It might be a small word, but it certainly has big meaning. We're talking design and all the associated paths, ideas and concepts that come with it. From fashion design to graphic design and interior design (an all the various nuances in between), there are a number of different areas you can specialise in if you decide to go down the design route. Some courses are for enjoyment and held in the evenings or at weekends while others are longer, more in-depth courses that will equip you with a recognised qualification for career progression.
The world of Interiors
If you aspire to the likes of Philippe Starck or Nina Campbell and the names Nicky Haslam, Tara Bernerd and Michael Reeves trip off your tongue with ease, then the world of interior design already holds major interest for you. Interior design is about spaces and the needs of the people that occupy them. It's not just about the aesthetics of a room - how a house or building simply looks - but how the space works on a functional level too taking into account space allocation, building services, traffic flow, furniture, fixtures and surface finishes. There's a lot more to this industry than picking out a colour scheme and commissioning a bespoke sofa, although these are important aspects too.
Short courses are a brilliant way to introduce you to the subject either if you have a serious interest in interiors or want to go on and study further. Courses will help to create a basic foundation in design and technical drawing skills, three-dimensional thinking, space analysis and presentation techniques - all in a really practical, hands-on manner. Think scale drawing, plans and elevations plus floor plans and mood boards; you might want a course that focuses on residential design or look at commercial spaces in detail where attention to safety, access and ergonomics are paramount. Bite size courses in colour, interior decoration and AutoCAD as well as the history of design will all offer fascinating insights.
A recognised qualification such as a BA Hons in Interior Design will cover all aspects of this subject across three or so years and will certainly set you up for an exciting, creative and challenging career in interior design.
Are you fascinated by the cut of a skirt, the swish of sheer silk and the clever and quirky use of colour and print that sashays down the catwalk every year? If so, you might like to take your first steps into the exciting and ever-evolving world of fashion.
An introductory fashion course will offer you the freedom to experiment with your own ideas and creativity and develop your skills through ideas, research and personal aims. Other courses are more structured covering the basics of fashion design such as figure illustration and preparing a portfolio. Pick from a plethora of individual short courses in pattern cutting, haute couture and dress making as well as modules on retail merchandising, historical fashion and many, many more - a plethora of creative skills and expertise you might simply want to use at home or to springboard you into a colourful and fast-moving fashion career.
Plus on some courses, students may even have the opportunity to showcase their work at London's Graduate Fashion Week.
A career in graphic design opens up many paths. You might be interested in product packaging and advertising and utilise your creativity and newfound skills to dream up the next big campaign that will be remembered for years after. Or it could be glossy magazines, websites and newspapers that catch your eye – not simply what the words on the page are reporting, but how features, headlines and blogs can be designed to brilliant and lasting effect by use of a specific typeface, colour or font. Perhaps it will be your magazine cover that stands out from all the rest on the newstands or your ad campaign that wins a clutch of covetable awards.
You must have a passion for all things visual, how to take a client's brief and translate it into an unforgettable poster, book cover or branding. If you're not ready to plunge feet first into graphic design, why not test the water with a short introductory course to cover the basics of this subject. Otherwise, enrol on one of the many full-time BA (Hons), HND or BTEC courses and kickstart an exciting and challenging career.
By Lara Sargent