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How to become a graphic designer...


Senior Member
Just thought I'd point everyone in the direction of my latest blog post entitled 'Top 7 Tips: How to become a graphic designer'. Hopefully it will help those just starting out in the industry or those thinking about taking up a career in graphic design. It's simple stuff but I wish someone wudda told me it when I was just starting out.

Check out the illustrations and designs of dave for the full article.

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I definitely agree with that Vanya, I'm in the process of writing a book review on that very same book for a post on my blog next week. it is a must read.
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Active Member
Nice article, portfolio and enthusiasm are the keys for me. And of course experience but that comes later.

I had the opportunity to hear Shaughnessy speak live. He covered many of the topics in his book (posted above) and is an excellent speaker. If you get the chance don't miss him. I've heard a fair few other big name designers speak and many of them have massive egos and talk about themselves too much. Shaughnessy is not one of them!

Perhaps a big ego is also the secret?

edit: I'm going to reread that book now


Senior Member
i agree dbushell that experience does come in time, but I made a big mistake while I was at uni. I spent so much time getting my portfolio right that I didnt have any experience in the workplace at all by the time I had graduated.

I was 22, looking for work and at every interview I was told that I would need some experience before I would be considered for a job. I then spent the next 6 months working for free on a wide range of placements I had to organise myself in some local graphic design studios.

If I knew then what I do now I wudda definitely spent my uni holidays doing placements, gaining valuable experience whilst continuing my education during term time.
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Yes that's a very good point. I think finding the balance between producing a strong portfolio and experiencing work is the key. I managed to secure my current job just a week before graduating. All though In hindsight I still should have started applying for jobs when I had a month or two to go.

Anyone have good tips regarding getting work experience?

The best advice I heard was to be cheeky and charming at the same time. e.g. make sure you ring up after submitting your portfolio or emailing a PDF. A lot of people are scared to follow up if they don't get a reply, when in reality the person has been busy and forgot. A pleasant phone call will remind them and show enthusiasm.


Senior Member
I'd agree with that, a pleasant follow up phone call is a must. I found that sending PDF portfilios worked much better than sending a CD of my work. Not many studios would take the time to put a CD in and browse through the various things.

My most successful technique was to create a presentation box that contained samples and examples of my work, tangible things that people could pick up, touch, feel and interact with and then I called up agencies and studios and asked if I could pop in and show them my box. It was really well received and eventually lead to the job I have now.