How to Develop a Career in Graphic Design
Many young designers often struggle to believe that they can really make a living doing something that they love, but many are finding that a career in graphic design is not as unattainable as they imagined. In order to carve out a career in this highly competitive field, aspiring graphic designers need to possess the right skills together with a heady determination to succeed. Fortunately, more and more organisations are starting to realise the importance of good design and therefore jobs in the field are not entirely elusive. In fact, there are more openings in graphic design than in any other area of design.
Plus, there's the opportunity to work on a freelance basis, which is a great way to build up a strong portfolio of work. It's not too surprising that organisations are beginning to invest in graphic design – it reaches into everything we do and the skilled hand of a graphic designer is seen everywhere we turn. It is 'visual problem solving' in that it is planned to serve a particular purpose. From websites to billboards to magazine covers to product packaging, it is used every day in every way.
To get an idea of the types of graphic design jobs you could look at Source Recruitment.
Build your Graphic Design Skills
Any aspiring graphic designer needs to possess a particular skill set in order to successfully develop a career in the field. Drawing and presentation skills are a must, as they are very much at the heart of graphic design. The ability to handle colours, lettering and patterns is also invaluable. However, new technology ensures that a good level of computer literacy and competence in mathematics is also vital. Of course, the skills you will require will largely depend on which area of graphic design you want to move into i.e. advertising, web development, animation etc.
Having said this, the very best graphic designers will possess a broad, comprehensive skill set enabling them to move into one of many areas. This is highly attractive for employers who may want their new hire to work across a variety of roles. It can be said that many of the skills required to be a graphic designer are innate and stem from raw talent and this is probably true in some part. Yet further learning is usually required to develop a working and in-depth knowledge of these skills. There are various courses available and of course a qualification to your name can make you a more attractive proposition to organisations looking for a knowledgeable entry-level designer.
Develop your Unique Style
Developing your own style is one of the most important parts of forging a career in graphic design. Chances are, you moved into the field because you wanted make a living from doing what you love. So you should should try to do just that. If you have a preference for clean, flat lines and simple colours, try to focus on and develop that style. A wide and encompassing skill set will definitely benefit you throughout your career, yet developing your own style is what will define you as a designer and what will shape your career. You want people to see your designs and know without doubt that it is your work. Don't be afraid of making a style your own. Study the works of designers that you aspire to be like and devour their designs. Whether these designs are in newspapers, magazines, online or on the back of a cereal box (we already know that graphic design is absolutely everywhere!), you'll learn a lot about your own style from studying the pros. There's no doubt about it that drawing inspiration can foster your own creativity.
Any keen graphic designer looking to develop their career needs to start building a portfolio right away. Not only will you need one to apply for any sort of graphic job but a portfolio challenges you to make critical judgements of your own work. Which work is best and which isn't good enough? And why? If there are pieces that won't be part of your portfolio, don't throw them away. Even you hate a piece, save it. Look back it at some point in the future and think about what worked and what didn't and consider how much your style has grown since then. Becoming a skilled and sought-after graphic designer is about evolving and developing, and keeping your past work is a way to gauge how much you have changed over the months and years. If you plan to work in digital graphic design, create a digital portfolio to showcase your work. As long as you are willing to work hard and develop your skill set continually through the years, as well as be prepared to take a few knock-backs before you land your dream job or your first proper freelance job, there's no reason why you can't make it as a graphic designer.