The dream to become a Graphic Designer often starts at a young age for many creative people. There are many attractions to the design industry. Maybe its the creative outlet you have dreamt of, maybe its the technical aspect of working with design software. For me, it is more about getting results for our clients. There are many things that give young people the inspiration to become a graphic designer. I grew up in a culture of art and creativity, my mother is an artist and my uncle is an architect. These two role models are possibly the biggest influences on my becoming a designer and owning my own graphic design business.
To become a graphic designer I recommends completing a degree at uni although it’s not necessary. Many complete a diploma or certificate in graphic art before making it big in the industry and some even break in with no formal qualifications, simply getting some real life experience and extending on it. This may be true for some however, to make the most of this occupation a degree in graphic design is usually the best option.
It is important to give yourself the best possible start to launch your career in graphic design.
Many young designer look to get their first design job in one of the large, well known design studios however in these positions you are unlikely to get any real design projects for quite some time. If you aim to work in boutique design studios when starting out you will have the opportunity to get your hands dirty on real life design projects early and take your career to the next level quickly and effectively.
Graphic Designers are often employed as pre-press operator or desktop publisher in media houses, advertising agencies and printing companies. Don’t be seduced into taking well-paid yet poor quality jobs in the early stages of your career. The experience you will gain by working in a high quality design studio will far outweigh any short-term pay advantage. The experience you will gain working in the right environment may become the biggest investment in your career that you will ever make.
Always keep your eyes open for opportunities to gain experience designing real life projects. Maybe your Church or a community organisation needs some design work that you could volunteer for. The learning experience of dealing with clients and printers are like gold for the young designer trying to break into the industry.
While studying, many design students don’t gain knowledge and skills required for print-ready production or the technical knowledge and skills necessary for print production. These skills will put you head and shoulders above the rest when applying for junior graphic design positions. If you can prove you understand the print process in interviews it will stand you in good stead.
It is often suggested that graphic designer should specialise in one area, for example, web or print design. It is also often thought that a graphic designer should develop his own style. I have a different philosophy. I believe that design shouldn’t be about me (the designer), it should be about the client so the style should be the client’s. I also believe consistency is extremely important for a brand. What better way than to get the same design team to design all your material. Unless of course you are a huge, international company who can invest thousands of dollars in style guides even before any real project is done. As a young design student, having skills in multiple areas is a very attractive asset for potential employers.
In modern times the graphic designer’s role has shifted from simply creating a design to creating systems and strategies using creativity at a larger scale. Technology has put many processes in reach of the graphic designer that traditionally went to technicians. The role of the designer is much broader now and allows for broad creative thinking. As far as technical skills go it is very important to keep up to speed with the latest software and technology. You will need to adapt your skill-set for the ever-changing working environment.
Design students need to ask themselves where they want to work. Do you want to be a freelancer or full timer? Do you want to work in a particular field? Make sure you have portfolio samples that includes these types of projects but not to the exclusion of all else. Employers want to see that you are capable of designing for a variety of different needs, not just the specialist fields you enjoy.
I hope you have found this article helpful. If you are wanting to get into graphic designer and would like some advice we would be happy to help you, feel free to add some questions or comments in the section below. We would also love you to comment on other articles on this website.