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
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

NQT and Experienced Primary Teachers Urgently required

£90 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: NQT and Experienced Primary Teac...

Upper KS2 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Upper KS2 Primary Teacher...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Trainee Recruitmen...

KS1 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: KS1 Primary Teacher in Br...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor