How to Become a Graphic Designer? (Best 2024 Career Guide)

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How to Become a Graphic Designer?

Are you passionate about visual arts?

Do you want to pursue graphic design?

If your answer is yes, then you are in the right place. 

Graphic designers express visual stories through their art. They narrate their stories using different shapes, design elements, graphics, and varied color textures. 

Advertisement and marketing of brands are not complete without graphic designs. Graphic designs are the most crucial part of advertisement and marketing. 

They work with various projects, such as poster making, creating logos or animations, etc. 

Graphic designers are popularly known as communication designers. They involve themselves in creating visually appealing designs that convey the essence of brands and invoke the brands’ emotions in their audience.

Do you wonder how to become a graphic designer with no experience? What skills does it take to become a graphic designer? 

Then lets us walk you through the process of becoming a graphic designer.

What is the Work of a Graphic Designer?

Example of What is the Work of a Graphic Designer

With the help of some specialized tools, graphic designers create stunning visual art. They weave art and technology together to tell stories using some design elements. 

Every industry needs graphic designers for entertainment, software development, advertisement, illustrations, etc.

They are tasked with creating visual arts, logos, website banners, animations, etc. A graphic designer’s daily duties include: 

  • Research and collect information for their projects. 
  • Collaborating with other teammates to make the project more artistic. 
  • Presenting the basic designs to the creative directors or the project managers. 
  • Spending time selecting the perfect fonts, design elements, and color textures.
  • Typesetting and arranging the images
  • Assessing and editing the work before the final submission
  • Keep upgrading the tools
  • Learning new technology with trends
  • Stay upgraded with the trend and change the tools with time.

Skills Required For Being a Graphic Designer

To become a graphic designer, you don’t have to be the best artist in the room. Although, if you can paint, draw, and create art in artistic ways, it is an added advantage. However, it’s not compulsory. 

If you want to be a graphic designer, an artistic bent is an asset. Graphic designers incorporate fonts, images, illustrations, etc., to create the illusion that it conveys a message. All the works of graphic designers are performed on software programs or digital mediums. 

Therefore to perform their work, they should be familiar with the following tools:

To excel in the field of graphic design, you need experience with various tools and platforms. Such platforms include calibrators, tabs, styluses and pens, printers, etc. 

Some basic knowledge of color corrections, working with digital libraries, and digital photography is a plus point. 

What Academic Qualifications are Required to be a Graphic Designer?

Academic Qualifications to be a Graphic Designer

You can have any of the below academic qualifications to become a graphic designer:

  • Bachelor of Design in graphic design
  • Bachelor of Arts in graphic design
  • Master of Design in graphic design
  • Bachelor of Science in graphic design

Instead of doing a three-year degree, you can choose from the following alternatives:

  • Certification courses in graphic design
  • Postgraduate diploma in graphic design
  • Diploma in graphic design

Many online and offline design institutes offer certification courses in graphic design. Certification from any reputed institution is an added advantage.

For instance, you may opt for certification in Adobe Illustration. Moreover, you can add these certificates to your resume. 

If you include this information in your resume, it will demonstrate the level of experience and expertise you have with the software.

How to Become a Graphic Designer Without a Degree?

Do you dream of making your passion for design into a career?

Do you wonder –  “how to become a graphic designer without a degree”?

If yes, then let us show you how to become a graphic designer online. 

Despite their unconventional beginnings, many graphic designers have found their way to big companies. If you also wonder – “how to become a self taught graphic designer?”

Then, here we have explained an alternative to becoming a graphic designer without a degree.  

Is a Degree Necessary to Become a Graphic Designer? 

Degrees are certainly helpful in getting a job as a graphic designer. 

Some graphic designer gets an academic degree to enter the creative field easily. Although, it’s not necessary to have a degree to become a graphic designer.

Many top companies solely hire graphic designers based on their skills and experience. For those seeking entry-level positions in graphic design, passion, dedication, and a bit of creativity are all that are required. 

Skills Needed For Being a Graphic Designer

A few basic skills are necessary to succeed in a professional graphic design environment despite not needing a degree in graphic design. 

1. Software Skills

Even if you have a degree, you will need a good grasp of software skills to be successful.

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are two popular software tools among graphic designers, which are used on a daily basis. 

Some other software tools include Adobe Indesign, CorelDRAW, Blender, procreate, and many more. 

Since you will use this software daily, it is important to grasp it well before using it professionally.

In addition, these tools can be learned outside of traditional colleges in various ways.

2. Communication Skills

Beyond the technical knowledge, you would also require to know some basic aptitude of communication and management skills. These skills are vital for a successful career in this field. 

You should be able to put your ideas on the table and understand the revisions asked when working on a project. A project’s success often depends on managing the client’s expectations and a team. 

Adapting your designs to feedback requires the ability to accept feedback.

3. Basics of Design Theory

With soft skills and software skills, you would also require some basics of design theory.

The basics of design theory include typography, balance, contrast, proportion, and more. 

4. User Experience

In design, user experience means combining aesthetic appeal with smooth functionality.

The graphic designer of a website should ensure that it is visually appealing and easy to navigate from the viewer’s perspective.

To become an effective graphic designer, you should have a sense of the user experience.

How to Become a Better Graphic Designer? 

Having acquired the necessary skills and a portfolio showcasing your best work.

Some other ways that can help you in becoming a graphic designer in the top companies are as follows:

Networking

This is the best and easy way you can break into the graphic design world without any degree. You only need to have connections and networks with the professionals in the industry.

If a position opens up, those connections may prove indispensable to your job search. 

Having an Online Reputation

LinkedIn and Behance are two of the most important social media for graphic designers.

Furthermore, an online presence of you and your work indicates an aptitude for getting into the field without a degree easily.

Developing an expert-level reputation in this industry is possible if you post quality content on online platforms.

What Are the Career Paths For Graphic Designers?

If you are dedicated and passionate about this field, endless career opportunities exist.

If you wish to pursue a career in graphic design, there are a number of options you may consider:

Learn to Work on Design Software by Yourself

Once you decide that becoming a graphic designer is your career goal, you can start developing the required skills. You can get unlimited free resources for learning software skills on different online platforms. 

You can increase your efficiency by mastering and polishing design software skills. You can develop your skills and build your portfolio by self-studying graphic design.

It is instrumental in knowing the scope of each software tool in this field. This can help you in the long run. 

Go for Internships

Many universities offer internships for students to have all-rounder skills. You can pursue any of the internships your university provides in graphic design.

Pursuing internships is a great way of learning and having practical experience. In a professional workspace, you can discover the latest software and tools you might not have access to otherwise.

Moreover, the work you do during your internship can greatly impact your portfolio. 

Freelance Projects

You can also work as a freelancer and gain skills.

As it is remote work, you can perform it from any corner of the world. You can get real-time experience working under professionals.

Aside from that, you can also seek testimonials from them, which will make your portfolio look impressive.

Now you must be wondering, “how long does it take to become a graphic designer?” 

Hence, if you don’t have a degree, you can become a graphic designer in the least amount of time. You will just need to work on your skills and gain experience by working on real-time projects.

You can take up to three years to get a degree in graphic design if you go the traditional route.

Different Niches of Graphic Designing

Many graphic designers choose to specialize in one niche. Although some professional graphic designers offer various services.

As a newbie in the graphic design field, you should focus on mastering one niche. By doing so, you will have a better chance of succeeding.

Let’s walk you through the 7 types of niches in graphic designing:

1. Marketing and Advertising Graphic Design

To promote their products and services, businesses use various media (including digital and print).

A graphic designer specializing in marketing and advertising will be responsible for creating designs for such business organizations. 

For example, designers in this niche will create vehicle wraps, magazine ads, email marketing templates, etc. 

2. Packaging Graphic Designs

Packages of food need graphics on them to attract and tempt customers. The graphics act as a marketing tool to attract potential buyers’ attention.

It also helps the customers identify the product. Therefore, all these tasks are performed by packaging graphic designers.

3. Visual Identity Graphic Design

Companies differ from one another based on their brand identities. Businesses incorporate visual identity into print and digital content and marketing campaigns to build a positive, attractive brand image for customers.

Therefore, graphic designers specializing in creating visual identity graphic designs work closely on creating logos, color platelets, etc, for different companies. 

4. Motion Graphic Design

It’s no wonder that motion graphics have become so popular – they grab people’s attention quickly and provide many marketing benefits. Many companies use this technique in social media ads and content marketing. 

A motion graphic designer works on designing animated logos and banners for businesses, advertisements, etc. Additionally, having solid coding, 3D modeling, and marketing skills will increase your chances of securing a job.

5. Publication Graphic Design

They should be visually appealing to encourage magazine buyers and readers to purchase, read, and download publications.

A graphic designer specializing in publication graphic design is responsible for creating designs for magazines and newspapers. 

6. User Interface Graphic Design

Mobile apps, websites, and software tools must have an intuitive, distraction-free user interface. A bad interface will only drive customers away. 

User interface designers fix the problem relating to the bad user interface. User interface designers enable businesses to create products and platforms that are user-friendly. 

7. Environmental Graphic Designs

Eye-catching designs created by environmental graphic designers are often displayed on real structures outside. 

The main motive for creating a visual outside is to make the place attractive and memorable for visitors. 

How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer?

 A career in graphic design may be a good fit for you if you are creative, artistic, and comfortable working on computers. One can opt for a traditional way of receiving a degree in graphic design from a university and then apply for jobs. 

You can also self-learn the skills needed in this field, build an impressive portfolio, and then apply for jobs. 

So, you must be wondering, “how to become a graphic designer for free?”  Let’s guide you through the process of becoming a graphic designer with small or no investments. 

Where Can You Learn Graphic Designing?

With consistency, determination, and a pinch of creativity, everyone can master graphic design. You will find several resources on the internet available for free.  You can find tutorials and instructional videos for various tools, skills, and creative disciplines on YouTube. 

You can learn all the basic principles of graphic design from YouTube. Below are some of the online platforms that offer basic to expert-level graphic design courses.

  • Udemy
  • Skillshare
  • Coursera
  • Udacity
  • HubSpot Academy and many more.

How Can You Choose Your Graphic Designing Software as a Freelancer?

A few software tools are necessary for graphic designers to produce stunning visuals. The following tips should help you decide which software program to purchase.

1. What is Your Niche in Graphic Design?

Certain software programs are needed for particular types of graphic design. 

Photographers, for instance, may use Colorcinch to create their visual artworks, while motion graphic designers will use BannerBoo.

Therefore, you should pick your software program according to your niche. 

2. What is Your Experience in Graphic Designing? 

Not all graphic designing software is beginner-friendly. If you are a graphic design beginner, you should go for an easy-to-handle and beginner-friendly software program. Therefore, select your graphic design software based on your experience level. 

3. What is Your Budget for Buying the Software?

The price of graphic design software varies greatly. Some cost less than $100, while others start at $500. Therefore, you should neglect your budget before buying graphic design software.

A beginner in this field must find affordable alternatives before purchasing any expensive software.  

How Can You Market Your Graphic Design Services? 

Today’s businesses depend heavily on graphic designers. Marketing your services can feel intimidating if you’re an independent designer or a freelancer. Various marketing strategies for graphic design businesses can help you promote your services.

1. Create a Website

Using Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress, you can simply create a website listing your graphic designing services and contact information, using which the potential clients will reach you.

Search engine optimization, paid advertisements, content marketing, and other methods can help drive organic traffic to your website. You can use the website for housing all your past samples, portfolio, and services.

2. Cold Emailing

Cold emailing has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a way of emailing the potential prospect without prior contact. On online platforms, select some top companies and get their e-mail addresses to submit your portfolio to them. 

3. Social Media Promotion

You can promote your service on social media. LinkedIn and Instagram are two of the most famous place for promoting your services. Moreover, you can also join specific groups and boost your networking. 

4. Job Boards

Many top companies put the new opening in their company on Job boards. You can look for graphic designer jobs on relevant job boards.

5. Create Accounts in Freelance Marketplaces

Freelancer markets are a great place to find prospects for your business. You can create impressive profiles on such marketplaces. And also apply for the gigs posted by different companies there. Some of the freelance marketplaces are Upwork, Fiverr, and 99designs.

 Working as a graphic design freelancer also increases the chances of freelance burnout. If you’re also dealing with this problem, you must read about ways to avoid freelance burnout on out this blog!

Salary of a Graphic Designer in 2024

The average base salary of graphic designers is USD 50,227 per annum. At the same time, the figures can rise up to USD 68,560 per annum, depending on experience and expertise.

 Compared with the United Kingdom, the average base salary is GPB 27,771 per year. A senior graphic designer can earn up to GPB 37,454 per annum.

Graphic designers’s base salary in India is INR 25,000 per month. Senior Graphic designers in India can earn up to INR 35,485 per month.  

Wrapping It Up

Visual art is a key component of graphic design used to promote brands and services. Advertisement and marketing of brands are not complete without graphic designs. 

A graphic designer is certainly an option if you have a dash of creative flair, determination, and passion for the field. Now, I hope all your doubts regarding how to become a successful graphic designer” are cleared. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Hard Is It To Become A Graphic Designer?

A graphic designer requires dedication, artistic skills, and a solid understanding of design principles. While it may seem challenging, anyone can become a successful graphic designer with the right education, practice, and perseverance.

Cultivate your creativity, learn industry-standard software, and build a strong portfolio to showcase your talent. The key is to keep learning, stay updated with design trends, and never stop honing your skills.

2. How Many Years To Become A Graphic Designer?

It typically takes around 4 to 5 years to become a graphic designer. This involves earning a bachelor’s degree, gaining practical experience, and building a strong portfolio.

3. How To Become A Graphic Designer At Home?

Becoming a graphic designer at home is entirely possible with a strategic approach. Follow these steps to unlock your creative potential:

– Develop essential skills through online tutorials or courses.
– Obtain necessary software such as Adobe Creative Suite.
– Build a strong portfolio showcasing your work.
– Network with other designers through online communities and social media.
– Seek out freelance opportunities to gain experience.
– Stay updated on design trends and industry news.
– Continuously refine your skills through practice and feedback.

4. How To Become A Good Graphic Designer?

To become a good graphic designer, start by honing your creativity and eye for design through courses or self-study. Familiarize yourself with design principles, software, and stay updated on current trends.

Practice regularly, seek feedback, and showcase your work in a well-curated portfolio. Collaboration and continuous learning will help you excel in this dynamic field.

5. How Much Does It Cost To Become A Graphic Designer?

The cost of becoming a graphic designer varies depending on factors such as education, software, and hardware. On average, pursuing a degree can cost around $20,000-$50,000, while self-learning and online courses can be more affordable.

However, investing in quality software and hardware is essential for professional work. Visit different resources and compare prices to find the best options for your budget.

Himani

Himani is a digital marketer who has 4 years of experience in blogging and SEO. She started her journey as a freelancer at the age of 18 in 2020 and made $350,000 by working with different high profiled companies and clients. She shares her insightful knowledge and learnings to help people make money online.

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