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Becoming a Graphic Designer?

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by duarted, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. duarted

    duarted New Member

    Hey guys. Quick can I become and work as a graphic designer? I have absolutely no experience on how things work in this area considering I'm looking for a radical career change.

    Everything I know (although I dont know whether its enough) of photoshop is self taught and I have around 20 pieces of work I've done on my own time. I'm really passionate about creating and I am actually looking at getting a job as a junior graphic designer or something starting from the bottom. Now the question is...what do I have to do next? Do you advise me to take Photoshop and Illustrator courses even though I'm already probably Intermediate or Advanced and then apply for jobs? Or can I just apply for jobs with the work ive done? I know its difficult to answer not having seen what type of things I did but I can tell you they're mostly stuff like ficticious album covers, advertising posters, etc, made up of stock images. When I see all these people with college and uni courses I always think Ill never make it since i dont have any formal qualifications.

    Thanks a lot for your help! Im looking forward to your answers :icon_thumbup:
  2. GlazedEye Media

    GlazedEye Media New Member

    Hi dude,

    Best way is to contact design companies and find out about vacancies or positions available as a junior designer. Moreover the strength of your portfolio will out-way the qualifications you lack. Continue to improve your skills while trying o pick-up new ones e.g web based. its far easier to find a job in design when you are versed in more than one media i.e. print design.

    Hope you find this helpful.

  3. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    Do you have a creative background for a start?

    When it comes down to it you can learn the applications but if you do not have the ideas to put into practice it doesn't matter how good you are with the apps.

    It's not a job you can just learn and get on with, you need to have a creative background because that's something that can't be taught.
  4. duarted

    duarted New Member

    well, yes, everybody always told me I should have done an art degree rather than psychology but i guess i thought paying my bills was more important. now im thinking the other way around. my friend has an advertising company and he keeps telling me by the work i do on photoshop that im a waste lol he thinks i should apply for reality might be different here in the uk. i dont know whether i can apply for jobs without any qualifications or experience even though (lets assume) the work i do is good. or can i?
  5. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    First thing you need to do is learn to use capital letters...

  6. YellowPeril

    YellowPeril Member

    No amount of skill you have with a computer is going to make you a good designer and believe me, there are a lot of Mac monkeys about.

    The first step is great ideas and a pencil - rendering comes much later.
  7. byronc

    byronc Member

    dont let anyone put you off - show your designs to people, get work - even if part-time. Apply for jobs - explain your situation - even if you get told what you need to get in at least its a start.
    Managers respect people with courage and passion - just do it.

    i started doing cms websites with no skill whatsover and just learnt as i went along. Even when i took a long time my clients understood as I went the exrtra mile.....
  8. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    My problem here has been mentioned within the forums before, that it seems people just think they can walk into a design profession because it's that easy. Let me tell you, it's not.

    Design is a very opinion based career. What one person might drool over, another might tear to pieces. Your friend might be spot on, you might have a talent. But then it is one persons opinion. It might be worth maybe putting some work on here for a few designers to have a look at.

    Critique on design forums is sometimes hard, but also very fair. Designers tend to tell you how it is. The point I'm trying to make is that you shouldn't expect to just find work as a designer, albeit as a junior. It's a tough profession and if you can't handle the pressure it will eat you up and spit you out.

    If you want to become a plumber, an electrician etc, it will take months, maybe years to get the experience for you to operate to a standard. Design is no different.
  9. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Design, as you say, is opinion-based, but plumbing and electrics are not so in that respect they're very different: one man's great design might be another man's worst visual nightmare but it's not going to burn anyone's house down.

    If we ever thought design was a properly patrolled gated community, we surely know better now. In short, if you can design, you can be a designer - and all you really need is a decent visual sense, a dash of common sense and the ability to translate your ideas into two dimensions. You might not be the best but who is?
  10. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    Plumbing and electrics still need tuition and experience. Whether it amounts to burning your house down or not, the fact that you can't just walk into a job that takes experience and knowledge remains the same. In fact I would think there are some executives out there that would care LESS if a place burnt down because of a dodgy electrician. I would say there is more money involved in advertising and marketing and that is more important to some people. We don't need films or premier league football. They aren't a necessity, but an actor gets more for a film than most of us would in three lifetimes.

    I think for someone that works in design you're very dismissive of the work we put in to become established in our career. You are right in a respect, that 'all you really need is a decent visual sense, a dash of common sense and the ability to translate your ideas into two dimensions' but I doubt that'll get someone a job in a successful design studio. And if it isn't your aspiration to be successful at what you do, then why bother looking for a career? I thought that's what a career was?
  11. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I'd really recommend looking into a design degree, or even a year long foundation degree just to be sure it's for you. Sadly, without a degree or some practical experience, a lot of places wouldn't even consider you.

    VLAHAKISA Member

    Foot in door

    Never fear, there are plenty of self taught designers and artists that make a creative living. Myself included, I have zero design qualifications and yet have been designing full time as a freelancer for 10 years next year! :D

    That's freelance though, not sure if employers have an issue with no qualifications or not. I suspect not IF your portfolio is strong enough to evidence skill.

    I disagree about pencil/paper being ESSENTIAL before designing in the software. This opinion is very much promoted by those who design in this way, but it is not the only way to design well. By going straight to the machine does not necessarily mean your design work will be bad/inferior/not creative.

    There are some designers who work straight in the machine, myself included. I 'can' work on paper first, but I prefer not to, because I find it quicker to work straight in the machine and it does not make any difference to my levels of creativity to do it that way round.

  13. YellowPeril

    YellowPeril Member

    By designing straight to the computer you are immediately designing to the limitations of the software - I prefer to design freely and then render it, I find that much quicker.

    However - each to their own.
  14. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    If your software has limitations you're going to encounter them further down the line and have to work within them anyway. Like you say though, each to their own.
  15. YellowPeril

    YellowPeril Member

    That is true to a degree, but just for an example, I could handletter a type based logo an awful lot quicker than I could in a computer programme and at the end of the day, if I decided to follow that route I could either use a drawing programme or do it by hand and scan it. However if I decided another path, I'd've wasted a lot of time. Also I often come up with ideas as I'm driving, so I'll stop and sketch them on the back of an envelope or whatever, something I couldn't do (or want to do) immediately with a laptop.
  16. aloemo

    aloemo New Member

    Hi Duarted -

    With perseverance and ability it may be possible for you to find work as a junior 'Graphic Designer' through experience of a couple of software packages but you will not have all the skills that someone who has invested in a reputable Design course has. You may feel more confident and be taken more seriously with a relevant degree.

    The traditional route has been to attend a year long Art Foundation course to try a number of disciplines before applying for a 3 year Honours Degree Course. The deadline for some University courses for this year is 24th March, applying through UCAS. So, if you are willing and able to apply for a place, there is still time to find out about funding etc.

    With the huge numbers of new designers entering the industry every year you need to have a unique selling point. If you have an outstanding portfolio which showcases your ability that may be sufficient to be taken on by a firm or you could offer your services on a freelance basis to local businesses or bands or whatever in order to earn some money whilst studying further.

    What are your long term aspirations? To always work for others, do freelance work or to start your own firm? Whatever happens I wish you every success. Mo
  17. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    I don't agree that this is the only way into graphic design but I DO believe you need a creative background. You can make a career by self teaching but without creativity I don't think it matters what route to take, you wont have the creative process at your disposal.

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