Former graphic design student here. (although I'm norwegian, I'm pretty sure my experiences still apply to some degree ) When I startet my education, I only knew Photoshop a bit, had barely laid hands on Illustrator, and I didn't know Indesign at all, but I was reasonably good at drawing. If your school and/or fellow students are anything like mine, there's really no need to worry; you will learn a lot, if you put your mind into it, both from from your lecturers, and your fellow students.
But to answer your question, if I understand it completely: There's no -need- to be able to draw (like davinci), but it is a plus in general. Graphic design, visual communication, and advertising is about being able to visualize a concept. There are thousands, if not million of ways to do this, and drawing is just one of them. Rough sketching during the process is often more important than being able to draw pretty. In short: both yes and no.
Being able to draw, or use certain computer programs, is really the same thing as knowing to use a hammer as a carpenter; they are just tools, they mean nothing unless you have the skill knowing what to make/build with them. I have seen people who know Indesign backwards, but what they end up designing is pure sh*t, and people who can design pure gold using napkins and crayons, who barely know how to turn on a computer.
Also, it depends on what kind of field within design you want to work with in the end, if you want to be an illustrator, it's pretty obvious that being able to draw is an essential part. If you want to work with advertising, I'm sure you'll go far with being able to just hammer down some sketches with a marker to get the concept down, and then go from there, if it's Photoshop and Illustrator, or building stuff with cardboard, as long as you know the other basics of the process.
It's really all about using the tools and skills you have available to make the best design you can do. (stupid as it may sound.)
To give some pointers on what you should learn about graphic design in general, I'd suggest the following:
- Typography Learn it. Learn the sh*t out of it. What separates the design kings from the idiots in my eyes, is typographic skill. There is a reason why certain typographic rules work: they have been perfected though centuries by typographic geniuses. There are simple Do's and Dont's. Learn them ,and just stay away from the Dont's. As I see it, graphic design can be boiled down to three things: image, text and concept. If you don't know one of those things, your end result will sooner or later look like shit. Which leads me to the next point:
- Concept and process The concept behind a design is basically what you are trying to accomplish/communicate with your design. A solid concept is almost always better than -just- a pretty polished end result. Google design process and concepts, and read everything you can about them. There are several ways to do things, but there are reasons why certain processes have lasted the tests of time.
If there's one thing I remember from my teacher(s), it's this; ask yourself questions continuously, especially this: "why am I doing this?" Ask it always. Always. Example: Why am I adding this gradient to this background? Does it add anything to the visual message? Why am I using this font? Etc. If you can answer those questions convincingly, you're good. If not, you need to step back a bit and try to see what you are actually trying to accomplish.
Be brutally honest with yourself. Paul Arden said "Do not seek praise. Seek criticism." This is important. Would you like people to sugarcoat your work when you ask them, or would you like how to improve your work, by getting constructive criticism?
- Web My personal nemesis. I can't say too much about it, but this is after all 2013. Though I don't know too much about it, I'm sure anyone under the age of 25 now does, so it shouldn't be much of a problem. But learn about it, both design and certainly not least basic programming, if you don't know already. I can barely know the difference between HTML and CSS, but I'm sure I've been turned down on several jobs just because I didn't know how to code. As much as I'd like to think that people like me who prefer "old school" techniques can survive in a technological world, mostly that's simply not the case in the real world, particularly if you want to end up working at a design firm. It may be different in different parts of the world, though.
Programs: Yes, even though they are "just tools" in my eyes, they are after all very important tools. Fortunately, this is 2013, and not 1956. We have internet, we have youtube, we have Lynda.com, and a ton more of educational videos on the subject. The general advice I can give is; as soon as you've learned something, don't get stuck with it, move along and learn something new. I absolutely hate so-called "creative" people (particularly in illustration and design) who only do the same thing all the effin time. Try something new, always.
Phew, this thing turned into a rather long rant/lecture, sorry about that, and please do ignore my typos. (guess today is keyboard dyslexia day for me) I'm sure I could go on and on, and I'm sure I've forgotten important stuff, but I'll just stop here before I give everyone a goddamn headache. Anyway: good luck with whatever you choose.
Thank you so much, you have no idea how much this has been stressing me out considering I have never really thought I was great at it. As I said, thank you so much, and see this is why I effing love deviantart because people are here to help and cater for your needs, 100/10 thank you!
I agree with whats been said. In my design classes most werent very good at drawing. So long as you have a good design sense and want to learn more (alot more) about typography you'll be fine. And yeah you'll probly be using Adobe Illustrator alot.
Graphic designers work with drawn, painted, photographed, or computer-generated images (pictures), but they also design the letterforms that make up various typefaces found in movie credits and TV ads; in books, magazines, and menus; and even on computer screens. Designers create, choose, and organize these elements-typography, images.
At my college (a pretty good art college) most of the graphic design students really can't draw to save their lives. They still take drawing classes to get better, but they don't come in very good in that area from what I've seen.
It might be helpful for you to take a look at Adobe Illustrator as well, since that program is pretty big in graphic design.
If you're really unsure, call the college and ask if you can talk with one of the graphic design professors to get a better idea of things. Talking to the professors will help you get a better idea of that area of study and if it's right for you.
Most graphic designer I know aren't particularly strong in drawing/illustration. The only thing I'd advise you to have particular enjoyment doing going into the field is typography - don't have to be good at it going in, but you're going to hate design if you don't have even a little fun dealing with type.