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How to Become a Graphic Designer or Web Designer

How to become a Graphic Designer 

colors - how to become a graphic designer

Introduction 

You may be one of the many individuals who look at a logo, an advertisement, or perhaps a website and wonder how it may have been created.  Behind all of those magazine ads and brochures lies a graphic designer.  There are many people who decide that they have what it takes to become a graphic designer.  Everyone has their own individual style and opinion on design. Although not everyone can become a designer, I believe that most people can become one.  All it takes is the drive to create new ideas, and the drive to build up your knowledge each and every day”¦oh’ yeh, I guess being creative doesn’t hurt. 


Education First 

If you are really serious about becoming a good graphic designer, you should first think about your education. There are also many online graphic design courses and degree programs that you can learn more about and decide whether or not they are right for you. If you don’t feel an online degree program or course is right for you, and you are really serious about becoming a graphic designer, then here is a list of graphic design schools by state. Most community colleges offer daytime and nighttime classes that will teach you the basics of most graphic design programs.  This is a great way for you to learn, if you are a person who needs someone by your side to help you. 

If You Want To Try To Teach Yourself 

If you are a creative person and think that you can teach yourself the skills that I graphic designer needs, then you like everything else in life, you will need to practice to get better and this goes for graphic designing as well.  To get started you will need to get the proper software for creating your designs.  If you want to be a graphic designer in the printing field, at the minimum you will need Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia (now Adobe) Freehand, and QuarkXpress or Adobe Indesign. However, if you want to be a graphic designer in the web field (a web designer), at the minimum you will need Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia (now Adobe) Freehand, and Macromedia Dreamweaver. The above software is software that I recommend, but I am sure that there is other software that will work for you. If you are a student, you can pick up this software at a discounted rate, so make sure that you take advantage of this. Also, many times you can download the full version of this software for a trial period of 30 days.

Adobe, as you can see, offers a wide range of products. These programs will not be as easy to learn as Microsoft Word, although they are quite intuitive once you learn how most design programs work. However, you will really have to work quite hard to master them.  There are different ways to learn new techniques with these advanced programs.  A very common way is by using graphic design tutorials written by professionals themselves.  I recommend using sites such as TutorialSelect, Tutorial-Search, other similar sites, and of course All Graphic Design Directory. The great part about using design tutorial sites is that most of them are free for you to view.  If you still do not grasp the basics of the programs, then taking some design classes may be what you need. 

I have the basics, what’s next? 

Now, you need to perfect your style.  Follow tutorials ranging in all different categories.  Knowing what the tools do will not make you a great designer, knowing how to use them in sync will.  Once you have your own unique style, you are ready to offer your services, and put all your hard studying to the test. I also recommend finding other graphic designers like yourself, such as a community of graphic designers. A good way to do this is by joining a graphic design association.. Here is a list of other graphic design message boards as well. I also recommend looking at successful designs to learn what style of design you like. Here is a list of sites that showcase the best of the best designs. And here is a list of graphic designers and design firms that have won prestigious graphic design awards. It is important to keep up with your competition, so I recommend you take the time to learn how others have successfully completed their own design projects.

I want to make money 

Of course you want to make money, you wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t.  The best place for up and coming designers to start out and get their skills seen is by becoming a freelancer.  There are many freelance websites for you to choose from, which will allow you to bid on the projects you desire.  Being a freelancer is no walk in the park though.  You will be competing against many other designers looking for the same customers that you are pursuing.  One issue you will have is that when you start out, you will not have a portfolio yet.  This works as a huge disadvantage for you.  Potential employers will want to make sure their money is being spent well, and rely on portfolios to help sway their decisions.  For you, the best bet is to create mock-ups for all of your bids.  If you bid on a project for a logo, create a mock-up logo for them.  This will help show the service provider that you have what it takes for the job.  Read the following article to learn more about building up your portfolio: How to Build Up Your Graphic Design Portfolio Without Any Experience.

You need a website or online portfolio 

In this age, a website is a wonderful tool.  Graphic designers utilize websites for a variety of different reasons.  One reason is to host your portfolio online, and the other reason is as a place for potential clients to find you.  Another reason to have a website is for file storage reasons. Graphics professionals work with files that are very big and servers are a handy place to store those files.  Having the ability to upload your files to your own server will make your client feel more secure, and will make the overall experience better. I recommend reading through this article: How to Create Your Own Design Portfolio and Website . It will definitely get you on your feet.

Final word 

If you are determined to do something you will enjoy, then you can become a graphic designer.  All it takes is a little dedication, and the ability to learn and adjust to new situations. 

Here are more articles about How to Become a Graphic Designer and Careers in Graphic Design.

Here are some articles about Getting an Education in Graphic Design: Degree Programs and Certificate Programs

Here are some articles about Starting and Running a Desktop Publishing or Graphic Design Business

 - Matthew Heidenreich

[tags]graphic design, graphic designer, become a graphic designer, design career, designer[/tags]

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7 Comments

  1. Posted June 18, 2007 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Nice article but in the end a lot of it is down to experience… Keep working on stuff, new ideas, fresh ideas, purposeful ideas… otherwise you can get stuck in a handbook loop for years while people pass you by.. :)

  2. shikhar Poudyal
    Posted July 23, 2007 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    thanks for the article it was inspiring and helpful, i am a guy from nepal, very very interested in graphics and design, i cant afford to study in great universities and learn more but i regularly learn from tutorials and web site like yours, its very helpful and i guess i too would be a good designer some day.

  3. oli
    Posted September 9, 2007 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Do you do a magazi e or something, i am curentky studying graphic communication at uni, need some help to ispire me a bit more , dont realkly know were to go for help

    thank you

    49 ebbisham road
    epsom
    surrey
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  4. Posted September 14, 2007 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your comment. We don’t have a magazine, just this blog. But if you look on the main site - http://www.allgraphicdesign.com/ there is a section for design magazines, and I think the link is http://www.allgraphicdesign.com/graphicdesignmagazines.html for other graphic design magazines and publications. Actually maybe I will post some in the next blog post. Thank you for bringing up the topic.

    Thanks.
    Rachel

  5. Posted November 1, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I am looking for the best way to expose our new company to the world. What are the best ways to get into competitions or even to know what the most influential awards are to win. i am saying this just on an exposure base as I know winning isn’t everything.

    Thanks.

  6. Posted November 3, 2007 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    This is some great advice for up and coming graphic designers. As we all know, the competition in the design world is getting tougher everyday. I might add that being able to present and having an understanding of the marketing “big picture” is also important to success in the design field. I address that at: http://graphicdesignpathfinder.blogspot.com/

  7. rahiiv
    Posted August 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    hey u shikhar paudyal..if ur interested in graphics than there is a college in Nepal too………It is under KU………..Its in Mandikhatar so u wanna be a designer u may join there………….

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