Tom is a graphic designer working in a busy marketing department. We asked him for his top 5 tips for future graphic designers.
I was lucky enough to know that I wanted to be a graphic designer from school age. At university, my course had different pathways that you could choose from. I chose advertising instead of illustration, motion design, graphic design or packaging design.
Despite this I frequently worked with and was surrounded by students studying other pathways, lending our skills and ideas to each other’s projects.
Predicted job growth for graphic designers is:
6.6% between now and 2024, creating 6,000 jobs
32.7% of the workforce is expected to retire, creating 29,500 job openings
My top 5 tips for future graphic designers are:
Graphic Designers Top Tip 1
If you go to university, take in everything around you
Try different techniques and methods and learn new skills because you never know when they may come in handy.
Graphic Designers Top Tip 2
Don’t wait until you graduate to start networking
Before you leave university or college start to make contacts in industry. Arrange portfolio sessions and ask professionals to review your work, they are approached all the time and don’t bite.
Graphic Designers Top Tip 3
Showcase your work on your own website
Having your own website for your work is a great way to showcase your work. When I got my first job after university I asked my manager why they chose me over everyone else that applied, they said; “It was very close between you and one other person. The reason we chose you was because you had done your own website”.
Graphic Designers Top Tip 4
Take on freelance work
One of the biggest barriers that you are probably going to come across is a requirement for a certain amount of experience, 2 or 5 years for example. Just seeing this on job adverts when you’re starting out can be very demotivating, but there are things you can do. For example, freelance work counts, it also allows you to work on a variety of briefs and potentially use your entire skill set.
Graphic Designers Top Tip 5
Don’t sell yourself short
It can be quite overwhelming having to set your own prices, too high and no-one will take you on, too low and you could be selling yourself short and not earning enough. Charge what you feel represents the amount of time and skills you put into something. Charging either per hour or per day is often a good way to regulate your rates.