Natural Design Talent vs. Design Degree

Whenever we talk about any field of creativity, a never-ending discussion pops up that either a natural talent is good for a creative carrier or a proper qualification should be there in order to excel in the field. Similar is the case with a carrier in graphic designing, which am important branch of creative profession.

This discussion has been going on for ages and till date no one has come to a solid conclusion. Some people think that in order to be a successful designer, one has to be talented otherwise; he won’t be able to achieve his goals, no matter how highly qualified he is. This group also says that a person can learn and improve with the passage of time. You will also find a lot of people who think that getting a degree in designing is a lot more important than being naturally talented. Some designers can just design a few things like glossy brochures, while others have a diversity of talent and can successfully create websites, print layouts and logos.

You will find a lot of graphic designers who have been through proper designing courses questioning themselves if the whole degree idea was worth it or not. The reason is that they might have seen a lot of senior successful designers without having a professional degree and such scenarios always brings a thought in people’s mind i.e. what is more important – being naturally talented or earning a design degree with a lot of efforts and expenses.

You will hear a lot of designers saying that they are ‘God gifted’. You will also hear a lot of designers telling the importance of degree. So, who wins? Let’s find out if there can be a winner or if both of them can be equally successful.

Being Self Taught – Advantages & Disadvantages

Earlier, because of lack of access, people had no option but to go to universities or take up various courses in order to learn something. However, with the passage of time, due to advancement in technology and accessibility of things, a lot of people are helping themselves by learning on their own. I have seen a lot of designers who have worked hard to learn designing because they thought they had a spark in themselves and it can be improved. I personally feel, it is great to learn on your own as this shows your passion and the only people who will make an effort to learn on their own are the ones who are naturally talented because they think they just need to pick up a few things and they are perfect.

An advantage of being talented and being self taught is that you do not have to go to a school. But, when it comes to practical life, you will have to face a lot of issues. These days, employers want to see your degrees before anything else and if you do not have one, they won’t hire you. You might be perfect for the job, you might know your work exceptionally well but still someone who has just gotten a degree will get selected. Why? A simple answer to this would be, he has a degree which is something you do not have. So, learning on your own will obviously improve your natural talent but professionally, it might not take you anywhere.

Going to College – Worth it or Not Worth it?

If you have been to design college, I am sure you must have asked yourself this question at least a hundred times that if coming to design college was a right decision or not. In colleges, you will find two kinds of people. One who thinks that they have learn a lot by coming to a design school and this will help them a lot in their careers. Secondly, you will also find people who will tell you that it is not worth it and they have just wasted their time and money.

If you really want to be a successful designer, you need to understand a few things. The most important one to keep in mind is that designing is a lot more than writing codes. Joining a college will help you in polishing your natural skills. Plus, the new developments in the field of designing that you are not aware of will be taught to you. Eventually, when you will see things improving, you will realize that going to college for a degree was definitely worth it.

Balance of Natural Talent and Efforts

If you think that your natural talent alone can help you in becoming successful or if you think that your design degree alone will help you achieving goals, you are definitely not on the right track. In order to be successful, one needs to keep a balance in everything. Yes, things can be learn with the passage of time but if you are not naturally talented, things would be difficult for you. Remember is said, difficult not impossible. Same goes for naturally talented designers that your natural talent can take you to some level but at some point of time in your career you will need to a have degree.

Practice Makes a Man Perfect

It doesn’t matter if you are a designer who is naturally talented or a designer who has learner designing by going to school. The both kinds of designers will have to accept the fact that the will only improve by practicing their art as practice makes a man perfect. If you won’t practice whatever you have read in your school, then going to school was certainly not worth it. Similarly being over confident and think that “You-Know-It-All” just because you can come with some creative ideas instantly will take you to nowhere. You will have to work hard, practice a lot if you want to carve a niche for yourself in the field of designing.

Degree vs. Talent

So the question remains if one really needs to go to college in order to be a successful designer. The answer is again Yes & No. Your natural talent will definitely help you a lot when it comes to conceptualization of ideas however, in order to execute your creative ideas, you will have to go to college and earn yourself a degree. Going to college will not only make you professional but you will also learn a lot of new things. At your graduation day, you will feel that you are ahead of everyone else which is in fact true. The combination of school learning and your natural talent can take you the heights of success. Also, you will have the degree in hands so no employer would be able to reject you on that base.

So, if you are a designer who is passionate about his work, I would humbly suggest you to go to a design school and earn yourself a degree. Learn about the field you have always loved. A perfect combination of natural talent and degree will make you unstoppable.

The Conclusion

Well, there cannot be a single winner for this discussion. We all know that being naturally talented in the field of creativity in general, and graphic designing, in particular, is a blessing in itself. However, this in no way means that a design degree won’t help you. Your natural talent will definitely help you a lot in your creative thinking process however, in order to use various applications and tools, you will have to go to a proper designing school and learn things.

Yes, being talented naturally will make things easier for you. To be true, designing is not a rocket science and anyone can do it. For instance, writing is considered to be not everyone’s cup of tea but if a person practices professional writing himself, he can definitely become a good writer. Similarly if you have a passion for designing, you can learn it with the passage of time if you are not blessed naturally, and if you are blessed naturally then a degree and give a direction and synergize your skills well.


  1. Pingback: Natural Design Talent vs. Design Degree December 2, 2010
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