A career in graphic design seems to revolve around visual concepts, computer software and aesthetics trends. However, to build a successful journey as a graphic designer, you must learn much more than that. It’s crucial to acquire general knowledge about multiple topics.
At Coleman University, our Graphic Design Program provides the foundation you will need to start your career. You will learn the basics of drawing, design principles, the latest in design software, typography and vector graphics, for example. Our coursework will provide you with a well-rounded instruction that will prepare you for every challenge you will find once you enter the workforce.
You will learn those skills from seasoned instructors who have years of experience working in the graphic design field. They will share with you and your colleagues tips that will help you prepare for job interviews and, most important, for the job itself.
Here we list five facts about graphic design that will help you to understand more about the field and start your career with the right foot.
- Multiple career options are available
As a graphic designer, you will have multiple career options in a variety of settings, such as advertising agencies, publishing houses, marketing agencies and service industries. Designers create compelling visual concepts to communicate an advertising or informational message. Usually, people think the only way to go is to have the “graphic designer” job title. However, there are many ways to specialize and choose the career path you want to take based on your preferences and talents.
Technology is always changing, which directly affects the graphic design industry. To succeed, professionals must be aware of all the new trends, software and opportunities. Learning all the possibilities available will also present you with specialized paths that can give you financial stability and the chance to earn more money.
Some of the careers you can choose with a graphic design degree are:
- Art Director
- Creative Director
- Film and Video Editor
- Industrial/Product Designer
- Package Designer
- Web Designer
- Marketing Manager or Specialist
- Multimedia Artist
- Software Quality Assurance Tester
- Software Application Developer
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for graphic designers will continue growing for the upcoming years. In 2014, one in five graphic designers was self-employed, which shows the array of opportunities graphic designers have for their journey in the job market. Even though the job competition might be hard, there will always be openings for talented designers who are trained with the latest technologies and excellent instruction.
At Coleman University, you will find just that. Coleman’s inverted curriculum allows you to learn everything you need to tackle real-life projects during the first months of your program, preparing you to enter the job market quickly and launch your new career.
- Portfolios are important
Employers and clients expect to see a strong portfolio when they are looking to hire a graphic designer. A well-crafted portfolio that showcases your work and style will make a statement, and possibly guarantee you that job you always wanted.
An online portfolio is easy to build and to visit. It’s a link that you can add to your resume and will actually attest that you can do the job. The client will understand your capacity and your style, and that can even make your job easier. You will both be on the same page and well aware of what to expect.
At Coleman University, you will have a Portfolio course as part of the Graphic Design Program. This “capstone” course is the culmination of students’ associate-level design coursework. Core concepts include presenting a finished body of work in a professional context. Topics covered include designing a resume, assembling digital and print portfolios, creating “leave behinds” and learning how to best represent your skills, abilities and knowledge to gain employment in the profession.
During your studies at Coleman University, you will be able to start crafting your portfolio with hands-on projects you will work in class.
- Graphic designers create for clients
Remember that graphic design is a very client-oriented career. All your work will involve what the client is expecting and needing for that particular campaign. You will probably develop your signature style (which will be present in everything you do), but the client’s directions are the main guidelines for your project. You will have to understand and address the client’s requirements in order to complete the job.
Communication is very important in client-oriented jobs, which is why you must work on your communication skills. You must be able to understand what your client wants, ask questions that can improve results and avoid misunderstandings, and manage your client’s expectations about deadlines and outcomes.
Clients pay for a job that they want to see delivered. You can and must provide artistic design options for them, but sometimes this is not what they are looking for. So the graphic designer must be able to understand and follow directions. Some designers say that this is the hardest part of the job: learning that solving problems to please the client is often more important than designing a very artistic work..
At Coleman University, your classes will cover communication and professional practices that will help you develop the soft skills you need to successfully communicate with clients. Here are some examples:
DSN274 Professional Practices: This course explores standards and practices in the graphic design profession. Emphasis is placed on communication, professional relationships and the economic interests of designers. Topics covered include pricing structures, copyright protection, ethical guidelines, contracts and forms, project schedules and business taxes.
ENG200 Communications GE: Communications is designed to introduce students to the theory and use of human and public communication. Various types of communication studied include the following: perception, listening, verbal, nonverbal, interpersonal, intercultural.
- You must be a good writer
When you are a good writer, you are able to express yourself and communicate well. Being a graphic designer might appear to require only aesthetic and technical skills, but don’t be misled. To really succeed in this field, you must know how to write in a way that you can be completely understood when explaining ideas and projects.
Not only should your grammar be good, but your comprehension and interpretation should be exceptional as well. You will be working with clients with different backgrounds and cultures, and you will need to understand and be understood.
Occasionally, you will be required to write copy for your designs. So be prepared to show your skills and surprise your clients with strong and inspirational copy.
As part of the Graphic Design Program at Coleman, you will take part in College Composition, a course that will help you improve your writing skills. The course gives you instruction in the theory and guidelines of composition for college writing with an emphasis on the following: grammar review, rhetorical strategies, essay writing, collaborative writing and academic writing.
- Develop and exploit other skills that might be helpful
Let’s say you love photography. This might be the time to incorporate all your knowledge from this subject into your work as a graphic designer.
Remember that every experience you collect during your lifetime can help you to create your style and improve the work you are doing. Bring the knowledge you have about other subjects to your career. You might love to write, or really enjoy video games. This all can help. If you have a deep understanding about art or pop culture, it can help your designs to have more sophistication or target the right audience.
One skill that every graphic designer should learn and develop is presentation. The power of a good presentation can catch the client’s eyes (or your director’s eyes) and generate great opportunities. You must master the art of presenting your work, adapting to each audience in order to get the best results.
Learn the best color choices, strategies and font selections to state your presence as a professional. Always put yourself in the client’s shoes. They will expect a good presentation from someone who works with aesthetics, so don’t disappoint them.
Since graphic design is an aesthetic-oriented career, prospects usually think that they should learn only about visuals, image editing and design to be an excellent designer. Don’t make that mistake. Be advised that to really succeed as a respected graphic designer, you will have to master a number of different skills that will improve the quality of your work and the perception your clients will have from it.