The four foundations of good design, and why design ‘short-courses’ don’t cut it.

When it comes to graphic design, the marketplace is literally swarming with designers looking to whip together your business’ new brand, logo, business card or website.

But like so many industries, graphic design is a service where you ultimately get what you pay for, and there is a strong line of distinction falling between those with university qualifications and those without.

While there are always exceptions to the rule and some great natural design talent out there, the difference either side is usually vast, and here’s why:

Consider this all-too characteristic pitch to budding designers from one of the many short course institutes available in Australia.

“Are you yearning for a creative career but worried about starting from scratch” it reads, promising delivery of relevant industry skills and a ‘polished portfolio’ in only three months.

Three months.

It is simply impossible to gain a solid grasp of design fundamentals in such a short time frame.

While a short course will teach you the basics of colour, type and design software principals, it condenses so much from the rich world of good design that a student becomes embroiled in nothing more than a crash course of basic skillsets.

There’s a fitting analogy we like to use here at MediaFox when talking to clients about good design – knowing how to use an oven doesn’t make you a chef.

Here’s the top four things that set a tertiary qualified graphic designer well ahead in their field:

An ability to critically analyse own work

A good designer has the ability justify every design decision.

They need to quickly recognise if their art – for whatever reason – is simply not up to scratch, and move onto their next idea or risk presenting a client with a substandard product.

A meticulous eye for good design

A good designer has a comprehensive understanding of the interrelation between type, font, layout, branding and identity.

They bring measured consideration and a developed eye to every design decision, ensuring harmonious and relevant layout.

Full immersion in design principles

Only a three-year degree equips a gives you the time and space to fully immerse yourself in the broad spectrum of best practice method, theory and approach.

While everyone brings his or her own flair to their style, good designers need in-depth knowledge of the ever-changing rulebook of design that works and what does not.

A true design voice

A degree gives you the opportunity to experiment, explore and hone your flair and talent, and make mistakes in a controlled academic setting.

Tertiary education provides mentoring from the some of the industry’s best, fostering an environment in which a designer can fully realise their own visual voice, ready to take to the marketplace.

Degree educated design is the difference between ‘winging it’ on the job and confidently delivering on the next client’s needs, armed with a well-rounded knowledge of what works for the client, and what does not.

A final thought

Your design choice is ultimately going to reflect highly on your business’ image and public profile. When considering your design needs, ask yourself; does your future designer have the right skills and support around her/him?

At Media Fox, we recognise and deliver good design, in the very fullest sense of the word. Read our blog post on how copywriting and other skill sets support the full design process.