In This Article
- Are Graphic Designers in High Demand?
- Do You Need Experience to Be a Graphic Designer?
- What Should I Include in My Graphic Design Portfolio?
- Is Graphic Design a High-Paying Job?
- Is a Graphic Design Career Hard?
- Do Graphic Designers Work Alone?
- Is Graphic Design a Good Career in Canada?
- How Do I Start a Graphic Design Career?
If you’re looking for a career that is both creative and strategic, then graphic design may be ideal for you. As a graphic designer, your job will be to conceive and design visual solutions that meet your client’s needs.
This is accomplished by making a visual connection to their brand, something that resonates with the client’s target market. To be successful at it, you will need to be versed in the latest design software, have the ability to communicate and take instruction well, produce ideas within a framework, and work well under deadlines and as part of a team.
Let’s do the deep dive.
Are Graphic Designers in High Demand?
Almost every industry needs graphic designers. In fact, most businesses need them to help develop their brand, as graphic designers will create style guides that include a company logo, fonts, typography, colour palettes, icons and rules on how these elements should be used.
Ad agencies employ graphic designers, but many companies will have them on staff so that their more immediate needs can be addressed (for example, imagine you are a director of a company that develops regular content for a shopping mall’s digital screens—you wouldn’t want to go through an agency every time those screens needed updating).
Do You Need Experience to Be a Graphic Designer?
You should have an education, such as a diploma in graphic design from a respected post-secondary institution. There are plenty to choose from, so you want to look for a school that teaches you how to become a pro at design for print, digital and new media platforms.
You also want to make sure the curriculum teaches you the business of industry, so that while you are learning digital drawing, page layout, typography, etc., you are also learning how to properly scope out a project, communicate with clients, and the best practices for running your own design studio.
What Should I Include in My Graphic Design Portfolio?
As a graphic designer, an online portfolio is an absolute necessity. We’re not just talking a website here, but social media channels such as TikTok, YouTube and Instagram (read “Instagram Tips for Designers”) can be very helpful in attracting clients.
Even if you’re just starting out and haven’t worked for anybody yet, you can fill your portfolio with designs that are not client-driven but still demonstrate your creativity. As you progress into your career, you can update your portfolio with examples from real projects.
A graphic design portfolio should include:
- Your company name, your name and picture (the picture is optional but a nice touch).
- Mention of the type of graphic design work you specialize in, such as:
- Logos and branding
- Packaging design
- Reports & presentations
- Samples of your work. These samples should align with your specialties.
- Your contact info, clearly presented. Whether you are providing an email address or a form, be sure to indicate how long it will be before the potential client can expect to hear back from you. Ask them to include the name of their company and what kind of designs they are looking for (this way you can better prepare for your first meeting).
Is Graphic Design a High-Paying Job?
Like many jobs, it depends on the circumstances. If you are working freelance, it will depend on how many clients you have, the amount of work those projects require, and your level of skill.
If you are working full-time for a company, then you can expect additional benefits such as vacation time, health insurance and perhaps bonuses or special perks. The longer you work for a company or build up your experience, the more likely it is you will be paid more, or (if you’re running your own company) be able to charge more.
Is a Graphic Design Career Hard?
This depends on the type of company you are working for and your specific skill set. What most people don’t understand is that a job interview is as much about the company finding out about you as you learn about the company. During the interview, find out what kind of structure is in place—where will your assignments come from? How many people will approve your designs? Is there a project management software the team uses? If you can, talk to other people who work at the company and get their thoughts.
If it seems like the company is very well organized, the more comfortable you are likely to be there and the better chance your career will get off to a good start. If you are given assignments that match your skillset (something that will likely be determined at the interview), then the work should be something you’re capable of and something you look forward to.
What’s great about working in the field of graphic design today is that there so much inspiring design all around us, so it’s easy to stay motivated. Be sure to start following talented designers on Instagram, so that you have a place to turn to when looking for ideas.
Do Graphic Designers Work Alone?
Most people imagine graphic designers sitting at their desks, working away on their computers by themselves. Certainly, that’s a part of the job, but a graphic designer works in a collaborative environment. Actually designing something only comes once the creative team (which includes the graphic designer, creative director, producers, writers, clients and more) has determined a creative direction. This is done through a series of group brainstorms.
The client may be present at some of these brainstorms, and there’s likely to be more than one. This is where people skills and experience come in, as the designer must determine and explain (sometimes, delicately) what is possible within the scope and budget of the project. They must also be able to previsualize some of the ideas and voice why they may or may not work.
Once there is agreement on a direction, the graphic designer is likely to be tasked with coming up with designs to reflect the new idea. Often more than one option will be created so that the client has a choice. The graphic designer will usually present and explain these designs at a presentation. Once a final design has been approved, the designer will move on to building all the assets required.
Graphic designers usually work according to a production schedule and an approval hierarchy. In this way they know what is expected of them and when.
Is Graphic Design a Good Career in Canada?
Being a graphic designer can be a rewarding career. You always get to see your work output, so it’s high profile. You will get to meet and work with a variety of people and get to be creative almost every day. Clients will look to you to be a problem solver and to communicate ideas in ways that are clear but also visually engaging and memorable for their target audience. So, the job can be very satisfying.
How Do I Start a Graphic Design Career?
It all begins with a proper education, such as a diploma from a recognized institution. Toronto Film School offers both an on-campus Graphic Design & Interactive Media Diploma Program (12 months) as well as an online Graphic Design & Interactive Media Diploma Program (24 months).
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