6 Steps To Becoming A Professional Graphic Designer

Modern advances in technology have truly afforded creative people to vent their gift through innovative avenues. If you are a writer, you can freelance, publish blogs or work with an agency. The same goes for a graphic artist. Today’s professionals often take quite unconventional routes to success. Either they did not have any kind of formal education or are presently following a vocation wholly unrelated to their training & background. For example, many graphic designer artists start out by initially designing websites or logos for family & friends free of cost, realize they have a talent for the field & eventually take it up full-time as a working professional.

In spite of the fact that many modern professionals find their path to career success in unorthodox fashion, we could all benefit from the lessons that they learn in the course of their journey & the tricks of the trade that they pick up along the way. The knowledge that they have accumulated over eons would be invaluable to any amateur graphic designer just starting out in the business.

Master your tools

The modern graphic designer uses a plethora of software & design programs for his or her work. This includes Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator etc. The key to becoming proficient with your tool of choice is not the choice of a tool but your comfort level with it.

For this to happen, you need to know the software you work with like the back of your hand. This not only includes the general functions any good graphic designer will be familiar with but even the lesser known & more difficult or sophisticated attributes of the program that make you a true maestro of the language or platform.

Make sure that you are constantly studying up & reading on the programs that you use. Follow the YouTube channels that deal with your line of work & join the social media groups, especially the ones on Facebook, which subscribe to your professional preferences. Looking up a free online tutorial or course & following forums such as Quora also help.

Creative Block

You read about it in blogs & magazines. You hear horror stories about it happening to some professional acquaintance you met once at a networking event. You dismiss the accounts as fictitious & hope that it never happens to you. Until the day it does.

It happens to all of us. Especially to the best among us.

It’s just one of those days. You are on your fourth or fifth cup of morning coffee staring into a blank screen wondering what happened. Then, all of a sudden – it strikes you like a bolt of lightning. You have heard of this before. Or perhaps you had read about it. This is how it starts – slowly. You try to recognize the unmistakable signs, the telltales. Suddenly, it all becomes chillingly clear – you are in for a creative block.

Don’t panic! It’s part & parcel of life for any artist. If it’s happening for the first time to you, relax. Take your mind off work for some time. Listen to your favourite kind of music. Read your favourite book again. Look up some cat videos on YouTube. Don’t worry – you’ll be back in the groove in no time. As long as you are not constantly thinking about it.

 Imposter Syndrome

On the off-chance that you have been living under a rock all this time & do not know what Imposter Syndrome is, it describes a phase every professional is bound to experience at some point of time in his or her work life. Usually, it affects those who have attained a reasonable degree of success & recognition in their field of work. It is a false sense of unsurety or insecurity that you are not really as good as it is often made out to be & that one of these days, people around you are going to catch on to this & then they are going to be on to you.

Just like the creative block, this too will pass. Just let it be.

The Design Portfolio

In the Graphic Designing business, your portfolio is your Resume. It is the first thing that a prospective client will see about you, use to gauge your prowess & whether you are the exact kind of artist that their projects require. Which brings us to the burning question – have you prioritized your portfolio yet?

In case you haven’t, we suggest you set up your own website to showcase your choicest work. Make sure it’s the kind of design that is trending in the industry & that clients are willing to pay for. Established graphic designers usually do not accept work that does not headline their portfolio. If you are looking for work just to get by, you need not necessarily include them in your portfolio. Remember – showcase only the best, nothing less.

Diversify

No matter how good you are at Graphic Designing, unfortunately, the industry today demands professionals who, in addition to being master of their own trades, are also a jack of others.  So, if your graphics are in need of a content copy, offer to write it for your client. If your customer is looking for a suitable print vendor for offline branding, offer to find him or her one at competitive prices while at the same time delivering upon your creative commitments.

Grow your network

In case you do not fancy yourself as a jack of all trades, it is okay. Make sure that you are well connected to professionals in related fields who can help you to secure work in your own field while delivering upon the complete requirement of the project. For instance, if you are working on a Logo Design, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to know a good calligrapher. Similarly, if you are designing web graphics, ensure that you have a team of programmers & writers to back you up. Not only will this enable you to deliver to your clients’ satisfaction but also create additional sources of work & projects.

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