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Getting Started in a Career in Graphic Design

Photo by Antoni Shkraba from Pexels

Graphic design is one of the most rapidly growing fields in the industry, combining tech with creative ingenuity to create the visual images we see every day --- from the dynamic, colorful layouts of multimedia websites to the instantly-recognizable "faces" of some of the best-known brands.

Developing skills in this area creates potential for career growth, opening up opportunities to get started in a range of jobs including xxxx and web design. Whether you're aiming for a change of career direction, kickstarting a solo business or seeking a valuable skill to add to your resume, here's how to get started.

Routes Into Graphic Design

While there is no one specific way into becoming a graphic designer, there are essentially two routes you can take while learning the skills required to become one: by engaging in self-directed learning, or through study at places like the American International College, where you can also gain a qualification in the process.

The one you choose depends on your individual needs: while it is possible to teach yourself graphic design, investing in a graphic design course offers a more structured way of learning, with greater opportunities for constructive feedback, as well as the chance to impress employers by adding a qualification to your resume.

Getting Started

The principles of graphic design can be traced back to various sources, including the Bauhaus movement of the 1930s whose motto "form follows function" would come to signify the way these principles can be used as a type of scaffold upon which creative ideas can be built in order to convey a specific message. These include:

  • Balance
  • Repetition
  • Proximity
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Space
  • Contrast
  • Alignment
  • Hierarchy

Other Key Concepts

In addition to the fundamental principles, other key concepts to learn include typography, layout and color theory in addition to UX (user experience). Another key concept has to do with the psychology behind design principles and the visual impact they make on the viewer.

In color psychology, blue evokes feelings of stability and calm, making it a popular choice for corporate logos. The use of shape also has a similar effect: for example, horizontally slanting lines might suggest energy and dynamism.

Tools Of The Trade

In order to bring these concepts to life, most graphic designers begin by sketching ideas using pen and paper before translating them into digital format using software packages such as graphic editors, vector tools and page layout programs.

In terms of hardware, a computer with a large, high definition screen and ample storage (in most cases, at least a terabyte) is well worth investing in. A graphics tablet and stylus allows for the ease of a pen and paper combined with digital capabilities, and for those who want to incorporate original photography into their work, a DSLR camera.

Showcase Your Work

Learning key design concepts and methods is important, but prospective clients and employers also need to see visual proof of your knowledge and skills. The best way to do this is to develop a graphic design portfolio of your best work.

Graphic design is a field that is constantly evolving, and consistently putting these skills into practice is essential. This can include paid or voluntary as well as personal projects: you can even use your personal brand as a way to demonstrate both design and business skills.

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