Artevelde UC is one of the largest University Colleges in Belgium that offers graphic design related courses. All campuses lay in or around Ghent, which is why I moved to Ghent in my first year of uni. And however LUCA School of Arts and KASK are two other perfectly fine educational entities tayloring towards art and design, I opted to start my bachelor studies at Artevelde UC.

At first

I decided to go for Artevelde as my good friend Laurent, aka itsmagichere, was studying there at the time. And while he wasn’t ecstatic about his time there, he said the courses were fine. He was my only reference, so my decision was made.

My first year in university was amazing, I lived my best life, I now studied the craft I had loved for years, for the first time I would live on my own and all of my best friends lived nearby. I wasn’t quite fond of the actual studies however, for the first year and a half I often felt like I wasn’t really learning much if anything at all. I now realise that because I had already been pursuing graphic design for a few years independently, I had developed a stubborn know-it-all attitude. Since there was no foreknowledge required to start your bachelor studies at Artevelde UC, courses felt very slow and repetitive at first, which resulted in me skipping nearly all of my classes. I would still pass all of my exams with minimal effort and often thought about dropping out.

But now

Just over a year into the studies, classes started getting more and more interesting. Subject matter got more and more relevant to what I was doing with Haen Creative and my relation with education started to change for the better. We were being taught about all the different printing processes, marketing, technical specifications of paper, webdesign and development, the ins and out of branding, copyright and trademark law,... things that may sound boring to some, but these courses were the ones that truely added value.

I later discovered that I had developped much more technical and profound groundworks than I would have at KASK or LUCA, while those 2 universities focus more on the creative and craft side of design. That’s the one big reason, against many con’s, why I would still probably recommend Artevelde over it’s competitors. I spent last summer at a design agency in Ghent and overheard that most agencies and brands are constantly on the lookout for Artevelde students.

Final thoughts

There are pro’s and con’s to each decision, just like there are for each school. I’ll list some below, but at the end of the day, what’s really important to know is that in our field your portfolio is your biggest edge. No matter where or even if you studied, if you’ve got a solid portfolio to back your resumé, you’re golden. I’m wrapping up my studies at Artevelde UC in a few months and I’m glad I pulled through to the end. I will be graduating with a bachelor in Cross Media Design, specialisation Graphic Design.

Next year I’m planning on extending my studies with a post-graduate study at LUCA for Brand & Packaging design. This way I will hopefully end up with degrees from both most renowned design schools in Ghent, along with a solid portfolio and resumé.

Summary

Pros

  • No prior knowledge necessary
  • Very broad curriculum
  • Focus on technical and theoretical knowledge
  • Favored bachelor degree in professional world
  • Very constructive education

Cons

  • Less focus on creativity
  • Less focus on craft
  • Campus is located outside of Ghent’s city centre
  • No ‘famous’ professors
  • First year is very general and picks up speed timidly