Graphic designers use technology to tell stories in meaningful ways, from the packaging of your favorite chocolate bar to the logo on your t-shirt and everything in between. Graphic design is a diverse industry and one of the most popular choices for creative students looking for a rewarding career.
Whether you’re working for an agency or running your own business, the demand for skilled graphic designers grows yearly. If you’re a student struggling to get a start in the industry, read on.
Today we’ll discuss how you can get a head-start in the industry without prior experience. We’ll cover the practical steps to get the ball rolling and the qualities all budding graphic designers need to succeed.
The Character Traits of Graphic Designers
At this point, you might be wondering if a career in graphic design is really for you. According to creativeboom.com, there are 10 essential traits of a successful graphic designer. Chances are, if you have more than half of these traits (or are willing to work on them), you have what it takes to become successful.
A great designer can communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. They’re curious about the world and the details and can take criticism without taking it personally. The most successful graphic designers are also open-minded, patient, reliable, and critical thinkers.
Sound like you? Here’s where to start.
Learn the Principles of Design
You don’t need a doctorate in design to become a successful graphic designer. You need an understanding of the core principles, a desire to learn, and the ability to take constructive feedback. Reading is one of the best ways to expose yourself to quality ideas.
Reading allows you to think in the same way as the author, and it’s also a great way to increase your design vocabulary and witness the creative processes of some of the most influential designers in the world. Color, line, scale, shape, alignment, and contrast are all concepts you’ll use daily.
While there are hundreds of great books on the various subcategories of design, here are some of the best:
- The designers’ dictionary of color by Sean Adams,
- The geometry of design by Kimberly Elam,
- Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
- How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul by Adrian Shaughnessy.
Finding the correct online logo maker is one of the first steps you can take in graphic design work.
1) Do a Course
Reading alone is not enough to learn a practical skill like the design; you must also practice. While there are numerous free resources available on how to upgrade your skills, completing an online course is one of the best ways to get stuck in the world of graphic design.
They’ll give you foundational knowledge and show prospective employers you know what you’re talking about. You’ll also collect some high-quality samples to use in your portfolio.
For those looking to study graphic design, there are many options, from a full-blown university degree to practical online certifications like adobe certified associate (ACA), the graphic design Bootcamp offered by Udemy or Google UX design professional certificate.
2) Design Your Resume and Portfolio
A professional portfolio is a creative resume that shows prospective employers what you’re capable of. It’s also a good idea to design the overall look of your actual resume to practice what you’ve learned about typesetting, color, alignment, and contrast, among other things.
If writing isn’t your strong suit, essay generator can help you. The best way to showcase your portfolio is by building your own website. There are hundreds of web hosting options like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. If you haven’t yet completed the first piece for your portfolio, this is your chance.
Creating your own website is the ideal way to gain valuable design experience while working on your online presence and growing your network.
3) Learn the Major Tools/Software
Graphic designers use software design tools daily. Some of the best are Adobe illustrator/photoshop/InDesign, Canva, and Gravity designer. While there are many options, it’s hard to look past Adobe regarding reputation.
As mentioned above, Adobe provides its courses, so it’s relatively simple to gain a thorough understanding of the software through a course designed by the creators.
As we’ve seen, highly skilled graphic designers are in high demand. Students looking to pursue a career in design can study a degree at a university, recognized courses from industry leaders like Adobe and Google, or complete any online courses and build their own portfolios from scratch.
Either way, what remains a good idea is adopting a learner’s mindset, being genuinely passionate and curious about the industry, being comfortable with the software, and having the communication skills to present yourself to the world and tell your own story.