How to Get a Job in Graphic Design

The graphic design industry is a highly competitive one, and getting your first job in the industry can be difficult. To have a chance of getting a good job you as an every illustrator will need to put together a good portfolio. Here are some tips to help you impress recruiters and get your first foot in the door.

Work on Designs in Your Free Time

One mistake that many young illustrators and graphic designers make is to assume that the work they do on their college or university course will be enough to land them a job. This is not the case. While coursework pieces are a good start, recruiters will want to see a wide variety of work. Experiment with different styles in your spare time and put together a detailed portfolio.

Explain Your Portfolio Work

Recruiters want to know that you can work to spec, and that you can work quickly (and possibly as part of a team). Choose your best pieces to include in your portfolio, and display reference sketches and pictures of the piece while it was a “Work in Progress” so that people can see how you work. Also, give an indication of how long it took you to make each piece.

Show Some Realistic, and Some Abstract Work

Unless you are trying to specialize in a specific niche such as fantasy art or pixel art, it’s a good idea to include a wide range of styles in your portfolio. If you only show abstract art, the recruiter may assume that you don’t know how to do anything else. Showing a few realistic designs will prove that you can work from a spec or someone else’s directions.

Write a Good Resume

While senior creative people can let their resume’s speak for themselves, as a beginner you don’t have that luxury. Write a detailed resume that lists all of your achievements and experience. Spell-check it and proofread it to make sure that it is well-written and concise.

How to Become a Better Designer

Honing your craft as a graphic designer is something that takes a long time. There are no shortcuts to becoming a good designer or illustrator, but there are some things that you can do to improve the quality of your designs. Here are a few tips for novice designers and artists:

Practice As Much As You Can

Use every free moment you have to practice – whether that’s working on new projects, following Photoshop tutorials, or playing with new concept designs on your iPad. You can’t become a good designer if you just play with an art package occasionally. The most successful designers take every opportunity they can find to hone their craft.

Work With Clients that Value Your Time

If you want to become a professional designer then you need to look for good clients. Don’t waste your time with clients that want you to work for free, or work for pennies. Usually, these clients are unprofessional – they don’t value your time and they probably don’t know what they want. This means that you’ll either end up being forced to make a bad design (because the client is always right), or a project that you accepted because you thought it would be a half day job will turn into a two week job and you’ll waste time that could have been spent seeking better clients and honing your skills.

Have Fun

Working as a professional designer is hard work. You will spend many hours tweaking images for clients, and the projects you are working on will not always be something that you are inspired by. To succeed as a professional designer, you will have to enjoy designing for its own sake. You will be far more successful if you are doing what you love, so find the parts of design that bring you joy, and focus on them.