A career in graphic design


New Member
I'm not sure if this is the right place so I apologise in advance.:icon_blushing:

My name is Hannah and I'm 24yrs old. I really like a career in graphic design at the moment, I have a full time job as a Admin assistent in an housing company with no graphics background. I have no formal qualifications in graphic design or art. I'm competent in adobe photoshop and illustrator package and enjoy playing around and coming up with pieces of work as a hobby.

I would like to start a career in graphic design and would like some advice on how to get started? :icon_smile: if anyone can help.
Hi Hannah,

My advice would be to keep practising in Photoshop, Illustrator (and InDesign). Other things that will help:
1. Try and recreate press adverts and logo's so you can get a feel for how designs are put together
2. Read up on how to create print-ready artwork
3. Contact local charities and schools and ask if they need any design work for free
4. Make a point of visiting design blogs and follow design tutorials
5. Enter design competitions as this will give you the chance to work on design briefs that have been written by someone other than yourself
6. Start to build-up a design portfolio (either online or a printed version)
7. Contact local design agencies to see if you can do any work experience or if they have the time to offer you help and advice

You don't necessarily need a design qualification to work in the design industry - however, if this is the case, then your portfolio needs to be great and you need to be able to show to potential clients / employers that your work is good enough.

Good luck and feel free to post some samples of your work on this forum for feedback.
Hi Hannah,

The good news is you are posting in the right place!

Keep in tuned to the best design blogs, design tutorial websites, buy some books on design theory and plenty of practice recreating designs that you have seen and creating your own projects.

If you have a hunt on this site, there should be a list somewhere of popular design blogs and maybe even design books... I can fish out some tutorial websites if you are interested.

Above all, the most important thing is to build up your portfolio, as ultimately this (and how it is presented) will lead you into your first design job.

And yes, definitely put some work up on this site for some critique. It will all help.

Good luck.
I have no formal qualifications in graphic design or art.

Then you should get one.

This is not an easy option for people who 'just fancy doing it'. Most of us have at least three years in college before we got anywhere near doing it for a job.

Sorry to be blunt, but would you try and embark on any other career, plumbing, accountancy, IT, whatever, with no training?
I don't think the original poster said she wanted a design job - she just asked for some advice as to the best way to get started.
sthomas and CarmaCreative Thanks for the advice.

I think i'll post some work on here later :icon_smile:

I know I can't jump into a design job but I would like to work to towards one. Loads of people have career changes what ever there age.

Do you know if there are any evening classes that I could join to get a formal qualification and training?
While evening classes might be okay, your better option (if you want to go down the formal qualification route) would be to do either a foundation course or a BTEC. Both of these would then lead to a Degree course.

However, while a Degree course will give you a good grounding in the fundamentals of graphic design, it still doesn't prepare you for life in the real world of the design industry.

Personally, I would try and get as much freelance work over the course of the next 12 months so you can see first hand if you're cut out for a job working as a full-time graphic designer (you might be able to do a part-time foundation whilst still working in your current job).

I don't have any formal graphic design training. I was working in a temporary administrative role (a bit like yours, by the sounds of it) when I was asked one day to make some training materials 'look nice' and, having done a good job, desktop publishing gradually became a part of my wider role which subsequently became permanent. It was a big public sector organisation and word got around that I was pretty useful and, within ten years, learning as I went and without ever having to compete for a new position (I had a bit of luck with the people I met along the way), I eventually wound up as a senior in-house designer for a FTSE 250 company (long story) which I left in 2009 to set up my own business (I still do quite a lot of work for them).

Not the usual route perhaps and, while I see the value in formal education, I strongly believe that someone with a good enough grasp of the visual can easily fill in the gaps and find opportunities which will take them to where they want to be. Furthermore, I think there's something to be said for a lack of exposure to theory and trends in a creative discipline if you're coming from the right place.