You don’t need to shell out thousands of dollars or take an expensive course to become a great artists, no amount of money and no amount of class time can create talent. Instead, honing your skills on the job can be the perfect way to go for a motivated self-starter.
Even if you’re just working part time from home, you can still build a rewarding career in a field that is challenging and fulfilling. Learn as you earn, and watch your skills and client list grow year by year. Take these ten tips for and start running!
- Creative software is more widely available and some apps are even free! According to us, a little time on the learning curve, and you’ll have a creative toolbox for next to nothing. Animation, 3-D, photo effects, even data graphing and presentation applications can fill up a toolbox and get you started in a graphic design career.
- Adobe’s Creative Suite was once a pricey proposition that kept a lot of people away from using software that is pretty much the accepted graphic design industry standard, but with the advent of cloud based software as service, anyone can access any of the Creative Suite apps for as little as $19.99 a month or the whole shebang for $599.99 per year.
- Tablets are a big part of graphic design, and while you might salivate over the latest Wacom Cintiq, your budget may be more in line with pen display tablets from Huion, or even some of the other tablets under $50, according to Procartoon. If you’re just starting out, you may want a tablet that grows with you, as opposed to one that you’ll have to grow into.
- Online learning can be one of the best resources for, and there’s a lot out there to choose from. Lynda.com offers access to over 3,500 courses for a membership fee, but there are tutorials on individual designers’ sites, video tutorials on YouTube, and even online college courses. At some point, you may want to pursue a degree in graphic design with a college or university, but online courses and free tutorials can give you a solid skill set without the layout of time and money.
- Don’t be afraid to admit you’re a Dummy. The Dummies books have helps an entire generation use their computers without throwing them out the window, and offer books on so many different how-to’s from particle physics to home beer brewing. Yes, they have books on graphic design, too.
- Google is your friend! Pick up the latest tips, tricks, and trends by searching for “graphic design tips” and other keywords. You’ll find all sorts of practical advice to stuff your bookmarks with.
- Participate in forums and communities for design professionals. Interacting and networking with other designers is a great way to learn, as well as to learn the ropes of being a professional.
- Build your portfolio, even when you’re not working! Create fake projects, redo your old projects, start projects of your own like a design blog that will showcase your abilities to prospective employers. Create, create, create!
- Pick venues to showcase your work. Working with crowdsourcing companies like graphics designer Designhill gives you a chance to get your work in front of a lot of eyeballs and pick up new clients. Crowdsourcing is competitive, but for the right person, it’s a great way to hone skills while getting paid for your work.
- Even if you’re working from home, be professional. This means being courteous, on time, and delivering what the client has commissioned. Be well dressed, even for video interviews. Always return messages the same day you receive them.
There is no such thing as overnight success, and there are going to be bumps along the way that can include clients from hell, equipment failures, and campaigns that don’t quite take off. These are learning and growing experiences, and while they can be discouraging they are a fact of life to the self-employed. Learning to take things in stride and to be patient as you grow your business is a must for the graphic designer.
Remember, you’re designing for the eight second attention span. According to Statista, the average attention span is eight seconds, and in that time you need to communicate your client’s brand identity to the person seeing that logo. The short attention spans of the social media browser dictate that however you design, that communication and connection has to kick in during that short amount of time. Experience and successful designs will get you where you need to go, and starting out with a company like Web Seasoning can boost your skills and success until you have that career you’ve always dreamed of.