You usually need an HND (SCQF Level 8) or degree (SCQF Level 9) in graphic design, visual communication or art and design.
For entry to an HND you usually need 1-2 Highers, for a degree, 4-5 Highers, normally including English and Art and Design.
You also need a very good portfolio of artwork.
You could start by taking an NC or NQ (SCQF Levels 4-6) (formal entry requirements not always needed) or an HNC (SCQF Level 7) (1-2 Highers needed for entry) in a graphic design subject. This might get you a job, perhaps as an assistant graphic designer, or lead on to an HND or degree.
Good computer skills are essential.
For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS.
You could work with advertising agencies, design studios, publishing companies or broadcasting companies.
What Does it Take?
You need to be:
artistic, creative and imaginative, with a good eye for colour and design
skilled in using graphics software
ambitious and motivated
accurate, with excellent attention to detail
good at listening to other people and explaining your own ideas
aware of commercial pressures
confident and outgoing, to sell work to clients.
You need to be able to:
accept criticism of your work
keep up to date with new design trends
organise your own workload
work to strict deadlines
understand different printing processes
work alone and as part of a team.
Training is through experience, on the job, learning new skills for projects you work on.
You will need to keep up to date with changes in graphic design software and technology throughout your career.
The Chartered Society of Designers offers a programme of continuous professional development.
You may start as an assistant graphic designer doing routine tasks.
You could then move on to be a graphic designer, then a senior graphic designer, leading a team.
You might move into a management job, which would mean doing less design work.
You might move to a larger company to gain wider experience and perhaps a higher salary.
You might move into design research, a new but growing field, based on either academic or market needs.
With experience, you might work freelance, or set up your own company.