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Tuesday
Oct182011

How To Become A Graphic Designer | Extra Tidbits!

Hey Guys!

I'm so pumped you guys liked my How To Become A Graphic Designer | Pros Cons & What To Expect video! It was a blast to make, haha, although Filipe was NOT very happy with me poking the lens out of his sunglasses, LOL!

*Confession Time* (Don't you just love confessions): I couldn't WAIT to poke a hole in those sunglasses, they were SO UGLY!!! LOL, aww, I know, "You're Mean!" ... I know, I know! But I told him we would go and get him a nice new pair! Some that didn't make him look like a member of Jersey Shore.

Okay, so I had a lot of questions following the video and decided I would try and answer a couple of the most common here! P.s. SO thrilled to see so many of you are also in the arts industry! It feels so comforting to know that we all pretty much feel the same way and that it's just something that goes with the business!

Okay, so Gretta asks:

I live in Michigan where the Design jobs are none. I really want to know how, how, how do I get into becoming a free-lancer or who should I contact to start looking for work like this. If you can let me know where to look or on what website to join. I'd appreciate it."

Hey Gretta! First off all, contact your old professors and the Art Director at your old school. Ask them if they know of anyone hiring contractors, free-lancers, or paid interns (most companies in this economy are looking for free-lancers over employees; it's more cost-effective). Bother the HECK out of them and let them know you are desperate.

You're also going to want to join the AIGA. If you're a graphic designer, or in school to become one, this is a site you need to be on. There's valuable information about the industry, new advances, new challenges, and changing styles; not to mention the camaraderie and support. They're also a portfolio host, which means you can upload your work and resume into your own personal profile on the site, and it gets posted on their Job Finder. It's great because employers, or those looking for free-lancers, frequent the site and look through the portfolios; I've gotten work from my online portfolio on AIGA. They also have a list of Job Openings, by state, on the website that you can rummage through and apply for! If you're a student, they have student discounts, but regardless, membership is extremely fair and pretty cheap. You will also want to post your AIGA portfolio link on your resume under "Memberships",  anytime you're applying for a position. It's a sign of commitment to the industry and it gives you an edge. AIGA is an esteemed community and most employers look for involvement outside of the workplace and classroom to show that you are self-motivated.

You also want to contact anyone who owns a small business, or anyone who has a start-up company, and see if you can send them a copy of your portfolio. Most times, small businesses or start-ups don't have the marketing budget required to hire BIG Graphic Design Studios, and therefore, will gladly take a look at what you can offer them. If they bite, then it could very well be a client that sticks with you throughout the growth of their company. Just make sure if they like what they see and want to work with you, that you set a price that allows YOU to pay your bills. Just because you are new at freelancing doesn't mean you should get taken advantage of. They should pay you what your worth. **FYI, entry level pay for a SOLID portfolio and skill set these days is at least $20 per hour... It can be more or less depending on skills, what type of project you're working on, what the client is expecting of you, and the amount of time given to complete the project. You need to ask all of the details, and set expectations, before you get started so you both are on the same page.  Don't. Get. Taken. Advantage. Of. You need to learn how to communicate effectively with your client so they understand what they are paying for and why.

Giryb asks:

I really want to go to school for graphic design but I'm not really a drawer. My question to you is do you have to be a GREAT drawer or know how to draw to be a graphic designer?"

Not at all!! Some of the most interesting compositions are of distorted figures. It adds interest and personality. I feel like I am cursed because I can only draw in proportions; how boring! I wish I could be more free with my hand. If you do not know how to draw, count yourself lucky! You can ALWAYS learn how to draw, but it's hard to learn how to "un-draw." In my case, it's harder for me to draw distorted, free figures because I am so programmed to remember proportions. With you, it will be second nature. Besides, once you get into art school, you will find your "voice."

Knowing how to draw before school can make things easier in some cases, but don't let your lack of drawing ability deter you! The best work starts on blank canvases, and that's what you are! You're in the perfect mindset to soak up as much knowledge as you can get about drawing because as of right now, you have no knowledge about drawing. Just make sure you choose wisely and attend a school that will show you how to cultivate your personal voice and drawing style.

And remember, it's art, which means it's your interpretation. There's no wrong or right way to draw in art. As long as you can explain why you did what you did, and it has some aesthetic allure, you'll be good! 

Hope that helps guys! I'll answer some more questions later!

Reader Comments (5)

I'm actually in school now at UNC and considering adding a second major (Studio Art). You've really inspired me to follow my passion and let the rest just fall into place.

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAneshia

I received an associate degree in graphic design almost 6 years ago. But I never pursued any work in that area because I was busy with a separate career. Any advice for someone who has the education but wants to get started?

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

Extremely informative video for anyone thinking about going into graphic design. I especially like that you clarified that graphic design is about concept, composition, typography, etc NOT THE COMPUTER. I graduated in 2006 from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Art and Design with a concentration in graphic design. I can say that the foundation in traditional art and design has been an invaluable asset to my work. The pressure can be brutal, because like one of my professors told me, you are only as good as your last project...that's heavy. Thanks for continuing to inspire us!

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCj Harris

Thank you for your advice!

October 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSax

Hey Nap85, this I was formerly StephyAvnGrl and I used to message you quite a bit (you prob thought I was a low key stalker lol) but I just wanted to say that I completely agree with you in this video. I am going to school for Interior Design now with a minor in Studio Art but it is very true that you need to go to a school with update technology and that really focuses on the minor details within design majors. Most of the time the student to professor ratio is pretty good so that should give an individual the opportunity to really learn the ropes and have a close relationships with the professors. It IS all a competition so you have to take the time to learn about yourself as a designer/artist. The list can go on but I second everything you just said. BTWs your awesome!

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephany G

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