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September 2018
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When you think of your future as a designer, you imagine creating awesome watercolor illustrations, websites which are simple, sleek and sophisticated. You want to be successful, and you’re looking to find a way to get there.

There are many different ways to become a graphic designer. Although some people might learn a single computer software program and call themselves a designer but developing into a true professional will give you the ability to go further, creating those breathtaking designs that inspire you. So, here’s a look at how to take your skill to the next level.

Courses to help you succeed

If you’re starting out, learning the foundations of design will give you the ability to grasp the principles of the work while you develop your own skills, talents and design styles.

Building on foundational knowledge means you’ll have no need to imitate or follow trends.

By taking a course in graphic design, you will be able to stay ahead in your field of choice. This is because the founding principles will enable you to develop your skills, enabling versatility.

Although you can learn skills on YouTube, the basic theoretical principles of design will give you stronger foundations in the field. From here, new knowledge or techniques will keep you dynamic and flexible.

Design Foundations

Learning the building blocks of graphic design will help you to use computer design software to produce excellent results.

When you understand the principles of design, you will be able to use the computer as a tool to create websites or work on desktop publishing.

Digital Illustration

Illustration offers an expressive way to represent a text or create a visual message. By learning digital illustration, you will be able to work on storyboards or create unique imagery for projects.

Digital Media Production

If you’re interested in interactive projects such as animation, special effects and multimedia, you would benefit from learning authoring software. This will enable you to work on adverts, computer games, multimedia and graphics.

Career Development

Understanding how to work as a design professional, and the qualities needed in order to carry out this work will enable you to seek employment or set up your own practice as a freelancer. Learn how to market yourself as a designer and manage well in interviews.

Portfolio Development

Your portfolio is your gateway to a career in graphic design, and will communicate your talents and abilities to a new employer.

Showing a variety of work which reflects your talents and gives you the opportunity to stand out is your goal.

A mentor or instructor who can assist you with developing your portfolio will assist you with creating a top quality one which will assist you with finding work with industry.

Many graphic design programs include courses which include business skills, soft skills or professional development.
These courses teach how to work in the world, manage projects, plan your time or manage a business.

If you’re interested in working freelance or setting up a design practice, this knowledge is very helpful to have.

The importance of gaining experience

Once you have the foundations under your belt, it is time to gain experience as a graphic designer.

Experience helps you build skill, confidence, and establish a reputation. When you work in the design field, you’ll begin to find your niche, develop your interests and gain client feedback and establish a reputation.

Jacob Cass, a New York designer, born in Australia, shares that practice makes perfect when it comes to graphic design. Working in the field helps you to hone your skills and apply your knowledge.

While working in the field, you will become familiar with negotiating client relationships, working with art directors, learning new skills and finding your flare.

Experience will bring you invaluable knowledge of managing projects and work under pressure.

As you meet new designers, find clients and build industry contacts, you will start to build a network.

This will slowly build your reputation and a group of people who may refer work to you. You will also build and develop your portfolio.

Creative ways to gain experience as a new graphic designer:

Volunteer: Offer your services to an NGO, charity or local outreach program. You could design newsletters, brochures, or even a website or app to assist with sharing information or encouraging donars to make contact.

Help friends or family design business cards invites or brochures. If your friends are getting married, offer to design invitations or placement cards. Each experience will encourage you to develop new skills and expand your creativity.

Design your own cards, pamphlets, t-shirts or website. This will keep you creative and show you where your inspiration lies. Check out the designs around you and find a space to shape your own style.

Sell your work on Etsy. By offering your designs or illustrations to customers, you will gain the opportunity to establish your own message, what you want to share, and the techniques used to achieve your goals. You will also build up a professional portfolio in the process.

Professional development

As a graphic designer, you will need to be skilled in software such as InDesign, Quark, Illustrator, Acrobat and Dreamweaver.

If you are working fulltime, your employer may contribute to continual training, but if you are working freelance, you might have to pay for training yourself.

You might sometimes need to learn new skills for new projects. You will also need to stay ahead of rapidly changing trends.

Registering with professional design organizations will help you to network, learn new knowledge and gain advice from fellow designers in the field. You may have to submit your portfolio in order to acquire new skills.

Summary

To become a reputable graphic designer, you need to understand the principles of design, gain experience in the field, and then carry on expanding your knowledge so that you can continue to grow and develop.

Select the route that is right for you, as there are many options for a great career in graphic design.


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