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Any good graphic designer out there?

I’m majoring in digital arts with the goal of becoming a graphic designer for a designated company. Are there any tips real world designers could give such as what companies I should work for, should I just become a freelancer, should I minor in something else etc. I would love to grow as a designer by learning from your experiences and start preparing myself for the workplace.

#graphic-design #major #real-life-experience #tips

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Cuong’s Answer

Hey Diana,


I don't know if I would call myself a good graphic designer. I do a lot of freelance jobs for various clients, such as brochures, cards, and presentations for real estate agents to web designing for two clients. When you have more than one skill, you tend to expand your search much wider rather than relying on one specific skill. I know how to write HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript, I used and created a game on Unity 3D, and done various motion graphics. In my experience, I prefer to be a digital work versus print work.


As a good starting point, I would recommend gaining experience in an internship or assistant somewhere in school, given you provide work to show your current level. That's the best way to go and grow as designer. And yes, you could pick up freelance jobs on the side, perhaps for friends or family who would need something graphic design related.

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Gwendolyn’s Answer

Hi Diana, my name is Gwen and I'm an in-house graphic designer for a global corporation. Glad to see you are interested in graphic design!


As far as what companies you should work for, I think it depends on your priorities. If you are confident in your skill and are great at managing your own taxes, contracts, etc., then freelancing is definitely an option for you. I don't prefer freelancing, so working in-house is great for me. I prefer consistency of brand and building long-term relationships with my company clients. You could also work at a design agency, which will give you great experience working with a variety of clients and brands. Try to figure out what you prefer while still in school so that when the time comes you know which types of design jobs to apply for. I also agree that you should get design internships while in college. I interned for my university and the experience was SO very valuable and increased my skill set tremendously. If you're going to do freelance design jobs as a student, I highly recommend Bonsai (https://www.hellobonsai.com/). It helps with keeping track of your finances and contracts as a freelancer.


I minored in Psychology which I have found helpful for understanding client needs, but pick whatever minor you think will add to your design skill set. If there's another area at your school that could make you a more diverse designer, do that!


Other random advice:

-Always have an answer to who your favorite designer of the moment is. You should be following successful designers (Instagram and Dribbble are great for this) and keeping track of design trends. Not only will this inspire you, it will help you gauge how much progress you need to make in your skill set as a student.

-Intern, freelance, intern. I found my college internship to be so vitally helpful. I wish I would have started interning sooner! I attribute getting a job so quickly out of college to the knowledge I gained during this internship. Class is great, but it's not going to teach you everything you need to know. There should be plenty of paid student design jobs on campus, so that's a great place to start. And while I didn't freelance too much in school, the projects I did take really helped me learn about myself and my ability to manage deadlines and contracts.

-Start an online portfolio. Take pictures of ALL your work (even if it sucks). Save ALL your files on a solid-state drive (trust me on this one...you don't want your computer to crash or to drop your external hard drive and lose EVERYTHING). Keep your portfolio up to date. You don't want to get to senior year and have to start from scratch.

-Practice writing and speaking. To win clients/jobs you have to be able to write and talk about your work. The sooner you start, the easier this will be!


I hope this all is helpful! Good luck in all your classes. Work hard and you'll be a successful designer in no time. :)


Gwendolyn

Gwendolyn recommends the following next steps:

Buy a solid-state drive.
Follow successful designers on social media. Find out who your favorites are.
Get a design internship!
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Tracey’s Answer

Hi Diana,

Congrats on your studies. More often than not graphic designers start their career at design or digital agencies. I would recommend working for an agency to build up for portfolio and build your depth of experience. As we all know, print is becoming a lost art BUT still required for agencies that establish brand design for large corporations. Try to intern at an agency during the summer to get exposed to the work world early.

As far as minoring, you may want to take a few web development classes in coding like CSS and HTML as most designers have digital experience and it would make you more marketable.

Good luck.
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