So, you are interested in doing design, but aren’t quite sure how to get started. First off, it takes an artistic and creative person to make it in graphic design. A really good graphic designer can spot trends before they are popular, work well with others on team projects, and think outside the design box. It’s also important to have a strong foundation in the elements of design. Well, there are a few options for how to get started. Here’s what you need to know to become a graphic designer.
You can try to teach yourself the elements of design and the computer software on your own or you can enroll in a graphic design program. Generally these programs run from either 1-2 years or 3-4 years depending on the school. Taking a college or university program has some great benefits. At school, you can build a great social and peer network (a great way to build your professional network) and the teachers’ expertise and professional network will likely benefit your career.
Most programs offer or encourage a work placement upon completion of the program. Doing a work placement is a fantastic way to practice your newly acquired design skills and to make some great connections in the industry. Working in-house also gives you a first-hand glimpse into the workings of an in-house graphic design company. Once you have completed your program and your work placement, you can decide if you’d like to continue working in-house, start your own design company, or do freelance design work. Either way you will need a complete design portfolio for your interviews and meetings with potential clients.
You’ll also need to become an expert in these graphic design programs:
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Acrobat
- Quark Express
Most publishers today use Mac computers for their design team, so you will have to become very comfortable with Mac’s layout and programs.
Check out The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada to find a list of graphic design schools from across Canada.