Graphic design

10 Helpful Tips on How To Become a Graphic Designer Without A Professional Degree

4 Mins read

A degree in graphic designing is important as it will set the right foundation to start your career as a freelance graphic designer. However, in some cases, you might have a great aesthetic sense and passion for graphic designing but are unable to enroll for a degree due to a lack of funds or various factors. A design degree is costly and takes years to complete. If you are not in a position to invest in a professional graphic designing degree, then there are alternatives to realizing your dream. Here are 10 ways you can become a graphic designer without a professional degree.

1. Build your Foundation

Having a strong foundation will smoothen your path to becoming a good graphic designer. Building your foundation encompasses a few steps. First, you need to learn how to draw. There are online books that will guide you on how to draw. It is recommended you dedicate at least 30 minutes of your day to learn drawing. Additionally, learn how to slaughter your work. In some cases, a design project might not work out. If it doesn’t work, learn how to get rid of it and start over again. Don’t waste time.

2. Learn Graphic Designing Principles

For you to compete with design graduates, you need to understand all aspects of design. Your skills will be irrelevant if you ignore the theoretical part of the design.  Do extensive research on design principles by reading relevant books. You can start from the basics like the color theory. Here are 10 books that can help you understand the basic principles of design

3. Learn From Other Graphic Designers

This is probably the most effective way of becoming a graphic designer without stepping into a class. Learning from other designers will help you understand how to maneuver the key areas of design. You can get hold of a designer who can teach you aspects like software and how to communicate effectively with your design. Additionally, an experienced designer will guide you on the mistakes to avoid along your design journey. If you can spare some time during the day, consider attending meetups about graphic designing, where you can find mentors and other graphic designers.

4. Find your Niche

When you look at graphic designers in Dubai, you will find many have specialized in a specific field.  You can choose one area to focus on as it will make your path more clear. Settling on a specific area of the design will also help you in the learning process. You can choose from logo design, hand lettering, web design among others. From here, you can start setting up your portfolio and learning materials like designing books, magazines, and newspapers. You can also look at marketing materials like flyers, brochures, and postcards.   

5. Get the Right Tools

Without the right tools, your design career will not be worth it. A professional graphic designer invests in his/her computer and the software. Note that some software like Photoshop requires a computer with sufficient space and significant speed to operate efficiently.  The market has the option of Windows and Mac. However, your selection largely depends on your budget. Most graphic designers prefer mac over windows. 

6. Master the Software

To become a good graphics designer, you must keep up with technology. It is therefore vital for you to identify the software you need and start mastering the desired skills. Note that even graphics designers who use traditional materials usually interact with online tools in making digital copies of their work. 

We have numerous design software out there but Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are good starting points. We have online tutorials you can use to teach yourself how to use the software. However, make sure you select the right tutorials. Also, look around PSDTuts and TutsPlus. They have tips that are easy to understand. Here are the Top 10 Graphics Designing tools that will help you. 

7. Focus on User Experience

In design user experience is referred to as UX. This is the process of creating products that have been designed with both usability and user pleasure in mind.  As a designer, you will have to incorporate elements of branding and design as much as practical usability.

It is a key area for designers to understand. They will often be working alongside web designers or even app builders.  For example, who will expect the designs to reflect important concepts like designing for the screen, eliciting emotional responses, and ease of use.

8. Set up Your Portfolio

Getting a graphic design job in Dubai doesn’t necessarily need a degree. You need a rich portfolio. It is worth pointing out that building a portfolio from scratch is one of the frustrating things.  Note that your design portfolio needs to demonstrate the practical and theoretical aspects of design. You can choose to have your portfolio online or on paper. To reach a wider audience, keep your portfolio online.

As part of your portfolio, redesign a poorly designed logo, websites, or posters, and place them beside your own, improved versions. For example, you can pick a poster that is cluttered, redesign it to make it clear. 

9. Learn the Business Side of Design

A graphic design career involves a lot of creativity. However, just like any other professional, it has a business side to it. Understanding the business side mostly applies to individuals planning to take the freelance route.  Design business involves having skills like client negotiations, writing business proposals, determining cost among other things.

To acquire these skills, go online and connect with professionals who have mastered these skills. Also, visit career websites. Once you have learned how to deal with clients, getting a graphic designer’s salary in Dubai stands at AED 98,312 per year. You need to understand the business of graphic design to earn this amount or more.

10. Get a Graphics Design Job

Armed with your portfolio, it is time to get that job. You need to get real-world experience to put your knowledge into practice.  Start by looking around for freelance graphic designing jobs online. You can check out design companies on platforms like Linkedin. Enquire if the companies offer internships and mentorship programs.

On the other hand, consider job boards like Bawabba where you can create a profile and pitch your idea to freelance clients. This platform is ideal for connecting with clients.

Take Away

As you can see it is possible to become a graphic designer without paying for school. The above guide will equip you to join the graphic design job industry in Dubai with ease. You can share your graphic designing skills here to showcase your portfolio and win new graphic designing projects.

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