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Can I get a Graphic Design job with an illustration portfolio?

Discussion in 'Design Jobs & Employment Forum:' started by emysu, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. emysu

    emysu New Member


    I graduated last summer with a first class degree in illustration. I absolutely loved my course, and was hoping to work freelance as an illustrator. I have since been working part time as a call center agent and working on personal illustration projects on the side.

    However I'm really not sure a career in freelance illustration is what I want, I miss the studio environment and I'm also really struggling to connect with clients. Basically I feel very young and naive and not ready to go freelance.

    I know Graphic Design is not an easy field to break into either, but I love the idea of working with other people, in a studio environment and learning from other creative people more experienced than me.
    I have always loved graphic design and am really interested in typography and packaging, however my portfolio is obviously very illustration focused at the moment.
    Do you think I have any chance of finding design internships or a junior designer position with an illustration portfolio?
  2. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Of course you have a chance. You're applying as an intern/apprentice/junior - nobody expects you to know anything, and having any sort of skill, knowledge, passion for your field gives you an advantage.

    Apply, apply, apply! Keep applying.

    I got my first job by simply posting my CV to every printing company in my area. I got lots of replies! Even up to 1 year later I got replies.

    You can do it!
  3. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I work as a Designer and and Illustrator (Desillustrator) and I'm pretty comfortable doing both.
    Graphics and Illustration share a lot of the same principles such as composition, colour theory, layout and so on.

    I'd say it's harder to make it as an Illustrator and by its very nature, it tends to mean working alone unless you're working for something like a greeting card/gift company.

    I think your illustration experience may open some doors when it comes to an internship and you sound young so you've plenty of time to learn.

    Maybe you could add some Graphic Design work to your portfolio integrating some of your illustration work?

    Have a look on some inspiration sites like FromUpNorth who have sections for things like packaging, typography and the like.
    Make some designs.
    There are also mock-up sites like GraphicBurger where you can download really good packaging mock-ups for free and drop your designs onto them.
    They're easy to use, really bring a design to life, look super professional and they're also fun to do (if you're a bit sad like me). ;)
  4. emysu

    emysu New Member

    Thankyou guys! I will definitely check out the website you recommended. :)
    So would you say it's okey to apply with an illustration portfolio, with maybe 2-3 more design based projects?
  5. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I'd say it is.
    You want some quantity but it's as if not more more important to focus on quality.
    Different companies will look for different strengths but remember you do not need to come across as if you know everything.
    As an intern, you're there to learn.

    First job I got as a Designer/Illustrator was for a greetings company where I applied for a job as a Graphic Designer.
    I had some illustration work at the back of my folio and it got me the job but as a Designer/Illustrator not a Graphic Designer.
  6. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    There's no reason you can't tackle design from an illustration angle. Check out some of the work of Kate Moross for example. Her hand-drawn typography as an example is design with an illustration twist. Her studio tackles all sorts of projects, often with a colourful, illustrative twist. Try not to think of it as either illustration or design, often what we do transcends both, and studios will likely snap up someone who has a good knowledge of both.
    Vanessa and scotty like this.
  7. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    ^^^Like @Paul Murray said^^^

    I see lots more ad's for jobs asking for illustration skills recently, especially from juniors or interns.
    If you don't have a web portfolio yet, get yourself a Bahance profile and start getting some of your work up.
  8. emysu

    emysu New Member

    That's so true and I love Kate Moross and hand drawn typography.
    Think I just still have school mindset of having to work in a set "category".
    Thanks for your advice and encouragement! You've inspired me to keep up the search haha :)

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