Today we will talk about how to become a graphic designer without special education or work experience, what training platforms can help, and we will also give some tips for aspiring designers.
Why the graphic designer profession is in demand today
A designer doesn’t just draw pictures, he helps a brand to communicate with its clients – he creates a visual language and a concept. The designer is a very important person in the team, without him the brand can’t exist – it’s up to him to develop the future visual language. Graphic design is everywhere: packaging, identity, covers, banners, posters, advertising. Many things – colours, typography, symbols, signs, icons – are so ingrained in our minds that we look at them and not think that this is all graphic design. For instance, you see a combination of yellow arcs with a red background and subconsciously you realise: that’s the McDonald’s style. This is how we recognise many brands and decide whether or not to purchase a product or service, depending on our brand loyalty.
What a graphic designer should know
It’s not enough for a modern graphic designer to know the basics, such as Adobe (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign). It’s great if a person is familiar with programs like Animate or After Effects, knows about animation, coding and graphics. It is important to understand how the work is built in related areas. You don’t need to know the programming language, but you can imagine how experts approach the creation of a layout. This helps to optimise many things in the work and get exactly the result you were hoping for.
Many people think that designers are introverts. In fact, it is important for a specialist to be able to communicate:
- with the client, to understand exactly what he expects from the project;
- with a manager, to clarify the details of the brief, and to explain if something is missing;
- with fellow designers, to share experiences, learn new things and help others to develop.
Communication – timely and friendly – is an important part of a designer’s job. It is unlikely to achieve an outstanding result without interacting with the world around you.
Do you need a special education or not?
We hope you realise that you can’t do without training in the basics of design. We are not talking about higher education now, but about special education. These days, there are many specialised offline and online graphic design course.
First, on courses you will learn the basics of graphic design and its special features, you will learn how to think like a designer, and you will get an in-depth look at professional programs.
Secondly, you will start communicating with like-minded people, share your knowledge and experience, and receive constructive comments and recommendations.
Thirdly, you will get real commissions, because often the tutors of such courses recommend their best students to clients.
Where do you start as a graphic designer?
At the initial stage, it’s important to understand which area of graphic design you want to develop and earn in. For instance, knowing Adobe Photoshop is enough for web design, Adobe Illustrator is enough for creating logos or icons. If you’re not going to be limited to designing for the web, Adobe InDesign for print layout will come in handy.
Seven tips for beginners
Now we want to give some tips to help you avoid the well-known mistakes you make at the beginning.
- Read special literature. Self-studying books on graphic design, you greatly expand your horizons.
- Start drawing. Remember we wrote if a designer should be able to draw? Believe me, it makes it a lot easier to understand graphic design. And it adds value, which is not unimportant.
If you can’t draw, there’s nothing wrong with that. The main thing to start doing it and you’ll notice a change.
- Study the work of professionals. We often meet talented people along the way who create incredibly beautiful and yet functional websites, illustrations, logos, etc. And you probably do too. You can bookmark them and subscribe to their pages at behance.net.
Who doesn’t know, Behance is a platform to showcase the work of illustrators, designers, photographers. Not there yet? Hurry up and sign up and fill it with your work and get inspired by others.
- study fonts. Do you pay attention to fonts? For pros, yes. What’s more, it’s very important to the codifier when he gets a layout with the “right” text in it. This means that the line spacing, spaces, size, etc. are taken into account.
- Save your work. Everyone, and we in particular, need to know our growth points. Therefore, keep all your sources in a special folder. We advise you to have one too. Maybe you will go back there and bring some work to perfection.
- Develop your own unique style. Have you ever seen a piece of work and wanted to make it better by adding your own vision? A lot of people do that a lot. They take someone else’s idea and refine it. It’s fun and interesting at the same time. Try it, it will help develop your style.
- Create your own portfolio. Friends, it’s important for us to present ourselves in a way that makes us want to be commissioned. That’s why portfolios are our face. In the next article we’ll tell you how to make one and give you some tips for creating one.
After a certain path, many people realize one thing: you can’t make nice to everybody. One style in design does not exist. Therefore, our work is based on the needs of the specific audience for which we create a product.
But this does not mean that you should forget about your uniqueness. Breathe your ideas into your existing model, push your boundaries. Look for customers with whom you feel comfortable.
Remember, only you know which customer you are comfortable working with. The Internet is a marketplace where everyone can find their own employer. My tips and your persistence will help you become sought-after and increase the value of your hour. Don’t rest on your laurels, go towards your goal and improve your professionalism.