10 signs you need to go back to design school

You've worked hard to build a successful career in the creative industries, but instead of everything going according to plan, you keep tripping up and feeling as though you’re moving backwards instead of forwards.

At Shillington, we find it’s perfectly normal to sometimes suffer from a lack of skills and confidence. However, there’s no need to fret! If you’re feeling out of your depth, then consider the following signs that might suggest you’d benefit from a trip back to design school.

1. You feel inexperienced

If you’re worried that you don’t have enough projects under your belt, what harm can it do to gain a little more experience? You don’t have to quit your job; you can find a part-time course that will fit around your career and give you an invaluable boost.

At Shillington, we run part-time courses over nine months – so you can easily squeeze in extra learning without handing in your notice. Plus you’ll get brownie points from your boss who’ll be super impressed by your willingness to improve.

2. You keep tripping up over the same problems

We all come across common obstacles in our work. Tackling them is how we learn and grow. But if you keep stumbling over the same issues again and again, it might be time to take a refresher course. You can learn from experts in your field and put your mind at ease when you discover new ways to progress.

3. You’re suffering from constant self-doubt

We all have days when we feel as though we’re not good enough, but if it’s becoming a daily occurrence perhaps it’s time to do something about it? Adding skills and experience will only build your confidence, helping you overcome any negative thoughts that might be holding you back.

4. You’re not securing your perfect job

You’ve graduated, got all the right skills and enjoyed a little work experience to boot. So why aren’t you landing your dream design job? Perhaps you need a little more practice, and this is where a design course might help. Yes, it’s more investment of time and money to study – but it will likely pay off when your CV is ticking all the right boxes.

5. The feedback from clients hasn’t been great

Nothing knocks confidence like bad feedback. If clients don’t like your ideas, perhaps a trip back to design school will show you how to make them happy? A critical eye on your work will give you the constructive criticism you need to improve and ensure clients will sign on the dotted line in future.

6. You’re in the wrong job

We all make mistakes in our career. Rest assured, no matter which path you choose, you’re more than capable of finding the right one. But getting there might mean a rethink in your training.

This is what happened with our own Shillington graduate, Stephen Grace. After school, he enrolled on a law degree, but it didn’t feel right. He then landed a job in design and went from there. Although self-taught and doing quite well, Stephen decided to take a part-time course with Shillington, so he would gain the missing skills he needed to make it as a designer. As a result, he now works at leading studio Christopher Doyle & Co.

7. Your portfolio isn’t up to scratch

Whether you’re struggling to win more freelance work, or convince an agency owner that you’re the right person for the job – your portfolio might be holding you back if it doesn't have enough work to demonstrate your talent. A practical design course could be just the ticket to help you polish your portfolio.

That’s exactly what Stephanie Antill did when she came to Shillington in 2014. She was already university-trained but wasn’t 100% happy with her portfolio, and so enrolled on our full-time course. After graduation, she landed a job at Lorna Jane. You could be in her shoes too.

8. You lack confidence in certain fields

It’s likely that we all have gaps in our skills. If you’ve been scratching your head over a certain aspect of design lately, then a course could help to iron out any uncertainties. Knowledge is power, as they say. What better way to feel more confident in your profession than to seek out the answers to those niggling questions?

9. You feel out of touch

With technology constantly changing and creativity forever evolving, even the most experienced graphic designer might struggle to keep up. If you’ve been feeling out of the loop lately, then perhaps a refresher course will do just the trick? At Shillington, we employ the biggest and brightest design talent this industry has to offer, so you’ll sit down and learn all the latest skills and trends from the very best.

10. You’ve lost all passion

There’s no getting around it; you’re just not enjoying your work anymore. You might have lost the hunger for design but that doesn’t mean you’ll never regain an appetite for creativity. Going back to education might be the kick up the butt you need. Where you’ll work with other eager students and hopefully rediscover your love of design.


If any of the above signs resonate with you, then make sure you consider Shillington’s design courses – either three months full-time or nine months part-time. Check the website for further details.

Main image: Courtesy of Adobe Stock