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What are some challenges, you face from time to time, in the career field, graphic design and how did you face it?

I am a senior at KIPP: Renaissance High School, in New Orleans , Louisiana. I had a few questions in mind about my career field, graphic design. I know it's not all peaches and cream, but just wanted to know what were some of the challenges, that someone faced and what you did to face it. #graphicdesign #art #graphic-design #graphic-designer

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Zaara’s Answer

Hi Dea' Ja,

hmm. Let me see, here are a few.

While working for a small design studio with only a few employees: clients' budgets were small and I only had limited time to do the work, could not finish the project to my satisfaction/basically was forced to do work that was not up to my own standards. Moved to a big firm was a welcome change, here there was lots of creative freedom and time to come up with great work. Here however the process is much longer and there are a ton of people involved in the corporate hierarchy. Some are great and some are tough to deal with. From time to time there is a decision maker person who does not care about the creative part of the project they have other agenda (market research or focus group results) they have to deliver on and the work had to yield to that. I have learnt to with with everyone, be flexible, have a great relationship with my art director who could stand up for the creative work when it was necessary. Overall I had to realize that it is not about me and not to take criticism or change orders personally, not to be attached to my own creative ideas so much (there were plenty of times when my ideas were very much appreciated).
Now that I am out on my own the challenges are being responsible for getting new clients in, having to deal with the business part of things (taxes, accounting, billing, setting my own prices, paying studio rent), dealing with all parts of client relationships, manage the legal side of the creative business (licensing, copyright issues, writing up work contracts). Pretty much learnt as I went along, use software for accounting, hire a professional for taxes, learnt about legal stuff and professional practices from books. There are professional organizations with local chapters that have memberships for students as well with online resources too. AIGA and GAG.
Good luck, enjoy your creativity!

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Dea' Ja,

Graphic Design is more than creating a website or advertising or the many applications of your talents. You need to consider your audience in all projects that you do. This can be particularly important when you have an international audience.

I am an Instructional Designer which includes graphic design elements. I have worked with audiences around the world, from many countries speaking nine languages. I have used a wrong picture, wrong word, wrong color, and received very negative feedback. You need to be careful and precise with your intent. And remember, there is a segment of the USA that do not have English as their first language. They also have cultural norms that are different from Americans.

When you have an audience that are not from your country, you need to consider how you may need to change your communication style. For me, I found power in learning and applying knowledge of Global English. This is an article about making content easy to translate as an example: https://vocalinkglobal.com/global-english-for-translation/. The rules here are very interesting since many people that you work with internationally will not speak English as fluently as me. I have to remind myself that they will be translating what i write into their native language. If my English is simple and direct, then their mental translation will be more accurate. Then comprehension will be achieved.

Graphic design can speak to people, but you need to know the language of the culture that you are trying to impact. You have to know about cultural norms that some countries relate to colors. In the USA, the combination of red, white, and blue elicits pleasure and pride because it is the colors of a flag that we care a great deal about. Green is associated with money. Red is about warning or power. That is just culture. Some images that you use in graphic design will delight one culture and offend another.

If you want to travel and work in other countries, then there are some things that you want to consider. There are some great books on culture which help with working internationally. Here are a few books that i recommend: Global Dexterity by Andy Molinsky, Managing Across Cultures by Solomon and Schell, and Cultural Agility by Paula Caliguiri. One of the online tools that I have used is https://www.rw-3.com/. Their Culture Wizard allows you to quickly see how countries differ in key areas. I would say read as much as you can about working in global environments.

Graphic design is an incredible career. It can be powerful or painful depending on your skill. Make sure to remember your audience in the work that you are doing. Good luck!


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Kristina’s Answer

Oh how much I could ramble on and on about what I've learned but let me keep this simple. No matter where you go you will always have something new you can bring to the table. You are either never bored because of the constant work load or so bored you bring something new and innovative to your department. Either way you have to work hard for your clientele or your boss to show why you deserve your job over others. Really with graphic design a degree is nice but the actual product and the professional is more important. Make sure to be polite and understanding and always a team player. Overtime is expected and for me I get lost in my work and love when the final product is what I want...but sometimes that doesn't happen. When projects are rushed that is when I try even harder to make sure the message isn't lost nor does that final product look rushed. I did struggle initially with clients who expected discounts after the product was made or clients who didn't own rights demanding the product but as long as you have legal advice on hand you'll be fine. Don't let anyone walk over you. It's funny how people think what we do is so easy until they are thrown with a print ad costing thousands and they don't know how to save the file to print or are confused how to layout a book for print.

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Cuong’s Answer

Being in the graphic design field, varies. Depending what kind of work you want to do. Corporate, small studio, or freelance/contract. Working in corporate will gain you the experiences in order to push your career and pursue other jobs at different corporations while working in a small studio is the same but in a much slower pace. When working as a contractor, your jobs depends on your experience you have with people and what kind of work you have done for other clients.

The challenge is, if you want to get your name out but have no experience, I would definitely try to work somewhere small first in order to gain experience. Then as your build your portfolio, you can try out and extensively work as a contractor.

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Michele’s Answer

There is a great deal of competition in our field. Depending on the atmosphere and culture of the place where you choose to share your talent (whether it be a corporate environment or private studio), you may have to face some very discouraging cut-throat behavior. My advice is to continue to learn as you start and advance in your career so that you are never over-looked or over-shadowed by anyone. You also always want your skills to be sharp and up-to-date. Technology is ever-changing and so the needs change with it. Good luck and much future success to you!