How to choose a Design degree

Choosing Design degree

So, you’re eager to jump into design but unsure which direction to take? If you’re confident about your creative aspirations, but less sure about the specifics, this article is for you.

We’re here to help you navigate the diverse field of design, provide insights into the various design disciplines and support you in choosing the right design degree.

What design fields can you study?

There are countless design fields you can consider studying or working in. Excitingly, design now is seen as one of the most important competitive advantages a business can leverage. So, designers with the skills to mesh creative intelligence and design thinking are in demand. These are some of the Design courses you could explore:

What skills does a designer need?

The designer skillset is a broad one. In general you will need to refine your capabilities across the areas of:

  • Creativity
  • Design thinking
  • Systems thinking
  • Storytelling
  • Material use
  • Problem-solving
  • Colour theory
  • Commercial and entrepreneurial acumen

Beyond these foundational abilities, the soft skills that bring ideas to life are equally vital:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Listening
  • Time management

Most importantly, we believe that designers produce their finest work when they enjoy what they do. So, remember to embrace play and experimentation in your creative process.

What do you learn in Creative Media?

Creative media merges design with technology to craft stories and forge digital experiences, playing a vital role in the gaming, entertainment and advertising sectors in particular.

Working in the creative media industry demands proficiency in 2D and 3D design, animation, visual effects (VFX) and motion design, along with the skill to utilise these technologies to animate narratives vividly.

You’ll engage in processes like concepting, modelling, texturing, rigging and animation. Essential skills include mastery of software such as Adobe Substance, Blender or Maya, Houdini and Unreal Engine, a solid understanding of anatomy and physics for lifelike movements, and a flair for visual storytelling.

What do you learn in Fashion Design?

Fashion Design is centred on crafting clothing and accessories that embody a specific brand’s identity – potentially even your own brand. In this field, your tasks will include trend analysis, range planning, pattern making, garment construction and overseeing production.

Fashion marketing and enterprise management demand a comprehensive understanding of customer needs and industry practices.

To excel, skills in fashion illustration, market research, fabric and textile knowledge, proficiency in design software such as Adobe Illustrator and robust branding and communication abilities are essential.

Fashion designers looking at sketches

What do you learn in Graphic and Communication Design?

Graphic Design is the art of visual storytelling through typography, imagery and layout. You might find yourself designing logos, posters, advertisements and various branding materials, websites or apps.

Essential skills for this field include proficiency in design software such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, a solid grasp of colour theory and composition, and the ability to effectively communicate messages through visual media.

Communication design zeroes in on the creation of visual messages to impart information or stir emotions, involving projects like infographics, editorial layouts, packaging and brand identity systems.

For this specialty, you’ll need storytelling prowess, an understanding of typography and layout, proficiency in design software such as the Adobe Creative Suite and insights into the demographics and psychographics of your target audience.

What do you learn in User Experience (UX) Design?

UX (User Experience) and Web Design involve creating intuitive and visually engaging digital experiences for website and app users. On-the-job tasks may involve wireframing, prototyping, conducting usability tests and designing user interfaces.

You’ll need to develop an understanding of user psychology and behaviour, demonstrate proficiency with design and prototyping tools such as Sketch or Figma, possess knowledge of web technologies like HTML and CSS and pay meticulous attention to usability details.

At the core of interaction and systems design lies UX research, with a focus on developing usable and user-centred experiences. To excel, you should aim to refine skills in concept development, engage in iterative design practices and prototyping and perform thorough validation and user testing.

What do you learn in Interior Design and Architectural Design?

Interior Design is dedicated to crafting functional and aesthetically appealing spaces for both residential and commercial applications. You’ll tackle every facet of design and planning, from spatial arrangement to selecting lighting, acoustics, furniture and decor.

Architectural design involves developing proposals for physical spaces. With computational architecture, you can leverage software to push the boundaries of building design creatively and efficiently.

You’ll need a diverse skill set that includes material science, engineering practices, 3D modelling, and a strong grasp of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for design and building performance.

Both disciplines demand creativity in spatial design, knowledge of building codes and regulations, proficiency with tools like AutoCAD or SketchUp, and an understanding of materials and finishes.

Interior Designer on computer modelling spaces

What do you learn in Product Design?

Do you often catch yourself brainstorming new products, taking over the kitchen bench to assemble that “thing” in your mind, or tirelessly seeking ways to enhance how things are done? If so, you might well be an emerging product or service designer.

While product and service design are closely related yet distinct fields, both aim at problem-solving. Effective design is crucial not only for making that “thing” commercially viable but also for ensuring your solution is socially beneficial.

To succeed, you’ll require proficiency in critical thinking, design analysis, research and design thinking. Gaining expertise in developing customer journey maps or service design blueprints is also crucial. By honing these skills, you’ll be ideally positioned to create innovations that could, quite literally, change the world.

What do you learn in Game Design?

Game Design involves conceptualising and developing interactive experiences for players across various platforms. As a game designer, you’ll engage in tasks like devising game mechanics, level design, storytelling and balancing gameplay.

Success in this field requires a blend of soft skills and technical expertise, encompassing creativity, familiarity with game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine, insight into player psychology and proficiency in coding languages such as C# or C++.

What do you learn in Software Design?

There are countless creative aspects of coding that align well with systems design practice. The role of a programmer extends beyond just writing code; it involves extensive research and design of solutions to ensure that the resulting software is efficient, scalable and well-optimised. In fact, the ingenuity involved in software programming is often likened to a form of art.

To become a proficient software designer, you should focus on sharpening a variety of skills. This includes problem-solving, data design, algorithm design, proficiency in version control, familiarity with various development frameworks and skills in analytical assessments.

Plus, it’s critical to secure your code and design it with the principles of the Secure Software Development Lifecycle (SSDLC) models in mind. This will ensure that security is integrated throughout the development process.

Software Engineerers coding

How to choose the right Design degree

If you’re uncertain about which Design degree to pursue but are drawn to a creative career, starting with a foundational course is a wise choice. A Diploma of Design offers an excellent introduction, focusing on the essential principles of design. Understanding these foundational elements is crucial for versatility in your career, allowing for a seamless transition into various design fields.

We suggest opting for a diploma program that includes a range of design specialisations. This will introduce you to potential interests you might not have previously considered, including careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, architecture or creative media.

For those with a passion for technology, a Diploma in Information Technology might be the perfect match, especially if you’re inclined towards Software Design.

Completing your diploma provides you with a deeper understanding of your preferred subjects and, equally important, those you do not favour. From here, you can refine your focus and enhance your expertise in specific areas.

Choose online Design courses

Attending campus may not be possible for everyone, so studying online is a perfect way to earn your degree while balancing other commitments and staying near your home base. Online learning provides flexibility, and you still earn the same qualifications as on-campus students.

Check our Design and Creative Technology Courses to learn more
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