The Student Room Group

For those applying for Graphic Design, Illustration, Vis Com courses

Firstly, a bit of disclosure. I'm a designer and a tutor who has taught on a number of design degree courses both here and abroad. My specialism is graphic design but these comments apply to illustration, visual communication, advertising and graphic communication courses too.

To cut to the chase, there’s almost no correlation between the quality of graduates coming out of each design degree course and their position in the league table. Pretty much all academics (although not necessarily those in management) accepts league tables are deeply flawed, but they seem to be a very important factor when applicants are deciding which open days to attend. They really, really shouldn’t be.

The University i work at most often has done quite well this year, so i’ve got no axe to grind with this year’s results. Just the system in general, and particularly how it doesn’t reflect the quality of creative courses at all. So a few points, aimed at applicants (and parents) considering which Unis to apply to...

1) I don’t know of any ‘bad’ design degrees in this country. It’s possible some aren’t great but (with the exception of a few old dudes that have since retired) every academic i’ve met that teaches these subjects really cares about their students and works extraordinarily hard to make their course as good as it can be. That’s not always true in academia, partially in fields where research is seen as a greater priority. However, i have seen cohorts from sixth form colleges produce better work than some degree courses. There are big differences in the level of expectation, the quality of thinking and the ambition of student projects.

2) Personally, i think the most important thing that distinguishes design degrees from each other is the quality of the work the students produce. To be more specific, the percentage of students producing the high quality work (rather than just a few shining stars). The second important thing to consider (other than location) is does the general ethos of the course fit with you as an individual? So is it traditional, experimental, political, commercially-facing etc? None of this is measured by the league tables.

3) Despite no proper correlation, there is some kind of link between league tables and quality. For example, Loughborough (often at number 1 in recent years) is a brilliant course. It’s very well run, has a great research culture, its students win lots of awards and its graduates do great things. However, there are a good 30 courses or so on that list that produce student work that’s just as good. So, for example, IMO you’re just as likely to have a great portfolio and successful career by going to Southampton (currently #52 in the Guardian table) as you are to Loughborough.

Lots of the data that goes into making the league tables is not relevant to the experience you’ll receive:

4) Student satisfaction scores don’t mean much at all. Let’s just say that it’s quite possible for a truly excellent course to have 75% student satisfaction, whilst a course with low standards has 100% satisfaction. Courses which regularly achieve less that 80% have probably got some sort of structural problems (lack of contact time, lack of studio space, overworked staff etc) but apart from that ignore the results of ’student satisfaction’ surveys.

5) 'Staff student ratio’ data bears no relationship to how much contact time you will have with your tutors. It’s not based on timetable information, or the actual number of hours individual staff members teach. Institutions with lots of researchers will do well in these tables, even if those researchers barely ever teach undergrad students.

6) Entry tariff info is a mixed bag. Whilst high scores indicates a selective admissions process, i’d argue that the better courses have a diverse range of students, rather than those that did very well in college. Also, Scottish institutions fare well in the 'entry tariff' section because the way college qualifications are run in Scotland is different to England and Wales. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Scottish courses are more selective, or have more able students on them (although many of them are excellent).

I could rant all day about the problematic ways data is selected and used. Simply put, be sceptical of any statistics or data you’re presented with on course promo material, or at open days. Legally, it has to be true ...but does it have any meaning in the real world? Probably not.

A couple more points…

As an industry, Graphic Design is a meritocracy (I hate that word). If you’re good, you will succeed. Therefore the perceived ‘reputation’ of the course really, really doesn’t matter. Certain employers regularly employ grads from the same University, most employers will look at where you studied (so for example, students who graduated from Brighton are likely to have a relatively experimental portfolio) but not many will place any real value on it. Getting a decent job is all about the quality and relevance of your portfolio, and of course your personal and social skills.

You don’t need to go to Uni to be a graphic designer. Plenty of graphic designers in this country have no HE qualifications, however trying to get into the best agencies doing the most rewarding kind of work is very, very hard. Doing that without a degree is even harder.

Finally, go to as many Open Days as you can, ignore statistics and choose somewhere that has the right vibe for you.

Apologies for the grumbling, but having heard from colleagues the kind of questions that are regularly asked at Open Days, I needed to get this off my chest. Perhaps league tables are more reliable in other fields, but for design subjects - ignore them.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about applying to these types of courses.
Excellent post

On #4 - for NSS the value really is in the detail. The "overall satisfaction" score is useless. The individual question responses are a reasonable indicator of the (previous) strengths and weaknesses of a course. https://discoveruni.gov.uk/ Discover uni lets potential students see the FULL breakdown of answers for a specific course (so much more useful than the bulked up responses used in a league table that are likely to combine quite a few courses)...so you can see if it's that the 2022 final year students were happy/unhappy with course organisation (ie timetable), access to facilities, teaching staff, feedback on marks etc etc...and then (most importantly) decide whether that's something that's a dealbreaker FOR YOU.

So for example...GD at Loughborough: https://discoveruni.gov.uk/course-details/10004113/KISW900/Full-time/ has pretty good scores across the board. The only questions scoring below 80% are "Marking and assessment has been fair", "Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices on my course", "The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well", "I feel part of a community of staff and students" and "The students' union (association or guild) effectively represents students' academic interests". Now some of those are almost certainly depressed by the impact covid had on teaching during the course...but others (eg "the community" and "library") responses are likely down to the fact that Loughborough is a big university with a lot of emphasis on departments that are bigger than design and creative arts (design has ~1800 students, Business has 3,200, Science 2,200, Sport 3,300, Social Science/Humanities 2,200, the 2 Engineering depts 3,100 - the only department smaller than design is Architecture (1,200) https://www.lboro.ac.uk/media/wwwlboroacuk/content/planningteam/documents/factsandfigures/F&F_21-22_v3_UpdatedEstateFigures.pdf ) - so the library and community feel will be different to a university where the design dept is one of the biggest. For most students that's not a deal breaker in any way and for others that's a positive - you might not use the library much or you might want to be in a very varied group of students....but it's a useful thing to bear in mind when working out where you as an applicant will be happy and thrive and produce your best work.

Likewise another Loughborough course https://discoveruni.gov.uk/course-details/10004113/KISW240/Full-time/ has a very low score 41% for "Feedback on my work has been timely" - often that indicates staffing issues that have affected the students finishing in 2022...so it's the sort of thing that's worth asking about at an open day or offer holder day to see if it's something that the course has recognised as a problem and put things in place to resolve by the time you start the course :smile:

In league tables the scores for both these courses would be grouped together as "design" which is very unhelpful and doesn't reflect the differences between the two courses at all.

TL:biggrin:R: A bad (or good) score in the NSS isn't a guarantee of anything - it's a snapshot of what students finishing that course last year thought of the course which can be useful in focusing your thinking about what sort of course and university will suit you best. That's something that no ranking will ever be able to replicate.
Original post by PQ
In league tables the scores for both these courses would be grouped together as "design" which is very unhelpful and doesn't reflect the differences between the two courses at all.

Indeed. It's impossible for a single course to do well in the league tables if the other courses it's 'clustered' with aren't performing well in the metrics.

So if students on a Product Design degree give really bad NSS feedback because they can't access equipment, it will affect the league table position of the Graphic Design course. It's mad.
Also, there's very little consistency with the design league tables. One year a course is in the top 10, the next year it's right down the bottom, despite all the teaching/staff/facilities remaining the same. That suggests to me that the methodology is broken.
Original post by insidedesigner
Indeed. It's impossible for a single course to do well in the league tables if the other courses it's 'clustered' with aren't performing well in the metrics.

So if students on a Product Design degree give really bad NSS feedback because they can't access equipment, it will affect the league table position of the Graphic Design course. It's mad.


The Guardian have made some changes this year to split out more creative subjects (meaning they have a Graphic Design and a Product Design separate ranking....) - but the staff:student ratio and spend per student will cover all creative courses not just those subjects so even then the rankings and data presented aren't massively helpful (although the course listing thing on the guardian is quite handy for finding courses with similar content but a different title)....and the actual ranking is a completely arbitrary set of weighted data that tries to be all things for all people so the order that universities are ranked in is no use to any individual.

The Times and Complete rankings still bundle everything into "Art and Design" - fine art, illustration, graphic design, product design, fashion, textiles, interior design, etc etc all bundled into one pot and "ranked"....and the old fashioned universities with big fine art courses end up at the top :indiff:
The latest Guardian League Tables have just been published, so it's worth posting yet another reminder that there is no correlation between the quality of work/graduates coming out of a course and it's position in the league table.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2023/sep/09/the-guardian-university-guide-2024-the-rankings

There are many courses in the top 20 that are probably very well run, with the students having a great time, but perhaps only one student in the yeargroup might be employed but a top-end agency. Obviously, that might not matter to you as an applicant, but it's worth thinking about. Some of the courses that have the highest proportion of high quality graduates are outside of the top 30.

So, for what's it's worth: ignore league tables.
Reply 6
This is a great thread :smile: As a lecturer in an art course (not graphic design) that is doing very well on those tables, I still personally dislike metrics like tables even though they do benefit us - i would rather people looked at the quality of the artwork of the students; to me that is a better metric that shows if the staff are able to teach the subject well or care about their courses. My advice to prospective students is be aware of the tables, but look at the work of the graduates of the courses you are interested in - search for them on Linkedin for example, see where they are working and maybe contact them and ask if they would recommend their degree - that will tell you more than seeing if one course is 3 points higher than another on a table made by an organisation that has never seen the artwork of the students. Also try to visit the courses if you can - numbers on a spreadsheet wont tell you if you personally like the campus or the staff :smile:

One thing those tables can help you with is at least providing a possible applicant with a selection of universities to start researching into - so use them for that, but do contact the courses you are interested in and also ask those on the courses what they thought of them. And good luck with your applications!
So OP, where are some courses that you currently admire? If you were applying now, where would you be considering? I'm thinking about illustration, probably.
Firstly, if you're not 100% sure, then some courses allow you to try graphic design, photography, illustration etc before choosing a pathway (usually during the first year).

Secondly, if you can provide a bit more info, hopefully i can help. What type of illustration are you interested in? Do you think you'd prefer big city, smaller town/city? Roughly where in the country?
Not London (too £££) but happy to go anywhere else. Traditional hand drawn or printed illustration, not very interested in animation.
Here's some options for illustration courses, all of which have students producing great work.

Some have some kind of 'diagnostic' element at the start, which will allow you to swap pathways.

Some have large cohorts, some are small.

Some have a speciality, for example editorial or children's books.

Brighton
Portsmouth
AUB
Falmouth
ARU
Hertfordshire
Cardiff
Norwich
BCU
Sheffield Hallam
Edinburgh

There are many others too, my knowledge is a bit limited to courses in the southern half of the country.

So next, do some research (into the course, Uni and location) then go to as many Open Days as you can.
Original post by insidedesigner
Here's some options for illustration courses, all of which have students producing great work.

Some have some kind of 'diagnostic' element at the start, which will allow you to swap pathways.

Some have large cohorts, some are small.

Some have a speciality, for example editorial or children's books.

Brighton
Portsmouth
AUB
Falmouth
ARU
Hertfordshire
Cardiff
Norwich
BCU
Sheffield Hallam
Edinburgh

There are many others too, my knowledge is a bit limited to courses in the southern half of the country.

So next, do some research (into the course, Uni and location) then go to as many Open Days as you can.

Hello,
University of Hertfordshire here!
Great advice to research the course, uni and location and also to go to open days - we couldn't agree more!
We offer a fantastic Illustration course and our students have won many awards in all of the most prestigious national and international design and illustration competitions. There's a video on our course page of graduates talking about their experiences and what they've gone on to do. You'd be able to learn more about it at our open day on 25 November - we're running taster sessions for you to get a real feel for the content and speak to our academics - you can sign up here.
Hope this helps and we'd love to see you at the open day!
Let us know if you have any other questions we can help with.
Best wishes,
Gaynor
Marketing and Communications Team
Original post by insidedesigner
Here's some options for illustration courses, all of which have students producing great work.

Some have some kind of 'diagnostic' element at the start, which will allow you to swap pathways.

Some have large cohorts, some are small.

Some have a speciality, for example editorial or children's books.

Brighton
Portsmouth
AUB
Falmouth
ARU
Hertfordshire
Cardiff
Norwich
BCU
Sheffield Hallam
Edinburgh

There are many others too, my knowledge is a bit limited to courses in the southern half of the country.

So next, do some research (into the course, Uni and location) then go to as many Open Days as you can.

Thanks @insidedesigner, this is helpful.
hi! this thread has been really helpful, and seeing your responses under other discussions has also been really enlightening so i just wanted to thank you first really. i was also hoping though that you could maybe offer some guidance? im on the ual foundation course at the moment and starting my uni application that my tutors want sent off in the next couple weeks, but im really struggling to finalise my 5 choices for a graphic design course. i’ve visited csm, camberwell, bath spa and goldsmiths uni. i wasnt a fan of camberwell, but the rest i really liked. im from a rural area in the south west so city life really excites me, london being the ultimate goal i think. as much as i dont want to put all my eggs in londons basket, i did ideally want a shot of getting into atleast one there. i was thinking of csm, goldsmiths (the two with difficult acceptance rates) and a slightly easier one like chelsea so i had a chance, but ive been told chelsea isn’t brilliant by my tutor so that has also confused me.

however, with csm being quite reputable and in a beautiful area i wasnt sure if all of the hype was purely name based? ive heard things about ual having poor quality of courses with barely any classroom based time and poor support from tutors, and obviously i dont want all that loan hanging over my head for a poor quality education - saying that though, it has the big name element in the industry.
goldsmiths is obviously a more general design course as opposed to graphic design but i liked the variety and possibilities of this as i’m not restricted to what i can work with and produce. i felt that with them and bath spa, it was quite a communal and supportive atmosphere and the courses looked good.

those are just my thoughts on those three unis, but obviously its so hard to gage just from one open day whether theyre the best fit for me. im looking for a course that i feel supported and encouraged to experiment in, one that wont pigeon-hole me to one medium or style and allows me to grow with the best facilities possible. i personally find photoshop and solely computer-based work quite difficult right now but this may change as i go through my foundation course, but incase it doesnt, i don’t want a uni that relies on computer skills.

my tutors really threw me when speaking to them, they didnt seem to thrilled about the unis i mentioned, and they suggested uwe, norwich and kingston. im hoping to balance a good quality uni with being able to live in a location that i can sustain for 3 years and won’t find myself desperately wanting to escape. ive heard good things about students studying in brighton too.

i apologise for waffling at you, im just hoping for some guidance really. im not opposed to looking further up north either like york, glasgow or edinburgh but i havent seen them mentioned much in discussions. any form of advice will do at this point haha, the pressure of time is stressing me out so anything is appreciated. thankyou so much!
Original post by feebswebber
hi! this thread has been really helpful, and seeing your responses under other discussions has also been really enlightening so i just wanted to thank you first really. i was also hoping though that you could maybe offer some guidance? im on the ual foundation course at the moment and starting my uni application that my tutors want sent off in the next couple weeks, but im really struggling to finalise my 5 choices for a graphic design course. i’ve visited csm, camberwell, bath spa and goldsmiths uni. i wasnt a fan of camberwell, but the rest i really liked. im from a rural area in the south west so city life really excites me, london being the ultimate goal i think. as much as i dont want to put all my eggs in londons basket, i did ideally want a shot of getting into atleast one there. i was thinking of csm, goldsmiths (the two with difficult acceptance rates) and a slightly easier one like chelsea so i had a chance, but ive been told chelsea isn’t brilliant by my tutor so that has also confused me.

however, with csm being quite reputable and in a beautiful area i wasnt sure if all of the hype was purely name based? ive heard things about ual having poor quality of courses with barely any classroom based time and poor support from tutors, and obviously i dont want all that loan hanging over my head for a poor quality education - saying that though, it has the big name element in the industry.
goldsmiths is obviously a more general design course as opposed to graphic design but i liked the variety and possibilities of this as i’m not restricted to what i can work with and produce. i felt that with them and bath spa, it was quite a communal and supportive atmosphere and the courses looked good.

those are just my thoughts on those three unis, but obviously its so hard to gage just from one open day whether theyre the best fit for me. im looking for a course that i feel supported and encouraged to experiment in, one that wont pigeon-hole me to one medium or style and allows me to grow with the best facilities possible. i personally find photoshop and solely computer-based work quite difficult right now but this may change as i go through my foundation course, but incase it doesnt, i don’t want a uni that relies on computer skills.

my tutors really threw me when speaking to them, they didnt seem to thrilled about the unis i mentioned, and they suggested uwe, norwich and kingston. im hoping to balance a good quality uni with being able to live in a location that i can sustain for 3 years and won’t find myself desperately wanting to escape. ive heard good things about students studying in brighton too.

i apologise for waffling at you, im just hoping for some guidance really. im not opposed to looking further up north either like york, glasgow or edinburgh but i havent seen them mentioned much in discussions. any form of advice will do at this point haha, the pressure of time is stressing me out so anything is appreciated. thankyou so much!

oh and just to add on, in terms of london unis, obviously kingston is really good for the subject. are ravensbourne, westminster or middlesex worth a look? thankyou!
You're welcome. I appreciate how confusing it must be, trying to make sense of all the options and information.
CSM is an amazing place. Full of brilliant minds, doing really impressive work. It still has space issues, but it has a lot of money (thanks to a high % of international students) to spend on tutors and equipment. It's very well organised, but as i've said elsewhere - it's not the most industry-friendly course. Lots of the work produced is theoretical/speculative and doesn't have an awful lot to do with the kind of work that professional designers do. Obviously, many of its grads go on to do great things but it's not for everyone.

Goldsmiths is like CSM, but more so. Again, full of very bright students doing fascinating work - but almost no connection to the realities of the profession. That's not a criticism - Unis shouldn't be a training centre for employers. If the broad approach suits you, then do apply.

I don't know a lot about Bath Spa.

It sounds like your tutors are recommending courses that have been traditionally good for many years. Nothing wrong with that, but follow your instincts, not their knowledge which might be a bit out of date. UWE is good, has a bit more of a focus on typography and social/political/environmental issues. Norwich is the most industry-facing of the ones you've mentioned so far. If you know you want to do campaigns, packaging etc then it's a great bet. Obvs living in Norwich is going to be very different to living in London. Kingston is great.

If you're considering other London options, the Advertising & Brand Design course at Ravensbourne is really good (much more commercially focused than the other London options you've mentioned. Middlesex and Westminster are fine, some students do great work. Herts might be worth considering if you want to live somewhere close to London but safer/quieter.

It's worth saying that you're very unlikely to go wrong. It sounds like you have a fairly clear idea what you want, and you're doing good research. Do as many open days as you can.
Original post by insidedesigner
You're welcome. I appreciate how confusing it must be, trying to make sense of all the options and information.
CSM is an amazing place. Full of brilliant minds, doing really impressive work. It still has space issues, but it has a lot of money (thanks to a high % of international students) to spend on tutors and equipment. It's very well organised, but as i've said elsewhere - it's not the most industry-friendly course. Lots of the work produced is theoretical/speculative and doesn't have an awful lot to do with the kind of work that professional designers do. Obviously, many of its grads go on to do great things but it's not for everyone.

Goldsmiths is like CSM, but more so. Again, full of very bright students doing fascinating work - but almost no connection to the realities of the profession. That's not a criticism - Unis shouldn't be a training centre for employers. If the broad approach suits you, then do apply.

I don't know a lot about Bath Spa.

It sounds like your tutors are recommending courses that have been traditionally good for many years. Nothing wrong with that, but follow your instincts, not their knowledge which might be a bit out of date. UWE is good, has a bit more of a focus on typography and social/political/environmental issues. Norwich is the most industry-facing of the ones you've mentioned so far. If you know you want to do campaigns, packaging etc then it's a great bet. Obvs living in Norwich is going to be very different to living in London. Kingston is great.

If you're considering other London options, the Advertising & Brand Design course at Ravensbourne is really good (much more commercially focused than the other London options you've mentioned. Middlesex and Westminster are fine, some students do great work. Herts might be worth considering if you want to live somewhere close to London but safer/quieter.

It's worth saying that you're very unlikely to go wrong. It sounds like you have a fairly clear idea what you want, and you're doing good research. Do as many open days as you can.

thankyou so so much that’s really helped. just one last thing if thats okay!
i was thinking as my final 5 perhaps csm, bath spa, brighton, goldsmiths and then either kingston, lcc or ravensbourne, which one of the latter three would you recommend?

i know cug rankings aren’t completely reliable, but them ravensbourne falling close to the bottom with an incredibly high acceptance rate does worry me slightly. im guessing this could be down to it being a newer uni? both rbourne and lcc look very connected in the industry but do they focus on purely digitally based work? i was hoping for a mix of digital and traditional which perhaps kingston may be able to offer but im not too sure.

the small classroom sizes of lcc seem very big too so i wssnt sure if this would inhibit being better tutored perhaps?

kingstons obviously further outside of central london which puts me off a little, but out of the three what facilities offer me the most would you say?

its so hard to tell as im not able to attend open days to these places before applying haha.

thankyou so much again! :smile:
Original post by insidedesigner
Firstly, a bit of disclosure. I'm a designer and a tutor who has taught on a number of design degree courses both here and abroad. My specialism is graphic design but these comments apply to illustration, visual communication, advertising and graphic communication courses too.

To cut to the chase, there’s almost no correlation between the quality of graduates coming out of each design degree course and their position in the league table. Pretty much all academics (although not necessarily those in management) accepts league tables are deeply flawed, but they seem to be a very important factor when applicants are deciding which open days to attend. They really, really shouldn’t be.

The University i work at most often has done quite well this year, so i’ve got no axe to grind with this year’s results. Just the system in general, and particularly how it doesn’t reflect the quality of creative courses at all. So a few points, aimed at applicants (and parents) considering which Unis to apply to...

1) I don’t know of any ‘bad’ design degrees in this country. It’s possible some aren’t great but (with the exception of a few old dudes that have since retired) every academic i’ve met that teaches these subjects really cares about their students and works extraordinarily hard to make their course as good as it can be. That’s not always true in academia, partially in fields where research is seen as a greater priority. However, i have seen cohorts from sixth form colleges produce better work than some degree courses. There are big differences in the level of expectation, the quality of thinking and the ambition of student projects.

2) Personally, i think the most important thing that distinguishes design degrees from each other is the quality of the work the students produce. To be more specific, the percentage of students producing the high quality work (rather than just a few shining stars). The second important thing to consider (other than location) is does the general ethos of the course fit with you as an individual? So is it traditional, experimental, political, commercially-facing etc? None of this is measured by the league tables.

3) Despite no proper correlation, there is some kind of link between league tables and quality. For example, Loughborough (often at number 1 in recent years) is a brilliant course. It’s very well run, has a great research culture, its students win lots of awards and its graduates do great things. However, there are a good 30 courses or so on that list that produce student work that’s just as good. So, for example, IMO you’re just as likely to have a great portfolio and successful career by going to Southampton (currently #52 in the Guardian table) as you are to Loughborough.

Lots of the data that goes into making the league tables is not relevant to the experience you’ll receive:

4) Student satisfaction scores don’t mean much at all. Let’s just say that it’s quite possible for a truly excellent course to have 75% student satisfaction, whilst a course with low standards has 100% satisfaction. Courses which regularly achieve less that 80% have probably got some sort of structural problems (lack of contact time, lack of studio space, overworked staff etc) but apart from that ignore the results of ’student satisfaction’ surveys.

5) 'Staff student ratio’ data bears no relationship to how much contact time you will have with your tutors. It’s not based on timetable information, or the actual number of hours individual staff members teach. Institutions with lots of researchers will do well in these tables, even if those researchers barely ever teach undergrad students.

6) Entry tariff info is a mixed bag. Whilst high scores indicates a selective admissions process, i’d argue that the better courses have a diverse range of students, rather than those that did very well in college. Also, Scottish institutions fare well in the 'entry tariff' section because the way college qualifications are run in Scotland is different to England and Wales. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Scottish courses are more selective, or have more able students on them (although many of them are excellent).

I could rant all day about the problematic ways data is selected and used. Simply put, be sceptical of any statistics or data you’re presented with on course promo material, or at open days. Legally, it has to be true ...but does it have any meaning in the real world? Probably not.

A couple more points…

As an industry, Graphic Design is a meritocracy (I hate that word). If you’re good, you will succeed. Therefore the perceived ‘reputation’ of the course really, really doesn’t matter. Certain employers regularly employ grads from the same University, most employers will look at where you studied (so for example, students who graduated from Brighton are likely to have a relatively experimental portfolio) but not many will place any real value on it. Getting a decent job is all about the quality and relevance of your portfolio, and of course your personal and social skills.

You don’t need to go to Uni to be a graphic designer. Plenty of graphic designers in this country have no HE qualifications, however trying to get into the best agencies doing the most rewarding kind of work is very, very hard. Doing that without a degree is even harder.

Finally, go to as many Open Days as you can, ignore statistics and choose somewhere that has the right vibe for you.

Apologies for the grumbling, but having heard from colleagues the kind of questions that are regularly asked at Open Days, I needed to get this off my chest. Perhaps league tables are more reliable in other fields, but for design subjects - ignore them.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about applying to these types of courses.

"Is it traditional?"
No. Do you know any traditional universities?
"Do you know any traditional universities?"

No, i suppose i don't within the art & design sector. However i do know of quite a few 'traditional' courses. Tutors that have been there since the dawn of time, setting the same kind of briefs year after year, with a "if it's not broke, don't fix it" kind of attitude. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, just worth considering when looking at student work, visiting open days etc.

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