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Career Change

Discussion in 'Design Jobs & Employment Forum:' started by SJG_4, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. SJG_4

    SJG_4 New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I'm thinking of a career change. Is now a good time to think about getting into Graphic Design or would it be a real struggle?

    Thanks, from a confused Sophie! :icon_dunno:
  2. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    The design and print industry is tearing itself apart at the moment. I love it but if I wasn't in it already I'm not so sure that I would join it! I don't want to be negative. I am sure that soon the business will come back and an MA (if you can get in) will be a great asset...and you'll be a year down the line.

    Take a look at for some course - try the family and friends for 'work' and to build a portfolio and, as you are in London and have drawing skills, hock yourself round to a few design agencies and see how you go.

    Good luck!
  3. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    what do you do at the moment? Theres very little work for junior/inexperienced designers and what there is, is minimum wage so its probably not a good time to consider re-training.
  4. SJG_4

    SJG_4 New Member

    At the moment I'm an artist and a teaching assistant. I am just bashing my head against a wall at the moment as I just don't know what to do. I have a degree in Fine Art and this teaching assistant job is the only job I've had so I don't have much experience. I want to be able to use my creativity to try and earn a good wage for my future family.

    Ooh, what to do!

  5. Esh

    Esh Member

    Funnily enough, I've sort of made a 'career change' away from graphic design! I was working at a local business and even though I've not been there too long, I've really struggled financially...part-time and min wage! So I had to find full-time work, and now work as an events co-ordinator! :icon_eek: Luckily I kept up my experience/quals in a range of things and made sure I took tasks that we're transferable to many types of jobs. :icon_clapping: I'll keep my hand in graphics by taking on the occasional freelance project, just in case things change in the future, but I would say the design industry is getting fairly weak, if not already. Salaries are generally a pittance, especially for a starter/junior, competition for even the most menial & junior of jobs its almost pointless applying for them unless you know for a fact you're really upto scratch in many ways. Employers want so much from people right now, employers are dominating the job market so they will almost always pick the one with more experience over a newbie! Sorry that sounds really negative!

    On a lighter note, you can always develop your skills by getting a few books/mags on layout/typography etc, you'll already have a good grounding in things like space/colour etc as fine art is an excellent subject, but you'll need to put tune creativity in a more commerical sense. The software used by most is the Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator/Indesign/Photoshop). I personally got my last job due to being able to use Coreldraw, so I think it pays to learn as many programs as you possibly can, I've even seen a few employers demanding skills in open-source software. If you can develop any skills in web design, that'll make your position much stronger as designers these days need to be able to multi-task. I made up a few portfolio projects, which were excellent for practising and developing my software skills...this is generally okay as long as you make it a realistic commercially relevent project, and you could also try and do work for family/friends companies.
    I'd also consider freelancing for a while, as this will help you get some 'real' clients, more porfolio, money (of course) and experience.

    I can personally think of many ways you could be creative as a teaching assistant, even if it's during lunchtimes/afterschool much say are you allowed to have? I would LOVE to do that kind of work!
    Anyway, just take your time and practise, do it properly and don't rush it! You still have your job as security so can afford to make 'mistakes'....a job is like gold dust these days and you're lucky to be working at all! :icon_thumbup:

    Good luck

    PS: Apologies for my ever long reply, I ALWAYS waffle on! :icon_wink:
  6. Esh

    Esh Member

    Sorry...more waffle....!! :icon_biggrin:

    Was just thinking, with your skills/experience in art and teaching assistant, you'd be a perfect candidate for something like support worker, art therapist or occupational therapist! Sounds a bit crazy and random, but my friend did exactly need to be both caring, supportive and creative, and you help people with many problems by using creativity, calm them down with soothing artistic exercises, help them draw out their memories, emotions, just for fun friend works with people with mental health issues, but you can work with children, elderly, people with behavioural or learning difficulties...lots of work at the mo and pays not bad either. Something I considered!

    Just a random thought. :icon_rolleyes:
  7. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Rather than strict graphic design, why not look at illustrating? If you can draw (and being an artist I guess you can), all you need is to do is learn the software. The money for a good illustrator is way better than for a designer because its not the sort of thing that anyone with a copy of photoshop can offer so the market isnt flooded.
  8. linziloop

    linziloop Member

    I suggested a similar thing in the thread here:

  9. SJG_4

    SJG_4 New Member

    Thank you everyone for all your advice. Really is helping me with all the many questions whizzing around my mind! :icon_cheers:


    VLAHAKISA Member

    Entering the industry

    It's a highly competitive industry, to make a decent living you need to be;

    - Very technically skilled and creative.
    - Be multi-skilled in as many different types of creative output as you can.
    - Understand how to run a business (your business).
    - Be happy to be a freelancer because unless you are one of the best, you won't get a well paid design 'job'. Be realistic about whether you think you are 'one of the best' designers.

    If you don't have all these skills yet, you can learn them.

  11. TimmyC

    TimmyC Member

    Hi Sophie,

    Graphic design is a really downhill market in the UK, I'm not sure if you would enjoy it unless you get yourself a job.

    If I were you, I would stick to art! Become a 'concept artist' or something similar.

    Graphic design are really treated like another strand of marketing, like it dont mean much. It is frustrating as it's the only part of marketing that contains skill and imagination. Oh well!

    The other thing is if you do what im seriously thinking of, and that is movnig abroad, over in Europe they pay top wack for designers! They see the skill in it. I dont really do it for the money, but at the same time I need to make a living, and when im older and have a family I need to provide, I need a good income.

    I hope that helps.
  12. Tony Pritchard

    Tony Pritchard New Member

    Hi Sophie
    I run courses for people with your profile. The course is called Design for Visual Communication and is for people who come from a different academic of professional background. You can find the course here: Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication - University of Arts London
    If you are still interested do get in contact. BTW I wrote a piece for people like yourself here: How to be Good at Graphic Design | Tony Pritchard's Blog

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