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Point me in the right direction please?

Discussion in 'Design Jobs & Employment Forum:' started by Malty, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Malty

    Malty New Member

    Hi people, i have been looking to gain a job in the graphic design world now for a while, I'm in a dead end job at the minute that i want to get out of, I'm looking for any type of work, part time full time, i would even work for free as long as it helps me build my skills and so on.

    Where do i start though? i seem to apply for jobs but get know where. i finished Uni in 2011 and I'm hungry to get into graphic design.
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    What was your university degree in? Not that a degree is essential, but certainly an eye for design or an ability to think creatively are.

    Getting a job in design, like most industries, can be tough. You have competition from hundreds if not thousands of others all looking to get in. Without a decent portfolio that shows what you can do, you're unlikely to stand a chance of a job if you apply cold (i.e. without knowing someone in a studio/agency beforehand).

    If your portfolio is lacking, build it up by working on some self-initiated projects. Many people work for free but this has risks attached with it. Often it's better to just work through some competition briefs to build your design portfolio up a bit.

    The next step is getting some practical experience in an actual studio through placements if you haven't already. From there you can start applying for junior positions or asking the many people you'll meet during your placements to put you forward for positions that they may know are available or coming up.
    Stationery Direct likes this.
  3. Malty

    Malty New Member

    Thanks for getting back to me so quick paul,

    My degree was in creative digital media, but i also did art and design at college, my portfolio is lacking alot i feel and needs building up like you said,

    do you know where i can find certain competitions? or even design briefs were i could start creating and so on?
  4. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    I'd steer clear of "competitions".

    You don't get a "full brief", you don't get real feedback from the "client", and if you don't "win" you feel dejected and might demotivate what you're trying to achieve.

    Mostly competition work is called "spec work".

    Plus there's a certain way to prepare files and artwork for different mediums that the client wouldn't be aware of but a really good designer (or someone training under someone's wing) would know in a heartbeat. You don't really give the client a satisfactory product by delivering "unworkable" files.

    Put it this way - you wouldn't decide you needed a new table and then ask 1000s of people to submit a table and then you pick the best one from a picture. The table gets delivered and it's not made out of the wood you wanted, it's painted the wrong colour, the joints aren't strong enough, it's slightly wider than what you intended, it's not long enough.

    You really want a master craftsman in carpentry to build you the table exactly the way you want it - not 1000 apprentice carpenters with access to the tools, using the wrong tool for the wrong job.

    Similarly with graphic design, or any craft, you need guidance and that's hard to come by. You need to be under someone's wing - you need to learn what each tool is and what each one is used for, and when to use it and most importantly when not to use it.

    What I did when I was finished my basic college course (and it was basic 6 month DTP course) was I printed out about 50 CVs, and 50 cover letters. I hand signed each letter.

    I hand wrote 50 envelopes.

    Each addressed to different printing companies in my area (well within at least a 10 mile radius).

    I posted them all in a single day.

    Low and behold I had offers from about 15 different companies. I started working in a sign company but within a couple of weeks I got a phone call asking me if I was interested in an Apprentice position.

    I took the job as an Apprentice Originator, which incorporated preparing files fro print (prepress work) as well as making plates, designing, and anything related to preparing files for litho print.

    Keep going - but don't sit at home learning bad habits.

    I'm sure there are plenty of people out there running companies that want an enthusiastic person to help with day to day stuff - just need to get those letters in the post.

    Good luck.
    Stationery Direct likes this.
  5. jooty

    jooty Active Member

    um yeah you do, kinda.
  6. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Well yeh if you're buying a generic table from a store - but if you wanted one custom built.

    I could have choosen cars, tennis rackets, sunglasses, clothes or anything really.

    Graphic design is purpose built - there are generic templates but most people want something custom built, because they can't update the templates they've purchased efficiently and with the same finesse.
  7. Malty

    Malty New Member

    i printed a few cvs out and sent them around to companies in my area, i just feel this area i am in is not a fantastic place for graphic design jobs, which is a pain! also since as i have never entered the industry i wanted to ask would competitions be the best way to gain some work and so on?
  8. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Legit competitions by a recognised industry company/website, perhaps. Competitions that are simply an attempt to get work for free, then no. If the "prize" is getting paid for your time then steer clear.

    You could perhaps look at Talenthouse. I don't entirely agree with it, since it's effectively crowdsourcing, but it does genuinely give designers the chance to work with/for some big name artists. Whether these names should be used to get work for free from young creatives is another matter entirely. Occasionally they have projects for charitable organisations and good causes though, which I've entered myself.

    You could just use the briefs as an example.

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