How to Get Trained as a Graphic Designer
A lot of people want to get trained as graphic designers, but they don’t know where to start. It is not an easy task and it takes a lot of time and effort for one person to be able to create professional-level work. You will need the right software, training, and you’ll have to do some networking with other designers in your area.
If you are looking for a creative agency job in this industry, then this article will help prepare you on how best to train yourself so that you can stand out from the competition when applying for jobs!
What Software to Train on?
The first thing you need to do is get software that will enable you to design professional work. Most studios and agencies will use Adobe, but that might be an expensive venture for a beginner.
Besides, the alternatives are very similar, even when it comes to shortcut keys! So if you make great work on CorelDraw or Affinity, once at an agency, shifting won’t be too much of a problem.
In the beginning, we recommend training on CorelDraw either or Affinity. These are the two alternatives to the expensive Adobe option and offer graphic design tools. They both have a lot of tutorials available online for beginners too!
Learning Graphic Design Theory Online
We recommend watching a few YouTube channels regularly to grasp any graphic design theory.
It is important to remember that you not only need to understand basics like the golden ratio and color theory, but also branding and brand strategy.
It is worth checking out the following YouTube channels:
- The Futur – Understanding clients, branding and strategy
- Will Paterson – Understanding graphic design basics
- Flux – Understanding user experience and website design
How to Practice as a Graphic Designer
It is worth reading as many books and articles on design, typography and color theory, but its practice that makes perfect.
We recommend practicing designing logos for different companies, brands, or products for free so you can gain experience and expand your portfolio. You can even try to re-brand companies like Coca-Cola or Pepsi and see if you can create practical marketing material for them, like a Facebook ad or business card.
Apart from practicing logo design, there are plenty of opportunities that allow designers to practice in a fun way.
These are some cool games to play:
Getting a Job at a Creative Agency
For many getting a job at a creative agency is a dream come true. Creative agencies are a hub for creatives, and as an agency employee you will have access to lots of resources that may be inaccessible from outside the industry such as free design software like Adobe CC or products like expensive drawing tablets.
The best way to find a job at an agency is to have a goal for your ideal job position. Do you want to be a jack of all trades? Or do you want to be a logo designer? Or maybe you want to specialize in social media post creation? Once you know what type of job you want, the next step is to do research.
When looking for a creative agency job position, it is important that your portfolio reflects the agency’s niche, style, or type of design work. If there are no examples of what they create on a daily basis in your portfolio, then agencies won’t think you’re qualified enough.
Let’s go back to the two previous questions: Do you want to be a jack of all trades, or would you rather be a specialist?
As an example, Zurek Designs is an agency where all graphic design skills are needed. When you review an agency website, ask yourself if your skills fit what the agency provides. Since Zurek Designs does all kinds of design services, ranging from logo design to website design and brand strategy, to be a fit, you must be good at all of these facets.
However, as a counter-example, an agency like Moona, is very specialized. Since they focus on creating monthly social media posts for their clients, you must show your skills in that specific facet area.
What to Do if You Don’t Know if You Want to Specialize Yet?
A lot of designers worry that if they specialize in something early, they will be locked into their expertise. But by doing so, you will be able to grow faster.
Instead of jumping into one area, try ramping up your skills in a handful of areas and see what interests you the most. For example, if graphic design is not really for you but web development is more exciting, then it might make sense just to focus on that instead.
Besides, once you are good at your craft, there is no issue adjusting your portfolio based on the different agencies you want to apply to. For example, let’s say you’ve been creating all kinds of work in the last year. Put it all together for the jack of all trades agency. However, when applying to a specific agency like social media post creation, just cherry-pick what you created for your social media, and showcase only that in your portfolio.