Posted in Business
How to Become a Professional Graphic Designer
The world of graphic design is constantly changing to keep up with new markets and technology, thus creating plenty of openings and opportunities for graphic designers. There is a lot to do before you can become a successful professional in the industry, however, so here are some tips to get you started:
Have the Right Qualities
To make it in the business of graphic design, there are a lot of qualities you must possess. You must be artistically gifted, extremely hard working, have the ability to meet deadlines, work within budgets, communicate clearly, and have smart business sense. Oh, and you should also have a lot of creativity and natural talent to boot. In general, you need to be a strong all-rounder who has multiple talents, confidence, and artist talent coming out your ears!
Get the Right Education
How you educate yourself should always depend on your individual style of learning. A student who is talented, focused and hardworking can grow and improve significantly in a short period of time when matched with the proper school. There are plenty of courses out there, ranging from short adobe training courses that help you pick up new tips and tricks, to the full-on four-year graphic design degree program. Always be careful when you pick a program. You should understand why you are going to school, and pick the right one for your skills, goals and temperament if you want to succeed.
If you are not certain that school is the right path for you, but you are confident with your talent and ambition, then self-study may be a better path. The biggest benefit of doing this is that you can also get out there and start working, make connections and build a portfolio while you learn, which are all the things that will get you the most success in the long run.
Find Your Personal Style
In a world with so many graphic designers, finding your own niche and personal style is the only way to make your work stand out. Since you will be judged more based on your portfolio than your educational credentials, you will want to build one up that reflects a unique style that can be delivered by no one but you.
Build Your Portfolio
As mentioned, your portfolio is what will land you jobs, so you will benefit a great deal from keeping yours updated with only the best representations of your work. While you will have a small portfolio upon leaving school, employers and clients can generally tell that those types of samples are fictitious and are a dead giveaway of your inexperience. Smart employers will be more impressed with a couple of well made logos, business cards or other samples that you have done for real local businesses.
Self-Employed versus Employee
Before you start your quest to become the next great graphic designer, you will need to decide which route is best for you: self-employed or employee. While there are pros and cons of each, you will need to take a different route depending on which one you choose. To become employed, the best route for you is the classic degree to internship to junior staff to senior staff route. If you want to be self-employed, however, you will need to develop other skills by taking a leadership, marketing or business course.