Are you considering studying graphic design? Do you want to do something creative but not sure it’s the ‘smart’ thing to do? Our ex-employee 29-year-old Helmi Kemppainen, from Finland, shares her decision to change careers and study graphic design in Italy. Here are her tips for studying design and student life in Italy!
Why did you decide to study graphic design and why Italy?
I had previously studied International Business and Management and was working in Digital Marketing before I realized I wanted to do something more creative and visual for living. I was working alongside UX designers and graphic designers in my previous post as a Marketing Manager when I got fascinated by their creation process. I then gathered my courage to leave my comfortable life in Sydney, Australia, and head to the unknown – starting a new career in Design.
First stop was finding a course that would accommodate my rather short timeframe I allowed myself to devote to studying; after all, I was getting back to school when I already had a career. After weeks of research, I found what I was looking for at FIDI, the Florence Institute of Design International in the cradle of art history that is Florence, Italy. I had visited Italy before and already had friends there, and after years of dealing with visas in Australia, a return to another European country felt like a needed break from all the paperwork.
What were the most challenging and most rewarding things during your studies?
The most challenging were moments of low self-belief. Doubting my own skills led to stressing out about the future – about whether I’d be able to make it as a designer or not. I noticed that unlike when working in Marketing, I took my work much more personally, which made receiving criticism and rejection more difficult, and something I had to work on. It was hard not to compare my own work to others around me. Luckily, I had the most amazing classmates and we all supported each other. We also had to learn to give constructive criticism to each other’s design work – something that I have found very helpful later on during my career working as a graphic designer.
Most rewarding were all the moments of feeling accomplished, and getting positive and supportive feedback, which made me realize I really could be onto something here. In addition to the regular graphic design courses, we also got to study photography and art history, both of which I found fascinating.
Check out a Webinar about Graphic Design in Italy here!
How did you find student life in Italy?
Since my study was in Florence, I can give you insight into this city but also I think concerns for Italy and its people altogether. The food is fantastic, the weather is mostly beautiful, and even though the city is small, I found myself continuously finding new places and things to do during my 9-month stay.
We had regular gatherings and events with other students, and it was very easy to meet new people just out and about in the city! There are a lot of international students and other ex-pats, as well as welcoming locals. I would warmly recommend Florence to anyone, especially anyone interested in art and art history.