Graphic design is a very exciting career path to follow but you may find yourself wondering if your skills are up to scratch and what the day-to-day job entails. If you have a creative imagination and are technically minded, you might believe you meet the demands of the profession but don’t know what the next step should be. This quick guide and our handy infographic will help you on your way.
1) Build a Portfolio
Every graphic designer has a portfolio of their best work to show to prospective employers and clients. Your designs should be in a variety of media, materials and styles to showcase your versatility. Use different lettering and imaging to prove you understand how to create designs for different audiences and different purposes. You should keep a collection of hard copies of your work as well as maintaining a current collection of work online. Consider creating a blog and contributing to other relevant blogs to help promote your designs within the industry.
2) Get qualified
Most graphic designers will have a relevant qualification. Employers and clients expect this and studying is also a great opportunity to learn about the profession and build an impressive portfolio. Don’t hesitate to approach institutions to ask about courses that could be right for you. Not everyone is able to attend university but there are plenty of other options to accommodate everybody’s requirements. Flexible, online distance learning is becoming an increasingly popular option for study.
3) Learn the skills
Familiarise yourself with the tools you will need to complete your job such as relevant graphic design software. All professional graphic designers will know how to use Adobe Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. You should also have good drawing skills to sketch rough designs at an early stage to discuss with employers or clients.
4) Get work experience
Building a successful career in graphic design can be a slow process and you may need to offer your services for free to get a foot in the door. The more experience you have, however, the easier it will be to climb up the ladder and you can expect your salary to rise with you.
5) Choose your path
Graphic design is split almost in half in terms of designers that work on a freelance basis and designers that work for a larger company. Both experiences vary. A freelancer will spend most of their time sourcing new business and pitching to clients and an employed designer will have to work more as part of a team, gaining approval from the employer as well as from clients.
6) Know your trade
Follow the latest industry trends on social media and in the trade press to keep up to date with the latest tools, development and styles. Network with other professionals online and at work to gather a useful list of contacts that can help you throughput your career.
Take a look at our exclusive infographic about the graphic design industry…