5 steps to becoming a communication designer
While it is possible to work as a communication designer without a qualification, getting one (or more) behind you will ensure you know how to wrangle the latest tech, arm yourself with pitching skills, and learn the delicate art of giving and receiving feedback.
1. Get qualified
Most – but not all – employers prefer employees to have a bachelor degree in design. This is typically a three-year course of full-time study. Depending on your individual situation, you can either start with the Bachelor of Design, or ease your way in with a Certificate IV of Design, Diploma of Graphic Design or a Diploma of Design (UniLink). (UniLink is just a different way into the Bachelor of Design.) You can choose to study communication design with our Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) (Honours) which includes an extra year for you to gain industry experience and polish your folio.
Or, if you have previous qualifications and experience and want to focus on the research and theory side of design, you might like our Master of Design.
2. Create a portfolio
As soon as you start designing, set up an online portfolio to start showcasing your work. Pro tip: As a communication designer, it’s especially important to highlight your thinking and process. Clearly describe the design or business challenge, explain your solution or idea, and then present the best images of your work.
3. Get real experience (and real work in your portfolio)
Not everyone is born a natural hustler. But, if you want to pursue a career in the creative industries, getting good at self-promotion is obligatory (sorry!). Ask people you know if they need communication design work done. Whether it be a birthday invitation or a website for a local charity or a pair of ironic coffee mugs for you and your bestie – it all counts.
What’s more, in Swinburne bachelor degrees, you’ll get to experience work integrated learning in actual workplaces (pack that coffee mug).
4. Choose your specialisation
If you’re studying a bachelor degree, you’ll hear a lot about majors. This is your way of tailoring your design degree to suit your interests. If you want to become a visual communication designer, you’d want to choose communication design. But, we also offer industrial design. Plus, in our Bachelor of Design, you can choose from a range of design majors like UX interaction design, motion design, and branded environments.
Think about joining the Design Institute of Australia while you’re studying. You’ll get the chance to meet other design students and professionals – from textile designers through to architects. Future collaborators and mentors? Yes, please.