It is always difficult to determine what you are going to do next when you are just graduating. It could be more difficult if you are planning to switch from another academic discipline. During my undergrad, I was an engineer in the making. I enjoyed studying science but was more fascinated by creative designing. However, the stereotype of a starving designer haunted me whenever I thought about a future that way, and I did not want to starve.
I wasn’t interested in graphic design until the second year of university. I used to excel in my engineering courses but it took only one teacher to change my aspirations. The teacher used to teach electronics and I enjoyed his deep interest in the subject than the subject itself. AC, DC and high voltage engineering used to excite him like a little child. This got me questioning my then ongoing career path. From that moment on, all I could imagine was a dreary gray future with wires and machines around myself. So I began researching the realm of graphic design just to make sure it wasn’t a dying industry. I visited designers and was boosted with encouragement having discovered that a creative individual can earn a good living and also follow his/her passion. But struggles were yet to be discovered. I had no idea about how to incorporate my passion into my professional life. I started off learning the techniques on Youtube and practiced them by creating an array of designs. I have to agree that my constant practice and research on various designing tricks helped me master different designing softwares. My first professional work was for a community service project where I volunteered as a design contributor. Time after time, I honed my skills and finally, joined a career as a Creative Assistant.
Most of the designers that I came across share a story similar to mine. All of them shifted from a field different from graphic designing. Now, aspiring designers look for guidance and direction and I feel obliged to help them follow their interest because there is no greater joy than enjoying the work that you do.
Here are some essentials to transform your dream of a successful career in graphic design into reality.
- Spend a good amount of time learning: Surely graphic design requires a good eye and a creative mind, but the development of solid practical skills and software fluency is equally important. The sooner you start to prepare, the better. Today education on graphic design is more accessible that it has been before. Online education is a great source since computers and internet service are widely available now. Most aspiring graphic designers make use of this opportunity to hone their graphic designing skills.
- Create your own portfolio: While a solid resume is an important aspect of any job search, the biggest asset to someone looking for a job in graphic design is an impressive portfolio. When you are applying for a job in this field, first thing you will need is a proper portfolio by which anyone can get an idea about your work style. So before applying for a job, start building a portfolio with your best works.
- Get an internship: An internship can give you an exceptional opportunity to gain practical experience, to form professional relationships in the design community, and complete work that will add value to your portfolio. It doesn’t always have to be a paid internship, it can be a voluntary work. Always remember that during the start of any career, mastering the skills is more important than earning a paycheck. Prosperity will surely repay your days of hard work and dedication.
- Acquire auxiliary skills: As a professional, you shouldn’t have an idea about just photoshop or illustrator. You might need illustration or photography skills to add to your graphic design skill set. This can also lead to some significant works. Upgrading your skills set could help you to compete in the job market.
- Stay up to date: Graphic design is a constantly changing and developing field. You must keep up with the newest trends in the industry and remain current on new and updated computer graphics and design softwares or you will quickly fall behind. Behind is not your way, so aim forward!
Following your passion is not an easy ride. But with determination and focus, you shall prosper.