Is Design School What You Need? Or Is Any Learning Great Learning?
Junior Designer
January 4, 2019

Is going to design school putting some designers ahead of other designers that don’t? Let’s dissect this topic and apply what we know about left and right brain to it in order to draw stronger conclusions.

So many designers go to design school’s/universities but is this giving them an edge that each designer should have? Based on history and past events of some of the greatest minds that have changed our globe for the better, their stories suggest that design school is a means to pushing out a industry specific kind of designer. Ultimately a worker that will work, oppose to a thinker who thinks.

People that are more right brain, end up learning much more in the industry than what they learn in design school, however they do learn technique and sometimes humility. What this would mean is that design schools are preparing you based on a method that hasn’t been changed in centuries in order to give the industry a type of designer that is needed now. Most if not all design schools focus on the tools of design and the conceptualization of ideas, but they don’t attack the main issue which is, how do you as a designer coming out of design school sell yourself to people that don’t understand what you do.

Most times these individuals you need to explain to are left brain thinkers. It is incredibly important that you are able to ‘keep your cool’ and explain your process and understanding to these people in such a way that they understand and are delighted by what you say.

These skills aren’t taught and yet they are the make-or-break reasons you will either get the job or not. Which seems like a bit of a waste in money spent at a design school if they weren’t able to guarantee that after paying them +/-R 300,000 you’d definitely get a job in the industry. Unfortunately that’s a huge shame.

For these exact reasons we are able to draw this opinion.

  • If you as a designer already have drive. Don’t go to design school.
  • If you are getting work from family or second tier socialites. Wait before going to design school.
  • If you feel that you learn more from Youtube and can put it to action. Research a lot about design school’s before taking that leap. 

In Conclusion (Long – Oops!)

If you’re a designer: All designers are different, their particular mind set before choosing whether to go to design school is very important, as this mind set is the only true way of telling if you are the kind of designer now that needs to go to design school to get encouragement, inspiration or even just to find yourself then I’d definitely advise going.

But if you cant for financial reasons or feel you arent one of the designers explained above, then dont worry. Shrug it and get a move on. Design school isnt the only way to being a world renowned designer.

If you’re a lecturer: Lecturers from different academies are different too, some of them will agree with what has been said and some wont. However as any lecturer or mind that teaches the next generation, you would only be helping yourself and your pupils by trying to see this industry through their eyes, only once you do this will you successfully be able to change it and only then can you understand.

My advise to you would be to ask your pupils questions about what they are concerned about while going into the industry. Tell them exactly what they can expect. As we find most Academies lie to pupils in order to keep them happy and their parents paying. This pattern continues year upon year and each designer seems less prepared. Please start adapting to a changing creative economy.


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