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How to Become a Graphic Designer

Graphic Design Basics

A career in graphic design involves using both text and images to create advertisements, books, or magazines, and is an artistic and often rewarding profession. As someone looking into earning a degree in graphic design, you may be wondering about the process of getting a job post-graduation.

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How to Become a Graphic Designer

We are living in an increasingly visual world. From web pages to corporate logos, communicating a visual message is one of the most important aspects of business. This is why skilled graphic designers are in demand. If you want to pursue a rewarding and challenging career as a graphic designer, first you need to know what steps to take. Continue reading to find out how to become a graphic designer.

1. Earn a degree
If you want to give yourself an edge in the competitive graphic design field, consider earning a minimum of an associate’s degree in graphic design or multimedia design. An associate’s degree will provide you with credibility, and typically doesn’t cost as much or take as much time as a bachelor’s degree. A good graphic design program will provide plenty of hands-on training utilizing today’s best graphic design software programs.

2. Obtain graphic design software
If you want to be a graphic designer, you’ll need the necessary software. Industry standard applications for graphic design are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. If you want to expand your knowledge further, the full Adobe Creative Suite includes Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Premiere, Photoshop, InDesign and After Effects. While these applications are designed to be easy to use, they contain numerous features that require a great deal of practice to master.

3. Choose an area of graphic design
Before you can become a graphic designer, you need to decide on an area of graphic design that interests you. For example, are you interested in advertising, print design, web development, multimedia, or animation? Narrow your focus to an area of graphic design that appeals to you. While graphic design is basically the same whether online or in print, there are key differences in color space, resolution, and other variables that are specific to each area of graphic design. Until you become more skilled, it’s best to focus on one area.

4. Practice
The best way to become a graphic designer is to practice. Practice often and take on as many projects as possible. Also, welcome feedback whenever possible so that you can hone your skills.

5. Redesign other people’s work
If you see a terrible design somewhere, take a photo or save a copy on your computer and redesign it. If you see a great design, on the other hand, challenge yourself to add something that makes the design even better.  Add the before and after designs to your portfolio so that prospective employers or clients can observe your talent.

6. Study the pros
Immerse yourself in the graphic design world. Study designs featured in newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and anywhere else you spot graphic design (it’s everywhere you look). Many aspiring artists study the masters to improve their skills so find graphic designers whose work you admire and study their creations.

7. Develop your own unique style
You want people to recognize your work when they see it. To develop a unique style, practice as much as possible. Honing your craft will allow you to create high-quality designs that are immediately recognizable as your own.

8. Create a portfolio
This is where your creative talents are allowed to shine. While you still need to create a resume, the only way a prospective client or employer will know what you have to offer is to provide visual evidence. Create a portfolio containing all of your work, and take it with you when you visit a potential client or employer. This can help you when your ready to begin your search for jobs in graphic design.  Your portfolio should contain a variety of different styles and projects to show that you are a well-rounded designer. Also, choose quality over quantity when deciding what to include in your portfolio. You should also create a print, online and CD/DVD version of your portfolio.

When it comes down to it, one of the most important components to getting a job in graphic design is developing your portfolio. Here are a few tips on how to do this successfully.

How to Build a Portfolio

When building a portfolio, it is vital to choose only pieces that showcase your strongest work. Take a look at all the designs you have created over the course of your studies and internships, and select ones which are unique, creative, and high quality. It is also good to choose a variety of designs for your portfolio so that the prospective employer has an idea of your capabilities. Picking the proper number of pieces to include in your portfolio is also important; experts recommend between ten and twenty items to showcase.

Showcase the Details

Once you have selected which designs to include in your portfolio, write out a description for each piece. While much of your work may be self-explanatory, it is never a bad idea to prepare for a questioning and curious employer who may want to know the backstory or techniques used in your project. Do not make them search for it.

Discuss Your Results

If you have interned at a company where you designed a successful advertisement or marketing campaign, include numbers and information about your accomplishment. Prospective employers love to see that you have already worked hard and succeeded with other companies, and this knowledge will make them more inclined to imagine your success at their business as well.

Ask for Advice

As you work to get a job with a future employer, there will be a variety of individuals viewing your portfolio. Since quality of art and aesthetics are usually subjective, it can be difficult to imagine what someone else might think about a portfolio collection. Ask a trusted friend, advisor, or professor to take a look at what you have selected to get another opinion on if the pieces you have chosen truly show off your talent in the best way possible. Constructive criticism will play a major role in your career in graphic design, so asking for this early will help you develop as a professional.

How Fremont Can Help

The best way to get experience and education with graphic design is to attend a university which offers the degree you are looking for. The graphic design program at Fremont College will help you develop your skills in only 15 months, and can be completed entirely online! Contact us today to learn more about getting started on your successful future as a graphic designer.

Get the training you need to become a graphic designer by enrolling in the Multimedia Design program at Fremont College. The program takes just 15 months to complete, allowing you to earn an associate’s degree and be on your way to a rewarding career in just over one year. The Multimedia Design degree program takes place 100% online, convenient for those who have busy schedules and prefer to complete coursework at their own pace. Space in the Multimedia Design degree program is limited, so contact us today to start preparing for your future.

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