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HOME > Useful Knowledge : Points for choosing a school

Points for choosing a school

A must for working adults looking to study at design schools!

Points for choosing a school
you can attend while working

Points for choosing a school

Recently people's working styles have been greatly changing. There are many people who are taking note of designer jobs where it is easy to work at home or remotely.
Here we introduce some points for choosing a good design school, as well as design schools that are good for working adults to attend. This information is useful for not only people aiming to become designers while they work another job, but also people who want to start studying design in between other duties such as chores and childcare.

Points for choosing a design school you can attend while working

Choosing a suitable design school is not that simple. There are several criteria for choosing, such as what level you want to study up to, what kind of schedule you want to study on, and what field you want to study design in.

First, have a concrete image of your study objectives and your commuting preferences, and choose your school based on your most important conditions.


Choosing by your study objective

If you plan to seriously study design and change careers from another industry, we recommend vocational schools that have strong job hunting support.

If you just want to acquire good enough skills to make design your side job, short-term intensive courses lasting a few months may be your best option.

If you just want to learn the basics and apply them to creating materials in your everyday life, choosing a culture school to attend where you can feel like you’re really learning something is a good idea.


Choose by your commuting preferences

If attending a school on weekdays or during the day is too difficult because you are working or taking care of children, there are options for schools you can attend on weekends or in the evenings. Weekend and evening courses have less time slots available than standard courses, so choose a school that you can attend for a long time, and where you can acquire the same skills as a standard course.

Recently, some schools that offer online lessons have been appearing. Online classes have inexpensive lesson fees and can be completed at home. So one benefit is that you can take them at convenient times for you. On the other hand, you will not be able to communicate with others and get discussion experience, which is important for design jobs. The disadvantage here is that your studying may become more passive.


Choose by type of design you want to study

Some occupations come to mind when thinking of design work. These include graphic designers, web designers, editorial designers, game designers, and clothes designers. Besides these, design jobs exist in all kinds of places in our everyday lives.

Have a specific idea of what kind of design job you want to work in. Then choose a school where you can gain the skills and experience needed for the design job you're aiming for.

The best design schools to attend while working in Japan’s 5 major cities

For graphic design, which is a popular field among design jobs, there are many schools to study at, so you have a lot of options.

Here, we introduce design schools that are good for attending while working in Japan’s 5 major cities – Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka.


Vantan Design Institute Career College / Graphic Design Course

Their graphic design course has a curriculum limited to weekends, so it is easy for working adults and housewives to attend. Students can attend once a week for a minimum of 4 hours total.

Here, you can learn the DTP skills required in design production workplaces, basic operation of graphic design applications on Mac and PC, and digital expression skills. You can also acquire a wide range of skills for production items for actual clients, for the total design process from flat planes to three dimensional objects. The contents of this course are recommended for both those who want to further their career in their current workplace and people who want to start design as a side job.

Those who are aiming to acquire skills good enough for changing careers and for business can choose the Graphic Designer Comprehensive Course, where you can study graphic design, artwork, and illustrations.

Graphic Design Course

Lesson period:6 months / 1 year

Lesson days:1 time a week / Saturday 9:30am - 1:30pm, Sunday 9:30am - 1:20pm, 2:30pm - 6:20pm

Tuition:6 months 430,000 yen / 1 year 690,000 yen

Graphic Designer Comprehensive Course

Lesson period:1 year

Lesson days:1 time a week / Sunday 9:30am - 1:20pm, 2:30pm - 6:20 pm

Tuition:1 year 1.22 million yen


Hokkaido College of Art and Design / Comprehensive Design Molding Course

They have a nighttime graphic design major course, where over a 2-year period you can learn design basics and the necessary skills to implement what you learned. The courses are held 3 times on weekdays from 6:30pm to 9:30pm, making this school a good choice for those whose work starts and ends early.

You can directly experience design work through practical assignments, such as in print design basics, typography, concept expression methods from the necessary concept formulation for design jobs, CI planning, and sales promotion.

They offer plenty of support for obtaining qualifications, and for getting a job in the design industry. Their students come here with various goals in mind, from finding work, changing careers, and making the most out of their personal interests.

Graphic Design Course

Lesson period:2 years

Lesson days:3 times a week / Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6:30pm - 21:30pm

*School is open Monday to Friday even outside of lesson hours

Tuition:Entrance fee / 80,000 yen 1 year / 351,000 yen 2 years / 351,000 yen

*Plus other textbook fees, etc.


HAL Nagoya / Graphic Design Course

The HAL Nagoya College of Technology and Design has graphic design courses you can attend in the evening.
The lessons are held 3 times a week and from 7:00pm to 9:15pm, so even working adults can attend when their work is over for the day.

From design basics, you can learn about production in various mediums, including CG technology, magazines, advertisements, and websites. You can improve your practical skills here, making this school recommended for people who are aiming to find design jobs or change careers.

In addition, with their complete employment guarantee system, you can receive one on one instruction about job hunting, and on the off chance you cannot find a job after graduation, the school will bear a max of 2 years’ worth of the necessary tuition until you can find a job. (*For those who are under 40 when graduating).

Graphic Design Course

Lesson period:2 years

Lesson days:3 times a week / Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 7:00pm - 9:15pm

Tuition:1st year / 410,00 yen 2 years / 50,000 - 75,000 yen in addition to the tuition listed on the right

*Plus other textbook fees, etc.


Osaka Mode Gakuen / Evening Career Progression Course

Mode Gakuen has career progression courses that you can attend in the evenings, 2 times a week from 6:30pm – 8:45pm.
In their graphic design course, you can learn the necessary basic skills for design and various design expressions from instructors who are active on the front lines. Course content includes CG exercises, graphic techniques, design theory, DTP design, logo design, packaging design, and advertisement design.

You can select courses that are suitable for any learning objective or lifestyle, including people who are seriously aiming to become professionals, and people who want to expand the breadth of their interests.

Graphic Design Course

Lesson period:1 year

Lesson days:2 times a week / Tuesday, Friday 6:30pm - 8:45pm

Tuition:323,000 yen (Annual total)

*Plus other textbook fees, etc.


Toyo Insitute of Art and Design / Night School Graphic Design Course

The Toyo Institute of Art and Design’s Night School Graphic Design Course can be taken from 6:30pm – 9:00pm.

During lessons in the 1st term, you get a basic education in design, and learn idea generation skills, molding skills, and development skills in graphic design, as well as basic knowledge of web design. You also acquire basic skills in programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and AdobeXD, which are necessary for working in design.

The 2nd term is divided into two course options – one for graphic design, and another for web design. In the graphic design course, you can learn design proposal skills in areas such as advertising, magazines, and sales promotions, through practical steps.
This course is attended by many students who learn design as part of their business skills.

Night Class Graphic Design Course

Lesson period:1 year

Lesson days:Unknown / 6:30pm – 9:00pm (Night Class)

Tuition:480,000 yen (Annual total)

*Other test dates, graduation fees, etc.

Where do graphic designers work?

Many graphic designers find employment at advertising agencies and advertisement production companies.
Designers at advertising agencies have many opportunities to be involved in company advertisements from the planning stages. Advertising agencies have many chances for designers to make a name for themselves, so they have a glorious image that make them popular places to work at.

It is common for advertising production companies to do the actual production upon request from agencies. However, depending on the company there are jobs where you can get involved at the top levels of planning, including ones where you think of plans as a partner of the agency, and ones where you receive work requests directly from a company.
One merit of production companies is that you can steadily and diligently build up a track record over time.

However, as the design industry works to serve clients, it is difficult to adjust schedules, and it’s not rare for designers to work very long hours.
If you are aiming for both a stable salary and good work life balance, there are options out there for in-house designer jobs at companies.
This path is recommended for people who want to take a careful, up-close look at a company’s services and products, and who want to grow a company through design.

In addition, for graphic designers who are highly skilled, freelance and working independently may be good options.
Designers who have confidence in their track record, business skills, and communication skills may want to try striking out on their own.

**The information here regarding course content, course times, and course materials for each school is accurate as of April 2021. For more up to date details, please check out each school’s website.

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