So you think you might have what it takes to become a graphic
designer? Where do you go from here?
Are you a creative person with some artistic flare? Do you have the "eye" for design and art? Are you a good problem solver? A career in graphic design and becoming a graphic designer might be just the right fit for you.
The Outlook for Graphic Designers in 2014
The whole landscape for graphic designers is constantly changing, but this is a good thing. It brings forth new opportunities and markets that will need graphic designers. Devices like the iPad and other smart phones are shifting print media more towards purely digital. That's not to say that print media is dead. It does suggest that there are various opportunities for the graphic designer. Being open to this change will be an asset moving forward.
Qualities of a graphic designer
If you plan on becoming a graphic designer that makes it, you're going to want to have certain qualities that will help you along.
Creativity is a very important factor for those wanting a career in design. Does this mean you have to be a great artist? While it can help, it's not necessary. Being able to paint and sketch can help for sure, but the important thing is to be able to problem solve and arrange design concepts in a creative way. There are graphic designers for example that are more into the photography side of things that couldn't sketch for their lives and still are amazing designers. It's all about creativity of vision, patience and visual problem solving.
to get educated...
Although there may be some that make it
to the industry just by talent alone, most, if not all of us
(I'm talking you and me here) need some sort of certificate or
degree to land a job as a graphic designer. Many employers won't even
bother to look at you if you lack the piece of paper that shows
that you have been trained and seasoned by some sort of graphic
design related program. Getting a degree or certificate doesn't
reflect your talent, but it does show that you have a good firm
base of knowledge and you take the industry seriously. So what
are your training options?
What kind of program?
There are many graphic design school program options across
North America, Europe, and abroad that offers graphic design related
degrees and programs. The range and scope of these programs all depend
on what you want, and where you want to go. There are programs in multimedia,
graphic design, visual communication, advertising, animation, web development,
and so on. All have much of the same principles and structure at work,
but they all can have a different slant. Often people lump these categories
together into "graphic design".
A multimedia program for example may focus more on the TV industry.
Other programs may focus more on print or website development. Often
there is some overlap with all of these kinds of programs, but they
can be quite different. It's important though to know what slant the
program has, and if you're happy with that slant.
term certificate programs are a good start, but don't expect
high end job right off the bat. Expect an entry level
position where you will have to work your way up. There
is NOTHING wrong with this approach. These programs
are often 1 or 2 years. Just know what to expect when
you walk out with your certificate in hand (or on wall). Longer
term programs like a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree are
often 3-4 years, and offer a more in-depth base to work
from. Graduating from these programs give you a better
chance of landing higher end jobs, but don't guarantee
Both short and long term programs most often offer a work
placement into a related business/studio during or after
your studies. This is very important for gaining experience
which is often required for landing your first job. Some
students get lucky, and get hired from the place they are
doing their work practicum. Other students might even get
hired before they even finish their program. Often schools will have
good relationships with the industry in their area, and keep these
businesses informed about their students. Sometimes schools will
mention the businesses that they keep in contact with.
It's also important to know what percentage of grads get hired
after graduation. A low hire rate can often reflect a poor program,
and should bring up a red flag.
programs are offered in your area?
can check out these schools
and colleges in the US and Canada for a start. Getting this
info will give you a good breakdown of the programs, and what you
can expect to learn in a graphic design program. Getting prepared
by learning more about the program will help you focus and be ready
for what is going to be covered. The Art Institutes offer some good options for on campus training in the graphic design field as well as The International Academy of of Design and Technology.
you rather take a course from home? Are you too busy to go on campus
somewhere? You can get a graphic design degree online through The The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division.
probably a good idea to have a strong reference of
some kind in print. Some people like to call these things books.
; ) Instead of clicking through websites each time to get information,
sometimes you just need something you can sit down
with read, underline, dog ear... Don't be afraid to mark your
book up. (Unless you have a library copy of course!) It's something
you'll probably be coming back to again and again.
are others of course. Design magazines can also be a good source of
information. "Publish", or "Print" magazine are
good places to look. They often give you an idea of what the industry
is doing and where it might go.
Make sure to also check out:
Graphic Design Schools
Picking the Right Graphic Design School
Graphic Design Job Descriptions
Layout Artist Jobs
The Graphic Designer Salary