Graphic design is a creative, professional field that one can put their passion for art to daily use. This exciting career path has a lot to offer, and those that wish to take part in it have a lot of opportunities to choose from.
In this digital era, businesses from whichever part of the world require skilled graphic designers to communicate and relay messages to their customers or convince them to take action.
You may not know this, but you interact with the work of a graphic designer every other day, and these works influence your daily life.
So what is graphic design anyway?
To begin with, graphic design is an art. It is the process of combining pictures and text used to relay a particular message without the need to follow it up with sound. The work would be used on social media, advertisement materials, magazines, or even books.
There are many ways to achieve this, and graphic designers often blend more than one type of typography and illustration.
A lot is involved when you’re a graphic designer. You have to select the type of fonts, size, color, length of lines, headings, text, etc. Graphic designers also decide on the type of images and graphics used on each display material and how much space they might take up.
Using graphics, graphic designers can transform statistical data into easily understandable visual diagrams, making complex ideas more accessible.
The uses of graphic design can be grouped into various categories. For instance, corporate design mainly includes the creation of logos and branding material. The editorial design includes newspapers and magazines. Other groupings include environmental design, advertising, communication design, book covers, product packaging, and signage.
As you can see, the graphic design communicates to use in our day to day lives through an array of media. Some of them include magazines, videos, social media, TV commercials, posters, logos, billboards, and many more. Studying graphic design exposes students to the fundamental skills needed to make such sophisticated illustrations, also making an impact on our lives.
Education and training
Graphic design is an art, and sometimes, the skills are within you. You might have a master’s degree in design, but someone with a certificate would outperform you. In most cases, however, graphic designers usually need a bachelor’s degree in order to get better-paying gigs, increasing their chances of landing corporate clients.
However, you can also take part in short graphic design courses that can elevate your knowledge in the field and get you in the know, enabling you to kickstart your career in this field. Graphic design candidates should be able to demonstrate creativity and originality for them to progress in the industry. It would be prudent to own a professionally done portfolio with your best designs if you’re looking to pitch to new clients.
Apart from academic expertise, a graphic designer also needs to have a number of other essential technical and soft skills. They include:
- Formal graphic design knowledge
- Analytical skills
- Project management
- Proficiency in desirable software and technology, e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator
- A strong portfolio
- UX implementation
- Visual thinker
- Communication Skills
- Time Management
- A strong network of related liaisons
- Negotiation skills
- Relationship management
- Up-to-date with trends in the industry
10 reasons for becoming a graphic designer
Take a look at these ten reasons why becoming a graphic designer is a good career choice:
1. The salary is impressive.
The good thing about graphic design is that you can always take up jobs from other clients unless you have signed a non-compete agreement with your current employer. You can have more than three of them. If you’re planning to start a career in this field, the sky is the limit when it comes to salary packages.
You’ll always start with a low salary initially, but your salary also increases as you progress. With requisite skills and experience, your compensation goes higher, and luckily, there is no set market standard for the average remuneration. This is because some clients will pay you on project-based structures, while others will put you on a full-time salary.
The other thing about graphic design is that you will always have self-development opportunities if you are willing to learn. The more skills and experience down your sleeve directly translates to higher income.
2. The opportunities are many.
With a formal academic background in graphic design, you won’t run short of ideas and avenues that you can use to get gigs, especially in the corporate world. There are very many sectors that may require the services of a graphic designer. As earlier stated, you can work as a freelancer and work for numerous clients at a go.
You can also get employed by one of the millions of businesses that may require branding, magazines, newspapers, etc. The list is endless. Remember, the longer you are in the industry, and with the right skillset, you get opened up to an ocean of opportunities, which usually come in referrals.
And besides, you’ll also have learned the ins and outs of the trade, so finding quality work won’t be such a big bother to you.
With a degree in graphic design, some of the jobs you can get include:
- Advertising art director
- Creative director
- Graphic designer
- Production designer, theatre/television/film
- VFX artist
3. Be your own boss
One of the perks of working as a graphic designer is the possibility of working for yourself and being your own boss. There are various methods of approaching this, from freelancing to launching your own agency. You get to set your rules, including stating how much you wish to make, how you want to market yourself, and how much work you want to handle.
4. Get paid for being creative.
With every project that comes their way, graphic designers express their creativity with each one of them. Although you are allowed to have a particular line that you base most of your work on, they are all supposed to be unique and original. This means a graphic designer has to learn new tricks every other day, show how creative they are, and they also have to think ‘outside the box’ to solve the challenging briefs.
If you have a good eye for detail, graphic design will offer you the opportunity to bring your ideas to life.
5. Make a real difference.
Creating change in the world is a huge privilege that graphic designers can take part in. Most of the designs you’ll take part in, from a simple flyer to a major advertising campaign, has the potential to make an impact on others.
For instance, you can do a poster design that could encourage people to donate blood, donate food and money to the less fortunate, etc. The right logo can help a business attract more customers and something as simple as effective signage could direct people in the right direction. Unknowingly, you can make a difference in the world through your creativity. You can get started by honing your visual communication skills to help you make an impact.
6. Designers are always in demand.
It is safe to say that advertising demand is now greater than ever before. The rise of the internet and other technological advancements made it possible for brands to display themselves in various forms and through numerous media. Today, for a business to remain relevant, they ought to have an active social media account, a vibrant website, good signage for a local business, and adverts on other channels such as television and print media.
There are a lot of opportunities, and there is always a piece for everyone to grab. Although the competition is stiff, landing a client that needs graphic design work isn’t hard. All you have to do is ensure you have a strong portfolio, the relevant skills, and enough experience up your sleeve.
7. No two days are alike.
As seen in this post, there are very many fields one can venture into the world of graphic design. Whenever you’re working for several clients (or even one employer), no two days are the same. There is no boredom or routine that you must follow that can get you down. Today you can work on a corporate logo design; tomorrow, you may have to work on a magazine cover, the other day on an event poster, and so on.
There’s never a dull moment as a graphic designer. Each new task comes with its own experiences and exciting skills. Furthermore, the work you do needs to be original and unique at all times. Therefore, you won’t be subjected to following the same boring steps every other time you’re working on a similar project.
The beauty of this field is that you can choose what style works for you, and there is never a limit as to what you can come up with.
8. There’s usually no need for formal business attire.
Let’s just face it; most creatives don’t like putting on suits and other formal business attire. Luckily, the world has already gotten used to creatives not going to work in such outfits, and they are some of the only professionals that clients can be comfortable around when they put on casual clothing.
Do you dislike stiff white shirts and uncomfortable suits? Worry not. Graphic designers tend to have a more relaxed work attire – putting on t-shirts, jeans, ad trainers to work. Furthermore, most of them work remotely, meaning they can put on whatever they want, as long as they feel comfortable with it.
9. Your career path is unpredictable.
Unlike many other career choices, even in the creative industry, a career in graphic design is highly unpredictable. Did you think that you’ll just be a part of those that just follow the herd? Designing will take you to places you’d have never thought about and opening doors that you never thought possible.
As you progress in the field, you can decide to open up your own studio or agency on the other side of the world. You may also find that your employment is more about traveling to far-flung places and not just lying around your house. If you’re currently employed, you might find yourself going all-in on freelancing.
The possibilities are endless in this creative field, and if you love adventure, having an unpredictable career path would suffice.
10. Designers have fun
If there are people that really enjoy their work, it is those in the creative industry. Modern design studios or offices are an exciting place to work at. For starters, you’ll find like-minded people working around you, and that’s a plus. The environment is also made in a way that makes you feel relaxed and more comfortable.
Strict dress codes do not apply, and you can have flexible working patterns. The workspaces are always welcoming – you can hardly ever find a successful agency with a dull office setup. You’ll find different blends of colors and illustrations as they tease your creative side. Working in such an environment is fun and inspiring.
Tips for becoming a kickass graphic designer
To become great, you have to rise above the norm. You need to go the extra mile beyond academic qualifications to become a renowned graphic designer. Should you decide that this is the right path for you, here are a couple of things that you should consider:
Passion and drive
The creative world is quite different from the corporate world, in a way that the biggest driving factor for success is passion. If you are not passionate about what you do, you may not do it perfectly.
Hint: Don’t get into the creative industry just because of the money, do it only if you have a passion for it.
Curiosity and hunger for knowledge
Graphic design, like any other field, is dynamic and requires constant upgrading. You ought to love art and always have a hunger for more knowledge. The curiosity of knowing more about the world around you enables you to integrate what you see and recreate it in your own way.
Reliability and commitment
Once you become a graphic designer, you’ll be able to work directly with clients. This means you must be reliable at all times, lest you end up losing your clientele. This is because regardless of the field you’ll be working in, your clients will always want someone that they can count on.
Ensure that you invest in clear communication, expectations management, and consistency in how you submit your work. This acts as the foundation for healthy relationships and client retention.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is graphic design, and what does it include?
A: Graphic design is a design process that combines text and graphics in a way that is intended to communicate a specific message.
Q: Where do graphic designers work?
A: Graphic designers work in different environments. Some work for agencies where the company gets a commission on every project done. Others are directly employed by companies that need huge volumes of branding material put out on a regular, e.g., at advertising firms, magazines, etc.
Some graphic designers are also self-employed, working as freelancers. This means they work for different clients and are free to get hired by many clients at one single time.
Q: What hours do graphic designers work?
A: Most graphic designers work the typical 9 – 5 timeline, more so if they are employed by an organization or work for an agency. However, most graphic designers do not depend on the typical employee timeline, as they all have different peaks of creativity. This is why the majority of them have different times set for work, especially for freelancers.
Q: What are the highest-paying graphic designer careers?
A: There are different fields you can focus on if you become a graphic designer. However, the areas that pay much better include:
- Motion director
- Web Designer
- Multimedia Designer
- Art Director
- Senior Designer
- UI Designer
- UX Designer
- Creative Director
A career in graphic design is accompanied by a chance to taste more exciting new experiences. The learning process never stops, and you get inspirations from your day to day interactions with other people and products.
Times are changing, and so should you. As you progress in the field, try to look into other modern sub-fields such as web or motion graphics, interactive installations, etc. This is where you can showcase your creativity while still earning a better income.
So why not give a try by becoming a graphic designer today? You can start by joining a vast community of freelance graphic designers and land your first gig to get you going.