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5 Basic Steps to start your Graphic Design Career

graphic design career

You might find it difficult in choosing a graphic design career however, Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. It’s about so much more than deciding what you will do to make a living.

With a career in graphic design, you have the choice of working in advertising, publishing, public relations, media, industrial design, or any field you decide to work in. And while most graphic designers work for a company, in 2010 nearly 30% of them were their own bosses.


What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is a craft where professionals and even beginners create visual content to pass an information. By applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, designers use typography and pictures to meet users’ desires and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs, to optimize the user experience.

Is Graphic Design a good career?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual graphic designer salary in 2018 was $50,370. Compare that to the $38,640 average for all occupations and you can see these creative pros earn a respectable living.

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How to start your Graphic Design Career

1. Building your portfolio

A portfolio is every graphic designer’s greatest opportunity when starting a graphic design career and most crucial asset. It is a representation of your experience, your aesthetic, your skills, and often your personality.

graphic design careerImage by Darko 1981

Building a website and online portfolio can be quite meta if you’re a graphic designer but it is very important especially when you are just starting your graphic design career. The entire look and feel of the website will speak to your talent as a designer. Even the parts that don’t speak specifically to your work, like an ‘about me’ section, need to be impeccably designed. It should also showcase your aesthetic, acting as a litmus test for potential clients.

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2. Build your network

to a stellar portfolio, a graphic design career is dependent on connections. Clients won’t just fall into your lap – you’re more likely to find a paying job when you have relationships to tap. These relationships might be with other designers who can ultimately recommend you, or with clients who have been following your work. Either way, there are several methods for building your network.

graphic design careerImage by Darko 1981

Marketing isn’t just for brands and big companies! As a graphic designer you are your brand, and you have to get it in front of the right people. This doesn’t mean you need to have a huge budget to buy display ads or send direct mail.

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3. Think Like a Designer

Thinking like a designer doesn’t happen overnight or through a single tutorial however if you want your graphic design career to have deep impact you need to understand the mental models, recognizing core interaction flows and design patterns; these are skills that are built up over time. So, start now! The more you know and can talk about design, the more you build up an archive and a repertoire of knowledge to work through, return to, learn from, and iterate on.

How do you learn how to think like a designer? Scour websites like pttrns and lovely ui and start keeping track of what you like and don’t like. What details are you noticing and why? Then start unpacking why you have those preferences.

If it sounds intimidating, it shouldn’t—it’s likely you already have an instinct for a particular aesthetic if you’re interested in pursuing a career in design. You probably have a sense of what makes a thing well-designed or why certain designs work—you just have to learn to tap

4. Connect with Other Designers

You will learn things you didn’t know you didn’t know by talking to other designers. So find people in your network in the field, or reach out to designers at companies you admire, and see if you can pick their brains. Ask them why they think something is good or bad or great. Notice the details they notice and understand why. Learn what they look for and where.

Understanding their thinking patterns (and yours) can help you improve your own skill, collaborate with others, and gain insight on the decisions distinguishing competing products in the design world. Talking to designers is also a great way of building your vocabulary and beginning to formulate how to defend your (or someone else’s) work. Articulating why a design works or how it fails is a skill not everyone has: Talking to people who live it day to day will help you exercise that muscle and stretch in the right direction.

5. Show Your Work

This should be your first decision when planning of starting a graphic design career,  you need to agree with yourself to expose or leak(permit me to use those words) to the world, even when you don’t think they’re good enough. Do you know why?  Because They might not be! You know different people read different meaning and impression about designs, take for example Mr A might see your “Slave Design” as what it takes to be free while Mr B might see your design as the “The Wickedness of Humanity” now Mr B is not reviewing the design specifically but the fellows who made that situation in the design, Now people have different experience is life and they learn to relate it with their life be it present or past. so it’s very important to get feedback on them, to have someone tell you about an existing pattern you didn’t know existed, to join a community that will help you grow long down the road, to show and share your work, and iterate bit by bit with the help of others.

Over time, you’ll notice that the feedback you seek changes, too. As you become more seasoned in your craft, you may seek feedback that is more detailed and specific, right down to the smallest pixel. And you may find yourself more strongly debating (or even discrediting) feedback from others. That’s great! It means that you are transitioning into a being a designer with informed opinions, confident in your talents and understanding of what makes a design successful.

If you feel strongly enough to defend your own designs, you’re likely at the point where you can help others in their design process, too. Repay the favor and give feedback to other designers, just like they did for you. The feedback cycle never ends, no matter how senior a designer you become. Embrace it!


Final Word

Graphic design is a very creative and Lucrative Career, and there’s no industry that can do without the graphic designers especially now that all businesses are going digital, However when choosing a graphic design career, you need to be focused, and time oriented, it can be very tasking but you will get used to what you do as time goes on.

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