How to Become a Graphic Designer: All you need to know

Newcomers to the graphic design industry are always confused. How can they become good graphic designers, how far are they from being excellent, and how can they catch up with this goal? In addition to their skills in the workplace, what qualities do they have to be able to rank among the forefront of the industry, and gradually master the "speaking power" for your design?

All the needed information about being a graphic designer will be discussed in this article. If you are looking for a suitable job, carry on reading.

Step 1: Understand job description and responsibilities

A graphic designer is a person who uses a combination of various visual elements to express his design concepts on a flat material in a two-dimensional space. They apply appropriate image processing and typesetting to visual elements such as text, photos or patterns and display them on various media programs to achieve the desired effect.

Graphic designers are visual communicators. They use virtual art forms such as images, text or graphics to convey ideas to attract consumers.

Graphic designers combine art and technology and use a variety of design elements to achieve artistic or decorative effects. Their daily work usually consists of the following steps:

1. Meeting with clients to determine their needs.

2. Provide professional advice on the design to customers.

3. Consider details of colors, graphics, text styles and layout.

4. Production of works that meet the customer's requirements and convey the specified information.

5. Show design to clients or art director.

6. Modify work according to customer comments and complete the final design.

7. Check your work for leaks before publishing.

All in all, the work of graphic designers includes the following ten categories:

1. Logo design

2. CIS design, VI design

3. Advertising design

4. Sample design, brochure design, picture book design

5. Poster design, DM advertising design

6. Various print designs

7. Newspaper and magazine typography design

8. Book illustration drawing, greeting card design, invitation design

9. Package design

10. Web design

It is good to do any of these, provided that you have good skills.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a graphic designer

Whether a graphic designer is an ideal job for you or not, the pros and cons of becoming it you should know first.

The advantages of being a graphic designer:

1. Colorful work: Graphic design is an innovative technology that visualizes ideas and wisdom and infects different audience. You will be able to experience new knowledge in different fields during the design process and grow by constantly challenging your cognition and skills.

2. Less limitation: It's hard to imagine that as long as one computer and network, graphic designers can work anytime, anywhere but the low cost of work creates great intellectual value. You don't have to travel around, or exhaust your tongue and energy. With a cup of tea and sitting in front of the computer, you can easily start your business. Whether at home or the company, you can make profit with your technology and brainpower.

3. Good job prospects: Even if you don't have outstanding educational degrees, as long as you are master in graphic design, you will not worry about finding a job, and the market's demand for good designers is increasing day by day.

The disadvantages of being a graphic designer:

1. The burden to health: It may take very long time to finish a big design project, so graphic designers always work a long time sitting before a computer, which causes no benefit to one's body.

2. Sometimes stressful: When the deadline for an unfinished project is coming soon, the stress that a graphic designer face is strong, especially when holding several tasks at the same time.

3. Feel tired with some clients: When you encounter an unfriendly and impolite client, the experience of communicating with him can be hard to go on.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for a graphic designer

For a graphic designer, there are no strict requirements of degrees because their income depends on fluent skills, but today`s trend is that higher degrees can draw employers' attention and have more chance to get hired, so it's recommended to be enrolled in a university or college to earn a degree. The following list is of top20 colleges and universities for a graphic designer:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Aalto University
  3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  4. Pratt Institute
  5. University of the Arts London
  6. Politecnico di Milano
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  8. Rhode Island School of Design
  9. Parsons School of Design
  10. Royal College of Art
  11. Maryland Institute College of Art
  12. Carnegie Mellon University
  13. Rhode Island School of Design
  14. Virginia Commonwealth University
  15. California Institute of the Arts
  16. Otis College of Art and Design
  17. Boston University
  18. Cleveland Institute of Art
  19. University of Georgia
  20. Indiana University

Step 4: Go through relevant courses

Starting a career as early as possible can make you to be the most well-known guy in this field, so once you have decided to be a graphic designer, try to study relevant knowledge at once.

You can take courses in art history, drawing, graphic arts and website design in high school if possible. Also, you can choose degree programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, or earn a degree in large public universities, small private colleges, prestigious art institutes where can provide an all-round designing program. Besides, online programs now are convenient for most beginners.

Commonly, to study graphic design, it needs to take these courses:

Typography, book design, logo design, branding and advertising, product packaging, desktop publishing, print or web production, user experience design, studio art, principles of design, commercial graphics, web design, advertising and graphics-related computer technology, marketing and business.

Reading relevant books by yourself can improve your skills also.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

To become a successful graphic designer and having a big group of clients, the most important thing is to improve your skills to provide the best service to your clients. Only people are satisfied with your work, they are more willing to trade with you and bring you more potential clients.

In the earlier chance of entering into a job society, a local charity or non-profit, ad or marketing agencies can give you stages of exercising your skills, but the salary can be low or you can even get offers of unpaid internship . For newbies, it's a first and necessary step to start careers experiencing an internship.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills

The special skills that a graphic designer needs:

1. Be proficient with CorelDraw, Illustrator, Photoshop and PageMaker.

2. Pay attention to the collection and ordering of professional materials and various types of information.

3. Be good at learning to improve in observing others.

4. Continuously improve aesthetic ability and establish a good taste.

5. Learn to communicate and cooperate with others.

6. Make yourself fashionable as soon as possible.

7. Make yourself sensitive as soon as possible.

Step 7: Find relevant jobs, and apply it

Graphic designers can be self-employed or enter in specialized design firms. The previous one starts business on one's own from propaganda to find clients to provide specific service. The latter one is employed by a company to finish work that the boss required. Whether you choose to be a freelancer or work in office depends on which style you prefer, but commonly, a starter in any field is recommended to apply for a position in a company where you can get more training in your profession. Once you want to be freer in work or accumulate enough experience, you can quit your job to set up your own business.

Important Tools for a successful graphic designer

These are important tools for a graphic designer. You don't have to grasp them all in your daily work, but the more the better:


Adobe Frame Maker

Adobe InDesign

Adobe PageMaker

Adobe Illustrator

CorelDraw Graphics Suite

Adobe Fireworks

Adobe FreeHand

Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Dreamweaver

Macromedia Home Site

Autodesk Maya


3D Studio Max


Adobe After Effects

Develop your career path

There are a lot of career paths to become a graphic designer due to varied specialties in graphic design field:


Desktop Publishing

Branding and Advertising (print, web, broadcast)

Email Blasts and eNews letters

Interface or User Experience Design

Web Design

Product Packaging

Book Design


Print or Web Production

You can choose one or two specialties on your own and become professionals in your chosen field, only this can you own more clients and earn great incomes.

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