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Do graphic designers make good money?

What should I do to get good at graphic design at a young age?

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James Constantine’s Answer

Hey there, Corey!

Did you know that graphic designers can earn a pretty decent income? Well, it's true! But, the amount they make can vary based on their skills, experience, and the specific industry they're in. Just to give you an idea, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average yearly salary for graphic designers was about $53,380 in May 2020. But, the top dogs in the field can rake in over $85,760 a year!

If you're keen on becoming a whizz at graphic design while you're still young, here are some steps you can follow:

First off, get to grips with the basics of design theory and software tools. Get your hands on popular graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You can find loads of beginner-friendly online tutorials and courses to help you out.

Next, practice, practice, and practice some more! The more you flex your design muscles, the stronger they'll get. Whip up designs for imaginary clients or your own personal projects to show off your skills. Remember, a killer portfolio is your ticket to landing freelance jobs or even full-time roles down the line.

Don't be shy about asking for feedback and finding a mentor. There are plenty of design communities and forums where you can share your work and get helpful critiques from other designers. Having a mentor to guide you and give you advice can be super helpful too.

Keep up with the latest and greatest in design trends and techniques. The world of graphic design is always changing, so it's crucial to stay in the loop about the newest trends, tools, and best practices.

Lastly, think about getting a formal education in graphic design. It's not a must, but having a degree in graphic design or a related field can give you a strong foundation and potentially open up more doors for you in the future.

If you stick to these steps and keep sharpening your skills, you'll be well on your way to success in the graphic design industry at a young age.

Here are the top 3 sources I used for this info:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)
Adobe Creative Cloud (adobe.com)
Coursera (coursera.org)

Wishing you all the success in the world!
James Constantine Frangos.
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Candace’s Answer

As stated by others, graphic designers can make a range of income levels depending on your skill. I was a graphic designer for 18 years and recently moved into product design. There are many options for different types of design work that are connected which can make the job interesting depending on what you enjoy. Print design and web design can have some similar methods, but they are different mediums so you can learn how to work in both. I would suggest talking with some local artists and see how they are feeling about the industry. Check out several areas in design, including marketing, product design/UX design (software or industrial), gaming design, there's many things a designer can do and you will see they have varying degrees of pay.
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Michael’s Answer

In addition to what everyone else has mentioned, I would also suggest instructional design. Creating educational materials and training blends graphic design with adult learning theory, giving you a little bit of a twist to the typical life of a graphic designer.
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Laura’s Answer

Hello Corey,
What two great questions! I'm inferring based on these questions you are thinking about becoming a graphic designer? To answer your first question about whether designers make good money, this all depends on several factors such as skill level, where you work (company, organization, for someone else, etc.), location, education, etc. If you have relevant experience on your own where you decided not to gain any secondary education degree (self-taught) and continue to add to your experience, good reputation with your clients, and add your portfolio, then yes you can make a good amount of money that way or if you decide to apply for a graphic design position to a company. If you decide to go the route of obtaining a degree in graphic design, I recommend going for a Bachelor's degree because I've seen a lot of job postings that have a requirement to have a Bachelor's degree in that field to qualify for that position. While working to earn your degree, you can also freelance to earn some experience and add to your portfolio. Once you complete your degree, you can continue to freelance, but if you want to work for a company, you are going to want to look for junior graphic designer positions as these are for people who have about 1-3 years of experience. From there, you can work your way up to mid-level and eventually senior-level designer, but all of these come from working yourself up to senior level where you can earn a lot of money.

As for your second question, the biggest piece of advice I can give you to get good at graphic design at a young age is to learn everything you can on your own and practice, practice, and practice. The more you keep at it, the better you get at it, but like anything, this is a career where you will always be learning something new whether it's software, design trends/techniques, tips/tricks, etc. there is always something to practice and become an expert in until there's a new thing. On your own, you can learn the software that graphic designers primarily use, and experiment to help to get yourself more familiar with the software interface. You can also teach yourself or research tips/tricks for designing, the principles & elements of design, the different classifications of typography, color psychology, color schemes (color theory), the design process, etc. I highly recommend watching YouTube videos about anything graphic design-related as you can get information from professionals who have been doing graphic design for a long time. You can also join a paid platform like Skillshare or Pateron that has people putting out entire courses within the graphic design field. Teaching yourself this information before attending a college/university for graphic design (if you decide to go that route), you would already have some familiarity with these topics and would make the assignments/projects not so difficult.

I know this was a ton of information to give you at once, but I hope it helps to thoroughly answer your questions and hopefully want to explore more in the graphic design field.

I wish you the best of luck!

-Laura M.
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