How to Become a Graphic Designer |

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Jobs & Career

How to Become a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are visual storytellers! They combine images, words, and graphics to communicate information and keep the audiences entertained and enthralled. The job role of a graphic designer is very essential in the marketing and advertising of a brand or company. Now that you are aware of what this career is all about, do you wish to become a graphic designer? If so, keep reading to learn how!


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Furthermore, graphic designers use different design elements, like shapes, colors, lines, and textures, to create a variety of work. The job outlook for graphic designers is on the good side and as such, you should delve more into how to become a graphic designer. In addition, they create everything from posters and product packaging to logos and animations.

Visually appealing designs created by a graphic designer help to support the brand’s message and evoke emotion from consumers. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know on how to become a graphic designer. Let’s get started!

Steps To Become A Graphic Designer

1. Learn Graphic Design Principles

If you want to become a graphic designer, you will need to first obtain a solid understanding of the principles of graphic design. A good design must be carefully crafted to get your desired result. Furthermore, you will need lots of planning and require expertise in applying design theory and principles.

As a graphic designer, you must consider some elements like lines, color, shape, space, texture, typography, scale, dominance and emphasis, and harmony. All of these elements have their various impacts on design and can shape how an audience feels.

2. Enroll In A Graphic Design Course

As a graphic designer, enrolling in a course will teach you the fundamentals of design. And also helps you build your skills through working on projects. Meanwhile, graphic design courses often introduce you to mentors and peers, who will become valuable as you grow your network.


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Most graphic design courses will cover topics like color theory, typography, layout, graphic design tools, and software. However, depending on the depth, some courses will add graphic design history, user experience(UX), and website design principles. There are various options that you can choose from, ranging from structured academic courses to online courses that offer more flexibility.

3. Learn Key Graphic Design Tools

There are lots of tools that you will need if you want to become a graphic designer, most especially graphic design software. Adobe Creative Cloud is the standard that most graphic designers make use of. Furthermore, you should endeavor to familiarize yourself with Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, and InDesign, as the majority of design work can be created with these tools. 

4. Work On Your Projects

After you’ve gained knowledge of graphic design principles and tools, it’s time to practice. Working on your design project is one of the best ways to grow your skills and master graphic design software. You can begin by creating mock ads and logos for real or made-up companies.

Furthermore, you can take a company’s existing designs and try to make a new design. As such, you will practice well and be able to identify and design for target audiences. Another great option is to volunteer with local non-profits or brands. Offer your design skills to these organizations, this way you’ll get more practice, as well as gain real-world experience.

5. Develop A Portfolio To Showcase Your Work

A strong portfolio is very important for you as a graphic designer. In your portfolio, you can include projects you completed for a course, as well as personal or work projects. Ensure you focus on quality rather than quantity. Additionally, your portfolio is the first impression that potential employers or clients will see, therefore select work that best shows your design skills and interests.

Types Of Graphic Designers

1. In-House Graphic Designers

In-house graphic designers are usually employed by an established brand or company. As an in-house graphic designer, you will need to have a range of general design skills that best suit the various needs of your employer. Also, your job role may vary and include everything from designing new marketing campaigns to compiling annual reports.

Depending on the size of the creative department, an in-house graphic designer can work with a creative team or just be a solo designer in the company. Furthermore, there is usually a more traditional work environment, steady paychecks, and a regular work schedule for an in-house graphic designer.

2. Agency Graphic Designers

An agency graphic designer works with a range of brands and clients. Agencies are hired by outside clients, and as such, the needs of those clients may differ. Generally, an agency graphic designer may work on short-term projects geared toward specific campaigns. 

Their job role tends to be more fast-paced, and they may be designing for several brands at once. In addition, several graphic designers work within an agency, with each having a different area of specialization. Agency graphic designers also work with colleagues who are very familiar with and skilled in design, which implies that there will be a high expectation for stellar design.

Agencies are a great opportunity to work alongside other designers and get a first-hand look into their design processes. This can be particularly useful for new Designers who are eager to learn from established Designers.

3. Freelance Graphic Designers

As a freelance graphic designer, you are self-employed and run every aspect of your business. This may range from the actual design work to managing clients and issuing invoices. Furthermore, you will work closely with various clients, on a range of projects. If you want to become a successful freelance graphic designer, you must be self-motivated and business-savvy.

Working as a freelancer comes with great job flexibility. You have the opportunity to live and work anywhere, while you design your schedule. In addition, you can also be selective in terms of the work you choose to do. However, it’s essential to grow a strong client base when first beginning a freelance business.

Aside from graphic design work, freelance graphic designers need to invest in marketing themselves and handling administrative tasks. Freelancers always need to seek out new clients and opportunities. At times, they will be competing with other designers to land projects.

Graphic Designer’s Salary 

According to Talent.com, the average salary of a graphic designer in the USA is $50,395 per year or $24.23 per hour. Entry-level positions often start around $39,010 annually while most experienced workers can earn up to $75,971 per year.

The average annual salary of a graphic designer in Canada is $50,447 or $25.87 per hour. Entry-level positions usually start around $39,585 per year and most experienced workers can earn up to $76,202 per year.

How To Become A Graphic Designer Without Experience

Even if you do not have any experience as a graphic designer, you can still become successful in the field. You can begin by practicing and applying your skills and growing your network. Below are some tips to help you get on. Scroll down to learn!

1. Intern Or Volunteer 

Taking on internships and volunteering are great opportunities for you to obtain practical experience and make connections. When you enroll for an internship with an agency, it will provide you with insight into how these companies function. As well as prepare you for working with a variety of clients.

You can also offer your design skills to help nonprofits and charities, such as galleries, animal shelters, and community centers. By doing this, not only will you give back to the community, but you will also build connections that can help you as you move forward in your graphic design career.

2. Work On Personal Projects And Build Your Portfolio

While you are applying for jobs or contacting potential clients, it’s very important to work on your projects. With personal projects, you will have a great way to practice your skills and create additional material for your portfolio. In addition, endeavor to build an online portfolio to showcase your best work and send it along to potential employers or clients.

3. Contact Design Agencies 

Find a way to introduce yourself to your favorite designers or agencies and ask for an informational interview to learn more about their work. Also, ensure you keep up to date with design agencies and send samples of your projects to them. When they have a future opening, it will be an advantage for you as they may be interested in your work.

4. Network With Other Designers

Keep in touch with people you meet in your graphic design program or course. And also create new connections by joining design organizations and associations. Your peers may share future opportunities, recommend you to their colleagues, or just pass along work they do not have the capacity for.

5. Develop Your Specialty

While you will want to have general knowledge of graphic design across all areas, it’s better if you have a specialty that can help set you apart when applying for jobs. There are a range of specialties you can explore, these include logo design, web design, typography, as well as animation.

Good luck!

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