The world of graphic design is an exciting and rewarding experience that could be the career move you’ve been looking for. If you love to create and see your images out there in the world being put to use then this is the move for you. Most people assume that to be a designer you need God-given talent or go to school for training. While talent is always a good thing, very rarely does someone just start designing one day and be proficient at it. Don’t worry, there are other methods for learning this skill that don’t require large amounts of time or money. So how do you do this?
1. You could find a local graphic designer and ask if you could mentor with them. Offering your design services to their business free of charge in exchange for advanced training could get you to where you want to go. Hands on, one on one mentoring has been proven to be a great way to learn a new skill, but it’s not the best way.
2. Go to a nearby university and spend years learning the core subjects of math, English, science, etc. and sprinkle in some design training in years two, three, and four. This works, and gives you that degree that so many people and employers covet. Being a freelancer with a strong portfolio is all your clients will care about, not how much money you spent on school. They are looking for great designs, not someone who has to charge more for their creations to pay off student loans.
3. Online schools have grown in popularity and acceptance in recent years and do offer graphic design courses that are less expensive and quicker to complete than a full-fledged university. Depending on the school it will still take you 12 – 36 months and cost you thousands of dollars.
Of the above three methods which one seems more appealing to you? Most people will gravitate towards the first option, but aren’t really sure where to seek out that one on one counsel. There are a lot of graphic designers out there, but most are really busy and not interested in creating more competition for the work available.
4. What if you could get that one on one style training from someone who knows the business and can teach you exactly what you need to know to start your design career without the months of headaches and mounting student loan debt? It isn’t a fantasy, there is such a method out there that will allow you to get started quickly and with the proper training to be successful.
- Learn the basics
The first step is to choose the area of expertise you want to develop. You can choose between various forms of graphic design such as advertising, print design, multimedia (TV), web design, or animation. Graphic designing for print or online mediums have a number of differences in technique. You can be good at both, but it is better to choose one.
- Get the tools
Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are the regular applications in the industry. These applications are easy to use but since they have numerous features, you might need some time and a lot of effort to master them. You can start with less expensive or free alternatives which are quite sufficient for you as a beginner.
You can buy textbooks that provide instruction in design fundamentals and study them seriously. If you take online graphic design course, you can learn how to use designing software and develop a marketable designing sense.
- Get a degree
Getting a college degree or an associate degree will give you a head start and you can then start your career as a qualified graphic designer. The associate degree is usually a two-year program that you can do at a community college, while the bachelor’s degree is typically four years and you would have to attend a college or a university.
- Develop a style
Do different kinds of design projects that you enjoy. These could be ornate designs, florid script and bright colours, or clean well-balanced lines, simple colours and powerful graphics, but whatever you choose, focus on developing that as your design style. Read books about graphic designing for speedy learning. Your aim has to be that people will recognize your work simply by the unique style.
- Study the professionals
Go through newspapers and magazines, the internet and anything else that inspires you. You can look at product labels, architectural work, fashion websites, music labels; all these are the outcome of good designs and could be your inspiration for your next project.
- Research fonts
Typography is a complete field in itself and if you are good at your job, you must develop a sound understanding about the importance of typeface, kerning and leading, and all the things that create effective text.
- Collect interesting designs
T-shirts, food labels, pamphlets, posters or post cards, collect everything that you find exciting or inspiring. Study these things to find what you like or don’t like and use them for references if and when you need help.
- Save your projects
Never throw away any of your projects, even when you hate them. Review them some time later to see that was wrong, how you have improved or if your style has matured.
- Create your portfolio
You’ll need a portfolio when you start looking for work maybe for a graphic design company so start putting together a portfolio that challenges you to review your own work critically. You can also showcase your portfolio digitally on a website.