Many artistic or creative jobs have intense competition and graphic design is no exception. To succeed in this field requires a wide variety of design experience, beginning with traditional skills such as drawing and painting, up to and including a thorough understanding of how to use computer technology.
Because of the competitive nature of creative jobs, those with an education and knowledge of computer design software, especially web design and animation, will have the best chance of success. Graphic designers are expected to be thoroughly familiar with new and updated computer software, and to keep up with changing trends.
The field of graphic design is broad, and there are many different ways of using design skills. Graphic designers help plan the layout of magazines, newspapers, and corporate reports. They may work closely with copywriters to design marketing brochures. Many graphic designers specialize in developing material for web pages; others may specialize in photographic techniques. Graphic designers create CD covers, movie credits, letterhead, signs, distinctive logos, and calendars. Other skills used by graphic designers include type, illustration, animation, and various layout techniques. Anywhere images are displayed, somewhere there is a graphic designer behind them.
How does a new graphic designer stand out in this competitive industry?
In addition to natural creative talent, it is important for graphic designers to have above average communication skills. They need to be able to understand the needs of a client and be able to communicate their own visions. Designers need to be able to communicate verbally, visually, and in writing. They need to be very detail oriented, good problem solvers, and able to meet deadlines when necessary. They must be willing to learn new trends and stay open to new ideas. They must have an eye for color and detail, and an appreciation for beauty.
A strong portfolio is sometimes the deciding factor in getting a graphic design job. A portfolio is a collection of the designer’s best work. Employers are also looking for education, motivation, determination, and openness to new ideas.
Industries that hire graphic designers include advertising agencies, newspaper and periodical publishers, and specialized design services. New designers are sometimes hired as apprentices.
One option for graphic designers is to work on a freelance basis. This does create some stress, such as an unpredictable income, and striving to please an existing client while searching for new ones. Working on a freelance basis requires self-discipline, good business sense, and sales ability. More than one-fourth of all graphic designers are self-employed.
The need for talented and creative individuals who can master graphic design and keep up with computer technology continues to increase. The rapid growth of the World Wide Web is creating more and more opportunities for graphic designers. Those with web site design and animation experience will be especially needed. Additional opportunities are arising from the expansion of the entertainment industry. Although competition can be intense, a designer who is determined to succeed, works hard, and stays on top of new technology definitely has a bright future.