Graphic design is a growing career path. The top graphic designers receive substantial salaries considering they often freelance, work from their own homes, and choose their own hours. However, this business style can be difficult to build up to. In addition to freelancing, graphic designers can work for a company. Whether you freelance or not, here are five tips to help you down the path to graphic design success:
- Communicate and Network
Networking is important in any business, and this is no different for graphic design. Colleagues with experience can become invaluable teachers and help you move up. Networking at business conferences will put you in touch with experts you can learn from, and potential employers and clients. The more people you interact with, the larger your network will be, and that increases your career opportunities.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect, and Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times best-seller, estimates that it takes somebody 10,000 hours of practice before they become an expert. If you have an idea for a client, even if you aren't working on that particular project, go ahead and tell them about it. You can show it to your boss or the client and get valuable feedback and practice at the same time. They will take note of your extra effort and likely offer you better opportunities.
- Experiment with Software
Many designers get too involved with one single piece of software, determined to master it before moving on. Instead of only working with one software, try to learn the basics in several software programs. Clients will be impressed with your versatility and it shows you take your job seriously. Different programs offer various tools that can be helpful on certain projects and you might find you prefer certain programs over others.
- Value Criticism
New designers often take criticism as a personal affront. However, criticism should be taken as an opportunity to learn and improve. Constructive criticism is meant to guide you to where you need to be so you can perform to the best of your abilities. It is a valuable chance to learn exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are from someone who can objectively view your work. Instead of reacting with negativity, work to improve so you can become a valuable graphic designer.
- Take Chances
Playing it safe may seem like a guaranteed way to avoid failure, but it won't result in any spectacular wins, either. You are working in a creative medium, and clients are generally looking for something intriguing. By trying out something new or unconventional you stand out, and even if you fail you at least learn something. Resting on your laurels won’t get you far in graphic design.