Start Your Graphic Design Career

If you want to start your career in graphic design, then the best place to start is with this post. Graphic design has changed a lot over the years, and it is crucial that you know what’s coming to prepare yourself for it. This article will cover five tips on getting started with your graphics design career, what skills are going extinct, and which ones are growing more robust than ever before.

Tip 1: Learn The Programs

This is the first and most important tip for anyone wanting to become a graphic designer. You must know what programs are available to you for your designs because not knowing which program will be best can lead to design errors that could have been easily avoided.

Find a program that will be good for you. It doesn’t matter what software it is (except Paint–please, don’t use Paint), but find one and practice with it. You can do this by: Researching the software on the internet or asking experts around you for recommendations. Sign up for a graphic design class online or at an educational institute near your home or watch YouTube videos or Vimeo channels and read books to learn more about the programs you intend to use. The cost of Adobe software, which is the industry standard, is prohibitive for many people, so it may be worth exploring other options to save some money.

Tip 2: Learn The Design Principles

The second tip that I have for you is learning design principles. If you want to become a professional graphic designer, intermediate novice, or great graphic designer, you need to know these design principles. The seven core graphic design principles are:

  • Balance
  • Alignment
  • Hierarchy
  • Contrast
  • Rhythm
  • Proximity
  • Colour and space

You need to learn these principles and understand them for yourself, so you are not making mistakes like using multiple fonts on the design or not adding enough white space. All of these things will affect the quality of your design work, and it can look low-quality or cheap because it doesn’t have any aesthetic values in there. At the beginning of my design career, I would study other designers’ and artists’ work and mimic it. It sounds like a strange way to learn, but through that imitation, my skills improved. I learned many things, but I feel it is critical for new designers to understand the right way of using these principles in their work.  Listening to successful people will give you a great head start.

Tip 3: Find A Mentor Or A Coach

So the third tip is seeking out mentoring and instruction. Part of what I do here is to mentor other aspiring designers. Find somebody you can connect with or collaborate with who will take time to invest in you in your career. So for some students, you may need to spend some money for a coach, or if somebody teaches you their process like I do my students, but there’s an investment on your part.

If you want to make the most significant ROI of your career, you should invest in yourself with coaching and training. Equipment pays well, but it won’t pay as well as investing in a mentor who can hold you accountable for what they’re teaching. This process is fundamental to success because it will help avoid pitfalls that newer designers might face, such as not learning how to use equipment or being discouraged.

Tip 4: Build Your Portfolio

In addition to the recommendations above, the fourth thing that you should focus on is building your portfolio so that you can see where your skills have improved. When starting for free or at low rates, build a portfolio of work for yourself (and your clients) to show the progression you’ve made over time. This evidence of your evolution makes it easier to explain how and why your rates have increased.

I made a video that you can watch on our channel. In it, I talked about how I was horrible at designing when I first started. As an artist, this wasn’t much of an issue, but it took thousands of hours to become skilled as a designer. Essentially anyone who wants to be great has to put in 10 thousand hours. After spending over 50 thousand hours in design with many more to come, I can confidently say you need tons of practice, and the investment is worth more than money can buy these days, with portfolios being so vital to continued success.

Tip 5: You Need To Stay Inspired

The fifth tip (I mentioned this a little bit earlier) is that you need to stay inspired by people who are more talented than you. For example, find someone who has work as a designer for a long time or even one of your competitors. When you study them closely, it will help spark creativity. One of my favorite artists is Jeff Granito; I would encourage anyone interested in art to check him out on Instagram.

The industry is moving fast, so it’s essential that you stay ahead of the curve and learn how to become inspired for more. You can turn to various resources, like YouTube, Google Images, and Instagram for starters; there are plenty out there worth looking into if you need a creative boost.  My favorite resource, though, would have to be our friends at Futur. They do some great work and have tons of videos available on their website showing viewers what makes a successful design project every time.

Final Thoughts

These five tips will help you get into graphic design. I wanted to share the most important things that have helped me with my graphic design career so far. These are the key things you should keep in mind if you want to work in this industry. Check back soon for more tips, tricks, advice, and inspiration!

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