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Is Graphic Design a good career choice?

I keep getting different opinions on it, and I would like to know more.

#graphic #graphic-design #logo-design #creative

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Eric’s Answer

It's a great career choice!

Graphic design has evolved way beyond the days of cut and paste layout art. Today Graphic Designers touch on so many aspects of art.

You can specialize in an area such as Brand Development and Design, Logo Design, Motion Graphics, Editorial, Web Design (UX/UI) and so much more. All based on your one degree track.

Graphic designers can concentrate in typography, making them typographers and we all read signs, see movie and tv titles, look at wordmarks, book covers and so much more with text.

The options of what a graphic designer can do in a world ruled by visual messages is really limitless.

What you need to figure out is what sets you apart from everyone else, it's not just a strong portfolio, but it is also a good work ethic, strong attention to detail, deadline commitments and personality.

In todays job market you are drilled down to key words. Software scans your resume for specific trigger words before it ever looks at your portfolio - one of the top scans is your degree. Get your Bachelors because that is a huge factor in if your resume and portfolio ever make it past the application stage.

Your portfolio should be designed and presented both in web and print and be directed in your area of expertise but also towards the job you're going after. So if you're an illustrator and you are applying for a job in motion graphics, your portfolio should reflect motion graphics as the primary with emphasis on your illustration talent.

I don't want to discourage you, so let me point out that despite today's method of searching possible employment candidates, your talent and experience is still very valuable and definitely will be seen by potential employers. When you're in college getting your degree, take every advantage you possibly can to do professional work, whether it's internships or work study programs in your field. If it's volunteer design work for a school organization or an outside not for profit. Create published work during your college career and gain the experience, body of work and professional reference. This also goes a long way during the after college job hunt.

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Marissa’s Answer

Hi Valeria,

I think the reason that you're getting lots of different opinions is because so many people have wildly different personal and professional stories, no matter what the profession! This may seem like a terribly obvious answer, but bare with me :)

Graphic Design is absolutely a valid area of design to pursue. The only thing is that even just saying 'Graphic Design' is VERY broad. As an art school alumni, AND a graphic design professional, I can tell you that you really need to spend some time thinking about where you'd like to end up professionally! Now, I know that's a very annoying answer that seems like there may not be any effort put into it, BUT I promise you, that thinking about that question will help you greatly. 

To give you an idea of the areas of graphic design that are available are, in no particular order: Graphic Designer for print, Graphic Designer for Experiential Design, Graphic Artist for Apparel, Graphic Designer for an Agency or Studio, etc. 

Due to the fact that there are many different fields UNDER that title, I think (and this is my personal opinion) that some people get stuck at a basic level and don't know how to expand their career from there, or maybe, don't really know what the path upward looks like. I can't say that I blame them… I think an important area to look into is where Graphic Design meets the future of Design, itself. You may not start out with all the answers, but what I can tell you is that the use for design is everywhere and in everything that we touch. Books, magazines, websites, print campaigns, video, UX/UI - thinking about what companies inspire you, or what types of design products/projects have inspired you personally, will give you an idea of what area to start your pursuit. 

I would HIGHLY suggest, if you're interested in design/graphic design, to take classes that have to do with the digital realm. You don't necessarily have to become a super coder, but it would be very smart to take UX/UI classes to bridge that gap from design to implementation. Tech is the future; let's be honest. If you're more inclined to draw and design, there are areas of design, like apparel, where you can use your talents to create art for garments or apparel companies. 

There are always going to be areas in every profession that people have difficulty with; I think the key is to adapt and keep learning. That is so important! Every individual will learn differently in school and gain a different set of skills and enthusiasms depending on how hard they apply themselves and how hungry they are to learn and grow.

Good Luck!

Creds: 10 years of experience in apparel/design

School: Art Center College of Design

Marissa recommends the following next steps:

Next steps: If you're not sold on your major, try going to a great community college first. Take classes in the areas that are of interest without the burden of a larger school and just keep your mind open and be honest with what seems exciting to you. When you find something, commit to it and see where it takes you. Always keep learning and take time every semester to ask yourself, "Is this working for me? How can I tweak my schedule to add a class that's of interest to me". You have to start somewhere! Good luck!

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Hao’s Answer

Yes, graphic design is a great career choice. It has skillsets that are core to many design fields. It has the potential for you to focus on many different things depending on what interests you. For example you can focus on print based work such as advertising or packaging design. Or decided to do something that's entirely digital such as web marketing or visual design. These are just a very small examples as graphic design can really help open opportunities to many different careers paths.

I know a lot of product and UX designers start off as graphic designers. It's a versatile degree where you can stay doing that for your entire career or use it as a jumping off point to start something else. It really depends on what type of design interests you. If you're not really sure exactly what type of design interest you, and you're unsure about doing specialized degrees, graphic design can provide a broad skillset.

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Daniel’s Answer

It's a _great_ choice for a career if it's something you enjoy, but what's great for someone else may not be great for you. If you're very interested in it, I'd recommend that you use a tool like https://fakeclients.com/ to generate a fake project that you can work on. Do a few, get a feel for whether you enjoy it, and then maybe volunteer for an org or friend to work on something.

In short, yes great choice, if you enjoy it. Try it out, and make your decision from there.

Daniel recommends the following next steps:

Work on a project or two from https://fakeclients.com/ and see if you enjoy it. If so, consider giving it a go as a career!