So You Want to Be a Graphic Designer?

There are a lot of people that think being a graphic designer is easy. Sure it looks fun and is fun at times, but what they don’t see is the behind the scenes work that takes place to make a success of the chosen career field. So to everyone out there who wants to be a graphic designer, here is a short article describing what it’s about. You don’t need a marketing degree to be successful in the field and you definitely don’t have to be Einstein. Let’s dig in.

What does it take?

As with any artistic venture, your success as a graphic designer relies on more than a degree from a highly-ranked university. Art is not mathematical. It cannot be taught in formulas, and it has no set answers. Natural talent is demanded from graphic design students. Artistic imagination and a natural eye for order are instrumental to succeeding both in class and after graduation.

Good design is regulated by order, but is far from formulaic. Beyond natural talent and a grasp on the fundamentals of design, successful graphic designers have panoramic sensibilities. They are naturally in tune with large cultural movements, but are also aware of the details that comprise the trends.

Graphic designers understand white space, leading, shadow and color; and they understand the mass mentality that makes the elements marketable and attractive. A graphic designer or creative director must wield an understanding of the cultural context in which a design operates to successfully create and propel trends.

Graphic designers are at the forefront of campaign launches in marketing, government and entertainment. They structure the visual art that accompanies such cultural movements as presidential campaigns and video games. They design the logo of your newspaper and the widgets on your favorite site.
They are everywhere, and though the field is competitive in certain markets, most recent graduates (with a stellar portfolio) can easily find an entry-level job.

What types of jobs are available?

Location, location, location!

As previously mentioned, the graphic design industry is a ubiquitous field, and there is a constant demand for the skill and insight of graphic designers. To capitalize on the industry, look for jobs nationwide after graduation. Don’t limit yourself to the state from which you graduated or your hometown.

Currently, California offers the most graphic design jobs, but other states of note are Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Washington D.C. area is another forerunner in graphic design positions. (The highest paying and most competitive graphic design jobs are in the employ of the federal government.)

Find your niche.

For some, graphic design may be a foundation on which more advanced skills (such as animation) are built upon. Research requirements in your desired field before completing your education.

  • Print Media – Specialized design services for newspapers, periodicals, books and publishers.
  • Marketing – Creating advertisements, brochures, logos and other branding materials.
  • Web Design – Build templates, pages, style sheets and graphics for online media.
  • Video Game Artist – Create concepts, animate characters, illustrate character models and inanimate objects, specialize in textures.
  • Animator – 3D or 2D animation, creating special effects in films, and many of the things that video game artists do.

Start your own business

Freelancing and entrepreneurship are always an option for graphic designers. If you choose to locate to an area with a limited number of graphic designers (or a limited number of decent graphic designers), the market is prime for your domination. If you are considering being your own boss, a few courses in business will help you with the basics.

Freelancers have to hustle, and they have to be organized. Though the pay can be good, and the work can lead to entrepreneurship, if there is ever a hitch in your income, you may be back to waiting tables for a few weeks. A good test is to freelance while in college.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

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