So you're thinking about becoming a graphic designer and want to go to school or a college program to learn more but the question pops up in your head. Are graphic design classes hard? I remember when I was just about to leave my high school and had that same question. Just like most things in life a lot of factors can affect the outcome and why graphic design classes might become difficult.
The difficulty of graphic design classes can depend on how much you enjoy working visually to solve problems, your commitment as a student to meet project deadlines, and your ability to collaborate. If you enjoy these 3 things then you can bet that graphic design classes will not be as difficult as you may think.
In the rest of this article I'll go over 3 qualities that will make you a great graphic design student and those ‘hard graphic design classes’ easier. While going to school to become a graphic designer can be intimidating just remember that going to school for finance, human resources, or any other field will stir up that same feeling. You will be stepping into a new chapter of your career to learn new things and this can make some people feel uncomfortable. Just know that it is ok and be open to learning.
Working visually to solve problems
There can be a number of reasons why you are thinking about taking graphic design classes. You are deciding to pursue graphic design as a full-time career, you want to make some extra cash, or you really enjoy helping others by bringing their ideas to life. In any of these situations they all involve working visually to solve problems. Graphic design is about communicating ideas and messaging through the use of graphics. The graphics you may use can involve typography, colors, shapes, imagery and much more. While taking classes in graphic design you will learn foundational techniques and lessons in each of these subjects that will allow you to use these elements as tools. For example in a typography lesson, you will learn about the different types of fonts and why they were created.
Once you learn the basic fundamentals for each of these categories it is up to you how you want to use them. Of course you will learn about the programs and techniques that come along with any of these categories but to be completely honest. That is usually the easiest part. As a professional graphic designer today I am faced with learning new programs and softwares everyday. The best thing you can do now is accept that those tools will change over time but the principles and foundations will still be in place as you grow.
That brings me back to my original point, that you must enjoy working visually to solve problems. This was something that I realized just as I was leaving high school. Although I was really good at math I knew that I would rather work with visuals to communicate my ideas. I would take every opportunity in preliminary school to load my schedule up with art classes and continue to grow my creative abilities which ultimately led me to wanting to continue into my college career.
Managing your time to meet deadlines
There are plenty of stereotypes associated with taking graphic design classes, like they can be very time intensive. While that isn’t completely false, any classes outside of the arts will also require you to spend time studying and completing assignments. Think of the time you take for your graphic design classes as studying or writing a paper which is why managing your time to meet project deadlines is so important. Graphic design can take more than a couple of minutes as you will be creating visual solutions to communicate complex ideas or concepts. Depending on how you like to work this can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. It is up to you, to know how much time you will need to complete a project.
Time Management is very important in the creative industry and is something that you will learn early on during your graphic design classes. When a project is assigned, it is up to you to make sure you accurately set aside the time for you to complete the project. This ability to manage your time accordingly is something that you will carry on even after your classes are over. If a project is not completed by the assigned deadline this could potentially result in points off of your final grade. In the professional field not delivering a project by the deadline agreed to can result in termination of the project and not receiving payment for the services completed.
Successfully managing your time around your graphic design classes involves planning your schedule to work with your responsibilities such as other classes, friends, and even work. You want to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time and take into consideration all of these other parts of your life. While focusing on your graphic design classes is important, completely shutting off the other parts of your life will not result in making it any easier. Maintaining a healthy balance between all of the things important to you will allow you to continue to learn and enjoy yourself while doing it.
Collaborating with others
Collaboration is a big part of becoming a graphic designer. While you are taking graphic design classes you will most likely be presenting your ideas and projects to your teacher and also your classmates. While you are presenting your work, the teacher will allow the class to constructively critique your work. This is intended to push your idea and bring in new perspectives to make the work and project stronger. The biggest lesson to learn during this time is to not take the feedback personally. While it can sometimes be easy to get offended when someone does not understand your idea, it is on you to understand that not everyone will have the same experience or perspective. Being able to take into consideration all feedback and decide which would be valuable to making your idea stronger and which will not is an invaluable skill to learn during your classes.
Collaborating with others will also play a major part of your graphic design classes. Not only will you be expected to create and work on your own, there will also be projects requiring you to work within a team. While some may pursue graphic design because of the ability to work independently. This will not always be the case especially as you continue graphic design in the profession field. Understanding and welcoming the opportunity to collaborate in a team setting can not only make your work stronger but allow you to produce work that you would not normally be able to create on your own.
As you enter the professional field as a graphic designer you will most likely have to collaborate in some way. This can happen while working on a team within a company, if you decide to freelance and offer your services to others, or if you are working with a prospective client. Collaboration is a necessity as a graphic designer and something you will learn in your graphic design classes.
When it comes to the question, are graphic design classes hard? I would say that any class you take will be hard. Graphic design classes require a passion for working visually, exceptional time management, and collaboration. These three qualities will allow you to excel in any graphic design class that you take and also allow you to enjoy it while doing so. If you have any questions or need suggestions of where to look for graphic design classes. You can sign up for our newsletter here.