Design Week talk to Strohacker Design School about alternatives for student education

New Strohacker Design School hopes to give students an “alternative” route into design

The new college’s three-month intensive graphic design course hopes to get students “ready to walk straight into a junior position”.

By Sarah Dawood September Design Week 21stvSeptember 2016

A new design college has been set up to give students hands-on, vocational experience, and has been backed by the likes of Jamie Hewlett and Vince Frost.

The Strohacker Design School is an independent design college set up at Chichester University in Bognor Regis, which aims to provide an “alternative route” into the design industry, says founder Bill Strohacker.

A “new design hub”

The school also aims to create a “new design hub” in the south east of the UK by attracting local and international students, he adds.

Jamie Hewlett is co-creator of virtual band Gorillaz and comic strip Tank Girl, and Vince Frost is the Australian graphic designer behind the 2008 Venice Biennale branding and covers for magazines such as Wallpaper. Other backers include Tank Girl co-creator Alan Martin, and fine artist Lady Pippa Blake. Strohacker is hoping backers will work with students on projects and host talks.

Full-time and part-time

The school has just two graphic design courses – a three-month full-time course, and a nine-month part-time course.

Both courses are open to A-Level students seeking an alternative to university, and graduates, as well as people who want a career change and current designers.

They aim to “provide students with the exact skills that modern design agencies are looking for”, says Strohacker.

The courses will involve students working in a studio environment tackling live industry design briefs “with more realistic time scales”, says Strohacker.

10 students to a course

Students will work “in small groups” from 9am-5pm, five days a week over three months for the full-time course, or two evenings a week over nine months for the part-time course.

The school will support students after they have completed their studies, by helping them to find employment and providing industry contacts and CV and portfolio workshops for the following year.

It has also partnered with crowdfunding platform Education Aid, which aims to help students from underprivileged backgrounds by enabling them to borrow money to cover course fees interest-free.

An “alternative” route into design

“What we are trying to offer potential students is an alternative to the normal education route,” says Strohacker. “What happens to the kids who don’t make the required entry grades for university, but are no less talented or passionate about design? Or those who cannot afford – or do not want – the increased debt attached to their education?”

The school’s head lecturer is John McFaul, who has 20 years of experience working with brands such as Pepsico, Levi’s and New Balance. Other tutors include illustrators, graphic designers and those working in advertising.

“Competent, inspired, dedicated students”

“We are hoping…we can help to produce competent, inspired, dedicated design students ready to walk straight into a junior position,” says Strohacker.

The courses open in September 2016 and are priced at £6,295 for the full-time three-month course, and £5,995 for the part-time nine-month course. The three-month course runs three times a year. Course spaces are limited to 10 students, and all graduates will receive a certificate.

Jamie Hewlett Gorillaz

Gorillaz illustration, by Jamie Hewlett