at specific types of design, with around 200 providers. Some, such as surface pattern design, demand creativity and aesthetic awareness. Areas such as graphic design require good technical and computer skills. Good visual skills, colour knowledge and awareness of proportion are common to all courses.

The traditional route to an arts or design degree is through a one-year Foundation diploma. This is usually done locally - it's a full-time, further education course and has a number of advantages, not least that students tend to live at home so don't need to move away. It's a bridge between school and university, offering a unique chance to develop your skills as well as really enjoy exploring your creativity. You try a number of different disciplines, gradually narrowing those down until arriving at the final project; this variety is great if you're unsure what to specialise in. Entry qualifications start at GCSEs plus portfolio.

A BA honours course needs higher entry qualifications, starting around 160 UCAS points, depending on the university. You learn transferable skills: research, both visual and textual; team working; giving presentations; and putting your portfolio together. Work is assessed by portfolio presentations (examinations are very rare) so you learn how to talk confidently about your work. Increasingly, students enquire about study trips, opportunities for work placements, entering national and international competitions and attending international trade fairs. For example, Indigo, a fair held in Paris, has many UK art colleges exhibiting, with students selling their own textile designs.

And if you're thinking about teaching, you should find out if you can you undertake a Student Associates Scheme, which means getting paid to do work experience in the class room while still an undergraduate.

After graduation, jobs vary; you may be the only designer or part of a team. Employers range from private companies to large multinationals, as well as local authorities and consultants, and self-employment as a freelance is another option. It's down to you to get creative!

Margaret Jones is a senior lecturer in the department of art and design at the University of Bolton, www.bolton.ac.uk

CASE STUDY

Tayab Iqbal, 20, is in the first year of a design for interiors foundation degree at the University of Bolton

I've always had an interest in interiors - the idea of being able to manipulate spaces so that you can not only alter the look of an interior but also change how people think and feel is something that appeals to me.

This course deals with all aspects, ranging from critical studies to looking at uses of colour and texture for interiors. We learn how to compose surveys of existing spaces and draw them to scale, and how to use CAD (computer-aided design) programs such as 3D Studio Max, which are very important in today's design.

We're taught through lectures and practical lessons and do coursework in our own time - there are no exams!

Once I've finished this course, I am going to go and do a one-year top-up course for interior design. And when I've completed that, I'll have qualified with a BA (Hons) in interior design.

WEB WATCH

Student Associates Scheme

More information on gaining some classroom experience

www.tda.gov.uk/partners/recruiting/careerexploration/studentassociates

Indigo

Find out about visiting the Parisian trade fair

www.indigo-salon.com

Foundation awards

Subscribe to an art and design website

www.edexcel.org.uk/quals/fad

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

Maths Teacher (Swindon and Wiltshire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for short-term cover, l...

Maths Teacher (Bath and North East Somerset)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for day to day cover, l...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week