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Broadening Your Skillset

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by pealo86, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. pealo86

    pealo86 New Member

    Why I Want To:
    I've been considering branching out for the best part of a year or so now. Currently my workload consists of about 90% web design, then the rest being the occasional logo design job (portfolio link in my sig).

    Basically I'm getting a little tired of designing virtually nothing other than websites. Back when I was in college, I saw myself as working on a range of design projects for both web and print, but slowly over time I became more of a web design specialist as opposed to an overall designer as I kinda took the wrong path (I won't bore you with the details). Not only that but I've always looked more at graphic design for inspiration as opposed to just web design, and I've always found reading Computer Arts to be far more interesting than reading .net.

    So anyway, I like to code, but I don't like the fact that it is such a massive part of my job. My main goal for this year is to become more familiar with print and branding, as I'd love to work in those fields as well as web design. So basically you can say my dream job role would be something along the lines of 'Graphic Designer... (who can code)'

    What I've Heard in The Industry:

    I've finally got round to reading CA Collection: Vol 01, and I see that a lot of the advice in there is talking about broadening your skillset to help get through the recession. A lot of the designers in there say that they are adapting to digital as so many of their clients can't afford print at the minute.

    So it seems a lot of graphic designers are moving into designing for web, whereas I want to do the opposite.

    One thing I'm wondering however, is there much work in print these days? I know of a lot of people who design for both web and print, but then I've also heard other print designers saying they've almost been *forced* into designing for web due to the economic climate.

    How does everyone else find it? Can you quite comfortably make a living from print design & branding if you're good enough?

    And another question? How many people here design for both on and offline mediums?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  2. DigitalYak

    DigitalYak Member

    Well I can give you some advice from my own personal experience, I'm a freelancer and the majority of my work is web design also, I do have projects for print every now and then, but not often. I tend to deal with Small to mid size companies and a lot of start up businesses and I usually offer clients a design package that includes a website and print material such as business cards, brochures etc, and this keeps my work varied. maybe try to display your print work more prominently on your portfolio to tell potential clients that you specialize in print work and that may get your more clients in that area. hope this helps.
  3. pealo86

    pealo86 New Member

    Thanks for the tips. I have a few projects (combination of personal ones as well as discounted / pro-bono) in the pipeline in order to make my experience / portfolio look less web related (that's just one of my ideas to get things moving though).

    Quite excited about it :D

    Sorry to hear you don't get print projects amazingly often. Although if I could at least have my workload so that it was, say, only 50% web then that would be good with me. It's also not so much just print work I'm after, I love branding and designing graphics for the web too.

    Will be interesting to see where I'm at a year or so from now!
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I understand your urge to want to get more into the print side of things, but I'm actually really embracing the digital work I get at the moment. I don't do web design as such, but often get work designing dashboards, admin panels and things like that, and I can tell you, it's a lot less stressful than working in print. Minor changes are easy to implement, and a spelling mistake isn't going to cost you a whole lot of time/money to change; a quick edit to the source and you're done (sometimes before the client even realises). You don't have to worry about how your hues are going to come out in the final print either, though the thought of designing for multiple browsers, operating systems and window sizes does make my brain melt out of my ears a little bit.

    It's definitely a great feeling to have your work realised in a printed form, and I always get excited by my visits to printers. Perhaps look into more expressive, self indulgent design work that you can do in your spare time? Posters, album covers, stuff like that? I'm hoping to eventually start a whole range of printed material I can sell at print fairs and online, not so much to make money from, but more as a way for me to have some fun with design.


    Maybe look at this years Secret 7", an event that asks designers and illustrators to submit vinyl record sleeves for a range of musicians, which (if selected) are printed and sold to raise money for charity. You have to submit through Telent House though, a site I generally don't agree with, but since it's for a good cause you can't really complain.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  5. pealo86

    pealo86 New Member


    I see what you mean about embracing digital, I've spoken to other print designers who have said the exact same thing. I think what keeps a lot of designers motivated is to mix a variety of mediums. I still want to design for web, just I'd like for it to not take up approx 90% of my workload.

    As for the self-endulgent design projects, that's exactly what I have planned ;) I have quite a lot of different ideas but one of them is to design cool posters and sell them through Redbubble. Like you say, not for the money but mostly out of fun... but if I make any money then it's of course a bonus :D

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