How to Become a Graphic Designer

How to be a professional graphic designer in today’s era of technology? If you are in this situation, our article will give you the most detailed answer and instructions.

You will have to go through 5 steps, from gathering the simplest ingredients to starting to apply with a perfect portfolio.

For a comprehensive study, please scroll down in no time!

What Is A Graphic Designer?

Graphic design is the profession of conveying content and messages to people through graphics, images, and text.

Because it is an art-related career by its very nature, it is widely used in many technology areas, such as advertising, news, and animation.

Alternatively, you could also pursue fields such as print publications, website development, or working on television applications.

Its scope of activities is large, leading to recruitment demand, and the working environment is always ideal for those who love art-related work.

You need to clearly define the field you want to participate in and focus on developing yourself. If you have no idea, here are the most popular majors that you can refer to for your education:

  • Book Design
  • Packaging Products
  • Font
  • Logo
  • Web design
  • User experience design
  • User interface design

If you pursue this industry, you need to manage your work schedule and time well. It requires you to face a lot of deadlines and unexpected requests, leading to frequent overtime is inevitable.

For this reason, people often pursue a career in graphic design as a full-time job. You can only work part-time if you know how to manage your time well.

How To Become a Graphic Designer

There are five steps and a detailed guide for you on how to become a professional graphic designer. Please scroll down to see more if you want a full look at it!

1. Get Start From Graphic Design Principles

Gaining a solid foundation in your first step to becoming a true designer! Therefore, you need to be very careful and slow at this stage.

from color pencil to laptop and tablet
Starting from the basic knowledge

A product consists of countless artistic elements, such as shapes, lines, proportions, colors, textures, shapes, accents, space, etc.

When it combines harmoniously, you successfully convey the content you are describing to the audience.

You need to know that this industry requires meticulousness and care because it requires you to have enough specialized knowledge in theoretical and practical areas. Once you are unsure about it, your product will become a discordant being and have no high use value.

But how to get this background knowledge comprehensively and effectively?

Pursuing formal training at universities and colleges would be an ideal choice. But if conditions don’t allow it, you should join online classes or training centers.

At the same time, learning more materials through books and online resources will help you expand your knowledge more and more.

My advice is to focus on the history of graphic design and design principles and start practicing the key skills of this industry.

2. Apply For a Graphic Design Course

Once you’ve chosen the form in which you’ll receive training, it’s time to start realizing your dreams!

Attending graphic design classes will improve your knowledge and grow your network of friends. But teachers, mentors, and classmates will all help you along the way.

In your first lessons, you’ll become familiar with the internal areas of color design (like typography, color theory, user experience, and so on) along with graphic design history, design principles, and more. Web design and user experience (UX).

3. Study Key Graphic Design Tools

In this step, we suggest you learn the famous design software (e.g., Vectornator) and start learning how to use it.

Whether you are a novice or an expert, being fluent in at least one graphic software will also give you an advantage in the research and learning process.

designer using graphic tools with multiple colors
Using graphic tools

On the market today, there are countless support tools for graphic designers to use. You must have heard of Adobe Creative Suite because of its popularity.

Many people think that this application is the standard for the design industry that everyone should learn through.

You should know that the journey to follow your dreams can cost more than you think. So, choose which graphics application you love the most through their trial version.

Get started with the free version before subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud for monthly learning. It can be expensive, but what you get in return will be worth it.

Once you know how to get familiar with Adobe, some of the next suggestions that may be useful to you include Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign. You can learn about them in class or follow online resources to get the most comprehensive view of them.

Owning a laptop and (at least) a desktop computer will require you to achieve. If you want to invest more, add a tablet and pen to connect directly to the computer.

4. Work On Your Projects

Once you have no problem with the theory part, it’s time to start the practical part! So, what are the first products that you should make?

You propose to create projects and logos based on the designs of famous companies. You can take advantage of and refer to all available resources for your products.

Expand your circle by finding and following famous artists and designers whose styles match your taste. Tracking and analyzing their new projects will give you more small lessons to apply to your projects.

If you’re confident with your talent and want to take it to the next level, you can sign up to volunteer with local brands or nonprofits. This way, you will get to know many new colleagues and get used to how effective teamwork is.

After practicing these methods, you will surely have more success in the practical field and be somewhat ready to apply for a full-time job.

5. Develop a Portfolio

Once you’ve firmly grasped the theory and practice, it’s time to build a strong portfolio for your formal application!

working with live photos
Developing a portfolio

Your portfolio includes products and projects you’ve worked on during your career in this industry, including projects during your studies, personal, and work. The richer the portfolio, the better the home. Recruiters are more satisfied with your ability.

But when building this category, you need to emphasize product quality instead of quantity. Potential customers and employers won’t want your first impression of poor-quality products.

You bring a digital portfolio with you to your interview. If you aim to become a freelance graphic designer or full-time, you need to prepare an online portfolio.

The online version is responsible for the additional CV of each applicant. It will be easier to apply for jobs, interview, and receive evaluations from recruiters.

So, which platform should you use to showcase your graphic works conveniently?

There are many options available for you to consider. If you have no ideas, our recommendations include Pixpa, Behance, FolioHD, PortfolioBox, Carbonmade, Coroflot, Crevado, and Krop.

It is best to build a portfolio while receiving formal training and update it continuously to see the progress of your qualifications day by day. Once you graduate, we’re sure your portfolio is strong and confident enough to include with your resume.

Suppose you don’t have work to show! Focus on adding from now to show your present moment skills.

How To Become a Freelance Graphic Designer

Working as a freelancer requires more work and process than designers working for studios and companies. For more on these career pursuits, scroll down now!

1. Learn and Practice

The first step of a design career is to start with the simplest knowledge. So, you need to find a learning method that suits you and apply it immediately.

Let’s learn and practice.

Consider that a formal training program is a wise and reliable choice. If your circumstances don’t allow it, you can still pursue it by taking design courses online, in centers, and focusing on developing personal projects.

2. Brand Yourself

During the study period, you have to develop a catchy name for your business or use your own to do it.

After you officially work, this name will follow you in all products and projects.

It will create a presence for yourself on every piece of work in your portfolio, making it easier for potential customers to be impressed and easily find you for future collaborations.

3. Be Ready For Your First Projects

After gaining experience in both theory and practice, it’s time to get ready for your first project as a graphic designer.

color drawing
Ready for your first projects

If you do not have any ideas for finding clients, you can refer to freelance job recruitment websites or create articles to introduce yourself.

If employers feel that you meet the requirements they are looking for, they will contact you and give you the first chance to showcase your talent.

Since you are a fair newbie at the moment, your customers will probably only place small orders from you.

Only when this first product makes a huge impression on them will they be able to trust you and entrust you with larger orders in future collaborations, or even refer you to big companies. Others are in need.

Make the most of your creativity and the skills you’ve acquired throughout your studies for this rare opportunity.

One note for you is to submit the product to the customer as soon as possible. If you miss the deadline, they are unlikely to continue to cooperate no matter how good your work is.

4. Study The Design’s Business

You need to know that working as a freelance graphic designer means taking charge of all the necessary side areas of your business.

Every time an order is received, you will have to do all the work like marketing, writing invoices, sending proposals, and other related work.

5. Accept Work

With your first projects, we recommend that you don’t be picky because it’s a no-brainer to pass up the opportunity to show off.

But once you have a certain amount of customers and orders, you will have the time and opportunity to control the quality of the projects you will receive.

draw on a drawing tablet
Accepting works

Think carefully and only accept projects that interest you or feel are worth the effort. As for orders that require an urgent deadline or a request that is too difficult, you can consider and refuse them to save time for other products.

6. Build Your Network

Being a freelancer means you won’t get the same guarantees of orders or referrals from your first days as a graphic designer working at the company.

So, building a wide network is a must if you do not want to waste your talents.

Your network should include past and current customers, family, friends, and colleagues. Besides, you need to constantly look for new customers and affirm your reputation through the first orders.

No one can guarantee that the number of freelance projects in the month is stable. This month, you can receive many orders, but there is no guarantee that you will continue to receive any other projects in the following months.

Therefore, from now on, make yourself a habit of taking time to reach new customers anytime, anywhere. To be successful in this field, you should combine social media advertising with consulting calls and SEO marketing.

7. Ask For Referrals

We consider word of mouth marketing to be one of the most successful ways to reach and win more new customers. Therefore, focusing on this skill is necessary from the time you are working on your first projects.

You need to pay attention to and listen to your customers’ wishes so that your product meets their wishes in an ideal way. Once that’s done, don’t be afraid to ask them if they know of anyone looking for a graphic designer.

If your work pleases them, they will not hesitate to refer you to other places looking for freelancers or even working with you for a long time.

That way, you will always have a steady stream of customers for the future.


What Is The Salary For a Graphic Designer?

If you are wondering about the salary of a graphic designer, the number we are about to announce will satisfy you! In the US, their average hourly wage is $32.07!

Is Graphic Design A Growing Field?

Don’t worry because, according to experts, job opportunities for graphic designers in the coming years will continue to increase slightly. Specifically, it will increase by 3% between 2020 and 2030.

Although this growth is a bit limited, the number of new graphic designers for the year is always overwhelming – around 23900!

Is It Hard To Become A Graphic Designer?

The answer depends entirely on your efforts!

It’s not as difficult as you think, but you need to have the ability to think, create and design art. Pursuing this career requires you to devote time, money, and effort to it.

If you cannot meet the requirements above, your ability to successfully pursue this job seems impossible!

Final Verdict

Starting any job requires effort and creativity to hone your skills. Only when you are truly passionate and determined can you conquer your chosen path.

We hope you have enough information through this article. Now, start pursuing your dream job right now!