Design Christmas Cards for a Living – Start a new Career as a Graphic Designer!
Is the joy for your current career waning fast? Is your interest in graphic design steadily growing?
Then you may want to consider taking a leap of faith and switching to a career in graphic design.
Statistics reveal that the graphic design industry grew in the United States between 2014 and 2019. Moreover, over 16,000 businesses in the country in 2019 belonged to the graphic and design industry.
With so much potential in the industry, getting into graphic design is promising. But do you know how to get into graphic design?
Continue reading below for a beginner’s guide to starting a career in graphic design.
Start With Training
Like with any other career, learning how to get into graphic design requires starting the right way. The first major step is getting the right kind of training.
One of the best ways to get proper training is through formal study. However, going back to the university may no longer be possible for everyone. Thus, look for other alternatives to university.
Check out your local community college. Inquire if they are offering introductory courses on graphic design. You may also ask if they offer training certificates.
Alternatively, you can go online and check for web design and graphic lessons. You may also want to join language programming classes. These three areas will serve as your foundation once you make the shift.
Furthermore, you can beef up your knowledge through self-study. With the internet at your disposal, you can find hundreds of graphic design resources online.
For starters, go to Google and type “graphic design course syllabus.” This will give you search results for different syllabi from graphic design professors. When going over the lessons, increase your knowledge by watching online tutorials.
You can find these tutorials on YouTube, Illustration Guides, and Hack Design, to name a few.
But apart from learning concepts and principles, you also need to master some basic tools. Learn how to use Adobe Photoshop. You can find free lessons on YouTube.
Do the same thing for InDesign, Illustrator, and different drawing apps on Mac.
How to Get Into Graphic Design: Get Some Experience
After learning about the concepts and key tools, your next goal is to get some work experience. The key is not to rush into things. Instead, start small until you get the hang of it.
Connect with a local non-profit or charity group. Ask if you can volunteer to work on the banners and other graphic materials for their upcoming project. You may also ask if they wish to update their old logo.
If you decide to volunteer for a charity group, make sure the people don’t take advantage of you.
Aside from working with non-profits, consider getting an internship. Tell your friends and relatives about your career plans. Let them know that you are looking to build your experience.
Ask if they know of design studios that are hiring for entry-level positions. You can give them a copy of your resume so they can provide more information to their contacts.
The good thing about internships is that you will get a feel of how designers work from the conceptualization through the execution of ideas. These are lessons that you cannot learn in school or by watching online tutorials.
Connect With the Right People
If you are wondering how to get a graphic design job quickly, then connecting with the right people is a must.
Sure, you have your workmates from the studio that you can learn a thing or two from. But to become a highly-skilled graphic designer, you need to find a person or a group of people who are all-out when it comes to sharing their knowledge.
Start by finding a mentor. That can be someone from the office, or it can be a friend of someone close to you.
A mentor is someone who will give you valuable tips that only a select few may know. They can also give you guidance in areas where you struggle the most.
Aside from finding a mentor, consider networking with peers. The best way to do so is by joining your local graphic design community. Here, you can share ideas with fellow designers.
Some people have this notion that peers in the designing industry are competitors. In reality, they can be your best supporters and willing collaborators.
Furthermore, a local community is an excellent source of projects. This is most beneficial if you decide to become a freelance designer. You may chance upon a member of the community who is looking for someone he can pass one of his projects to.
There are times where the designers already have too much on their plate. In such instances, they decide to pass on the project to another designer.
Build Your Portfolio
Last but not least, slowly build your portfolio. This is one of the toughest phases in your transition. This also takes a lot of time, patience, and effort.
After a year in the industry, you may already have more than a couple of projects under your belt. Select your best outputs, especially the ones that you initiated.
Make sure to include a variety of examples. This means selecting work that showcases your different skills.
You may include one that shows your prowess for web design, for example. Another project may highlight your strengths in typography or skills in logo design. The more varied, the better.
To give prospective clients a better understanding, contextualize your sample work. Write a couple of paragraphs explaining what the clients expected of the project. Explain how you worked towards the clients’ goals and how you achieved them.
If a certain project translated into new projects, mention that in your portfolio. If you received an award or commendation for the project, let everyone know about it.
Expand Your Career Options
Now that you know how to get into graphic design, you can start taking the first steps to a new career. But if graphic design is something that doesn’t interest you, there are many other options to choose from.
Check out our other articles on making a career change. We discuss tips and suggestions that will help you transition to a career that is close to your heart.