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Graphic Design degrees
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Helvmutter · 15/08/2020 16:32

DD is about to start Y9 so still young and things could change. She is particularly fascinated by typography but also in graphic design in general. Her strengths are more computer than drawing based. I am pretty well versed in the whys and wherefores of HE, but graphics/art courses don't follow those usual rules of course. We can see lists of institutions online, but does anyone have any first hand knowledge? She has a fantastic memory, learns easily and could do very well in a traditional academic subject but obviously I would totally support her following what interests her.

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MarchingFrogs · 15/08/2020 17:58

No personal experience, I'm afraid, but the first place that sprang to mind was the London College of Communication (part of the University of the Arts, London, group - UAL - and formerly the London College of Printing).

www.arts.ac.uk/colleges/london-college-of-communication/courses/undergraduate-courses

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Flowersmakemyday · 15/08/2020 18:00

I don't know where you are in the country, but my dd did her degree at Huddersfield. They have a brand new Arts building and all the tutors are PHD or working towards PHD standard.

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Helvmutter · 16/08/2020 06:31

Thanks, it's such a whole different landscape.

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Miljea · 18/08/2020 10:58

My DS is starting GD next month at Kingston.

He's more into computers than materials, and he made his shortlist based on the highest ranking courses, the best employment outcomes, the general feel of the place, links to industry (visiting lecturers), national awards to students, alumni success stories, college recommendations and of course, content.

Note Kingston really wanted a Foundation Year which DS did (the UAL one) at a local college.

He's been pretty single minded about GD from GCSEs, though he got very good results across the board. He had to spell out at the sixth form admissions as he went for GD 'A'level plus a 2 year Creative Design Technologies BTEC (2 A level equivalent), and a Geog AS! - why he was specialising so much.

He found, as I predicted, in A level, some 'time wasters' thinking they would do GD as their 'easy A level', but he avoided them.

He left with an Astar and Dstar Dstar. 😊

But getting into uni is very dependent on portfolio and interview. Five of them...

Some wanted a digital portfolio followed by an in-person one. Plus an interview.

He looked at:
Edinburgh where GD is shoved in the corner of the arts building,
Loughborough which was only focussed on sports,
Nottingham Trent where he was disappointed at the quality of the displayed work and the uninterested attitude of the lecturers,
UAL School of Communication (old Printmakers) which was in an old, cold building, had too many Chinese girls, and was as wanky as all feck! 😂;
UWE which was good, tho huge fuss about the admissions process, and huge fuss about Y2 being at the Arnofini Gallery which wasn't that impressive, imo;
UCA Farnborough, bit too 'small town';
Leeds Arts which was very impressive, and Kingston, which we visited over two years, and which he got a real 'feel' for. A bit quirkier, a bit more experimental.

He got 5 more or less unconditionals, and settled on KU because it's London.

We were a bit wary of stand alone Arts Unis due to ongoing funding; arts courses as full-range unis potentially get better funding, but you'd be very much Poor Cousin at say Edinburgh.

His one 'regret' was not looking at CSM but he's very quiet and I think would have been lost there.

More or less every ex-poly offers GD but you really need to look at their post-grad employment figures and their national design award stats. Some will take literally anyone.

Personally I and DS know GD doesn't belong in a uni but there are no degree apprenticeships or support infrastructure otherwise, so we can only hope there's a job at the end of it to justify his £45k debt...

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MarchingFrogs · 18/08/2020 11:58

Can't figure a way if finding out who is in the rooms though.

Get her to try Anyone booked accommodation in...? in the appropriate forum on TSR? University of X 2020 starters or whatever. Bit of a wildcard, but might throw up the answer.

Or ask the accommodation office / agent / landlord if they will pass on a message with her details and a request to contact for a pre-made in chat?

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Georgiesgirl · 18/08/2020 12:04

Miljea, "too many Chinese girls"?

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MarchingFrogs · 18/08/2020 12:05

Okay, weird. Last post posted, I thought, elsewhere. But obviously noyShock.

Please ignore...

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Miljea · 18/08/2020 12:35

@Georgiesgirl

Miljea, "too many Chinese girls"?


Yes, you read that correctly. And you know I mean overseas Chinese students-, who, on art courses, are predominantly female; the ones paying the high fees that prop what might otherwise be financially failing unis up.

That reckoning will have already begun.

We can dress it up all we like, but there is a reason why many top public schools carefully word that they put limits on overseas students because overwhelming numbers put local parents off.

DS has a friend at a local uni. It's not at all highly rated but it's in an internationally renowned cathedral city. His friend said that his Business course was overwhelmingly overseas students, the vast majority being Chinese, (and women). They more or less refused to integrate with the others, they lived together throughout, studied together, cooked and socialised together - and only ever spoke English when unavoidable, in class. He says it skewed the experience but it was apparent the uni relied on their fees.

DS is wary of walking into the same arrangement. He has no issue with multi-culturalism, diversity, etc, but a course full of overseas Chinese women isn't that.
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SimplySteveRedux · 18/08/2020 12:39

Keele is highly regarded locally in design subjects, also Derby.

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Miljea · 18/08/2020 12:47

Georgiesgirl

The stats for UAL is 46% overseas students; overall 72% female, drop out rate 6%

Kingston is 19% overseas; 60% female, drop out rate 2%.

I think one reflects our society better than the other.

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Panda368 · 18/08/2020 13:19

Professional designer here - not graphics but have some experience. (9ish years graduated and 8 working in the industry if that makes any difference)

Would recommend after A levels she does a good art foundation year - even if she knows or thinks she knows 100% what she wants to do.

I think a foundation year where you spend some time exploring other disciplines is really useful and makes you more rounded. It also unlearns a lot of the awful elements of A level/GCSE Art/design and makes you think a bit more - plus on a good course you are taught by people who also have an 'active' practice rather than teachers who generally dont have real working knowledge.

Unis:
UWE
St Martins
Brighton
Leeds
Ravensbourne
Falmouth

One thing I would say is a 'general' Graphic design degree is super common and the industry is flooded.
So

  1. she needs to be prepared to be self employed
    • she should make sure she has a specialisation within graphics and ideally do a course related to that - ie - graphics for illustration/print/communication/branding
    • its hard grind for shit money until you have about 5 years under your belt. If she gets a job with an agency it will be 12 hour + days. People can be mean and shit.
  2. As a junior designer you are very dispensable as there are 50 + talented recent graduates who would kill to do it.
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Helvmutter · 18/08/2020 18:06

All interesting stuff.... Panda, I know it's often said the UK is flooded with GD's.... this worries me, especially as she is a traditionally bright child who could probably do Chemistry or German or whatever and make her life more straightforward (and probably earn more)...but equally I don't want to squash dreams. Hopefully things will become more clear over time anyway.

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Divoc2020 · 18/08/2020 18:09

Experience in our wider family for GD courses here this UCAS round.

Only applied to three - Loughborough, Leeds, Reading.
Got standard offers for all three.

Loughborough - interview with physical portfolios. Got on well with the department/staff, but felt that arts in the uni were overshadowed/underinvested in vs. sport

Reading - interview with physical portfolios. Old, run down buildings, but a really welcoming and friendly department. Felt most 'at home' here, but worried that the focus was more traditional (e.g. print/ bookcovers etc) and may not be best for interest in digital design.

Leeds - big, vibrant uni with good facilities. Some not great feedback scores for the course. Good employment links and prospects.

Got offers from all three. Leeds was without interview/ need for portfolio as had done 2 design-related A levels.

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peppermintteadrinker · 18/08/2020 18:10

There are some interesting variations in GD. Eg. Worcester now does Graphic design and marketing. I would imagine as GD is offered in some many arts unis that the course content will vary. Some may be quite traditional, others more webby.

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Helvmutter · 18/08/2020 18:54

Interesting about Reading as they seem to be strong on Typography which is what really interests her.

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catndogslife · 19/08/2020 14:41

Although I agree with the idea of looking a university courses and working backwards, some of the above comments may not be relevant in 5 years time and your dd may have changed her mind by then.
Some of the specifics about specialities could change too as they may be linked to particular staff who may not be there in a few years time. So I wouldn't set your heart on anywhere too early on in the process!
dd took Graphics communication A level as she had similar aspirations to your dd and then changed her mind and is doing another Arty type course in September. She also considered a level 3 extended BTEC in Graphic Design which would have avoided the need to take a Foundation year before starting a degree.
Many of dds friends have gone on to do degrees without doing a Foundation year.
One is at Falmouth and loving it - had Worcester as her second choice!
One is at UWE. The Arnolfini gallery is good by provincial standards and there is a growing creative Arts scene in Bristol.
In terms of GCSEs and A levels, the most flexible subject to take would be Art at GCSE and then specialise further at A level. You would need to ask the school about whether it's possible to take Art/ do an Art project that doesn't just involve (much) drawing.
Photography GCSE is another possibility.
dd also did a level 2 digital media qualification. I am not sure if this is still available due to curriculum reforms, but Cambridge level 2 and Pearson (Edexcel) offer these.

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