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The article I wrote on the pro’s and cons of a graphic design degree has raised a great deal of debate both here on and in social media surrounding the piece. The poll results are now in, and they make both really interesting reading and viewing thanks to the fabulous work of Killer Infographics. Firstly, the question “do you have a degree in design or a related subject” was met with 60% of responders saying yes, 32% no, and 8% considering it. The debate of whether a designer should have a degree or not was tipped just slightly by 52% saying yes and 48% no, so overall it’s still a split jury.

Comments came on the blog giving an insight to why designers are undecided as a whole; Michael Buckingham said “I do not think you need a degree, you need a great portfolio that shows you can not only design but also find solutions with design. Most degrees out there for design are garbage and teach you little more than to how to use Photoshop, resulting in amateur designers who think they understand design.”

Christina Wilkinson echoes this by saying “I think a degree in graphic design should only partially touch the computer as a tool. Art classes, typography classes, how to do sketches for projects and other classes like that should be the major requirements.” Mark adds via comments “It has been my experience that the individuals that say they would hire someone without a degree are not the people screening the resumés and portfolios. If you can get past the screening, then the real merit of your portfolio work and communication skills will be what will land a design position.”


The question of money and the huge debts incurred by students to study design puts a whopping 68% of poll responders off studying. With current student loan debt at over 1 trillion dollars it’s not hard to see why. Justin Vajko says I do have a design degree and I am an in-house designer for a non-profit, but I’m always wondering if it was really worth all the debt. I believe it probably would have been more difficult to get into it without a college education, although I won’t go into that here. The article did touch on something I’ve seen all too often with my classmates: that a degree was a “get into work free card”, but with the costs of studying at an all time high, is the “free” card really free?

We think this debate will continue to rage for some time. What do you think of the results – do they surprise you in any way? Would they help make up your mind whether to study graphic design or not? Let us know.