What Does It Take to be a Graphic Designer?
With the thousands of logos, packages, signs, and illustrations that we see every hour, it’s easy to forget that they’re there. However, these designs impact us everyday—helping us make decisions all the time. So who is behind all of these designs? Graphic designers. Graphic designers are professionals at visual communication—they give businesses a professional sheen, inform people with infographics, and persuade you to purchase things with creative colors and well designed packaging. Every graphic designer knows that a book is indeed judged by its cover, whether the buyer knows it or not. So how does one become a graphic designer? Let’s look at some skills that these designers need to have to accumulate a successful career, and how you can acquire these skills too!
Be Able to Take Constructive Criticism
Nothing is more discouraging than being told to go back to the drawing board—especially after you’ve worked on a project for hours. As I was studying for my design degree, I remember feeling discouraged and annoyed every time a person would critique a piece of mine. I would then resentfully go tweak everything and then present it again—only to be told to change more. Admittedly, taking critiques can be still difficult for me. However, I’ve realized one consistent lesson from all of this— Those that would critique me were right 9.9/10 times. To be able to do well in this field, you have to be able to accept criticism graciously and be willing to think that “This will only make my design better.” Although difficult, it will only accelerate your career, and make your design the best it can be.
As technology advances, the way we gather information will gradually become different. For example, we are now more and more likely to look at advertisements or news from our electronic devices than we are from newspapers and magazines. According to Learn How to Become.com, with “the rapid development and deployment of digital media, the market for graphic designers in print media has severely slowed, making designers that can work both in digital and print more attractive” (How to become a graphic designer, n.d.). Things such as data and analytics, motion graphics and animation, web design and coding are becoming more and more in demand. In fact, according to an interview conducted in the article “What I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Graphic Designer…,” creative team leader, Shavanna Pinder, said that “Even though specializing is important, designers are expected to be a jack-of-all-trades” when referring to designers understanding data and analytics (Flavin, 2019). However, I think this applies to any subject in graphic design—the more tools you have in your arsenal, the more powerful you are as a designer, and the harder it is for companies to toss your resume or portfolio aside.
Speak to any artist, whether musician, painter or designer, and you will hear how they wished they could have started earlier. It is a fact that the earlier you start, the more of a leg up you will have. In another interview conducted in the same article “What I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Graphic Designer…,” brand manager, Casey Mathison was recorded to say, “I would tell my younger self to get started sooner. If I could, I’d go back and push myself to go after it. I’d love to have those extra 10 years of experience under my belt today” (Flavin, 2019). If you are looking into this career, you don’t have to wait until college. Start now! There are a lot of resources you can use today—from web tutorials to library books—the world is your oyster! With the information we have at our fingertips now, you don’t have to wait to get started. You can even take courses from us, where we teach about things such as coding and can help you start mastering those tools to put in your toolbelt.
If you want to become a designer—go for it! There are many skills you have to learn and master, but that hard work can allow you to have a very successful career. Be willing to take criticism, be versatile and start early if you can. These facts will make all the difference.
Flavin, B. (2019, July 29). What I wish someone told me before becoming a graphic designer ... In Rasmussen College. Retrieved from https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/design/blog/wish-someone-told-me-before-becoming-graphic-designer/
How to become a graphic designer: Graphic design schools & careers. (n.d.). In Learn How To Become.org. Retrieved from https://www.learnhowtobecome.org/graphic-designer/