Today is the Right Time for a Career in Graphic Design

Graphic design is a field that is rising in possibilities for artistically creative minds. With new websites popping up by the thousands daily, it makes sense that now is the perfect time to be a graphic designer. All it takes is a little artistic flair and a willingness to invest the time into learning the coding required to turn your design talents towards a more technical endeavor.

If you have considered a career in graphic design or this is something you might find interesting now that you’ve heard about it, perhaps you would consider graphic design courses or two to familiarize yourself with some of the more popular software in the field of graphic design.

Once you have a couple of websites to show as examples of your work, you can submit bids on the many bidding sites around that are continuously asking for help in designing websites and graphics for their websites. You can even sell your graphic art through bidding sites designed specifically for the purpose of selling art.

Graphic Design Skills

Begin a virtual and an actual portfolio of your graphic designs. You can take the actual portfolios to local businesses, particularly the small businesses that are not part of large chains and offer to design a website for them. You can actually build a business of your very own, that you can do from home, by sharing your graphic design skills with just a few local companies. Word will spread eventually and you will eventually have people coming to you for help with their websites and logo needs. Now is a great time to begin your very own graphic design business.

A successful future in the new media industry (and specifically, graphic design) depends on choosing the right school. As a graduate student in this field myself, I will be able to provide you with the absolute best advice one can get in regards to this topic.

1. Area of Focus

In my case, they asked for a portfolio of work as part of the admission process. So, if you are self-taught and eager to solidify your already existing knowledge, or a total beginner, this is a good choice for you. If, however, you have already completed a similar program, you may wish to take a new program merely to upgrade your skills (because the field of new media is always changing). If you can, it really, really, really helps if you take a freehand drawing course prior to learning how to draw using a computer.

2. Recognition

– Does the school participate in any graphical arts competitions?

– Have students accomplished anything of renown in the industry?

3. Teachers

Trust me, this doesn’t go without saying. The quality of your education will be directly related to the instructors. I have never encountered an instructor that wasn’t immensely knowledgeable about the subject area. Of course, there is a big difference between knowing the subject area and being able to teach (that is, to convey that information, and manage students, answer questions, etc.).

4. Job Placement

100% make sure that you get into a program that incorporates on-the-job experience. Or at least a practicum. This usually is 100 hours of real on-the-job experience and it is absolutely invaluable to your career.

5. Curriculum and Tools

You must assess whether the curriculum is relevant to you field of study. You may want to compare the curricula of different schools to see which offers the best form of education. As it so happens in my case, the administration did something they have never done before: changed the curriculum halfway through the program. The reasoning behind this was that the software we were scheduled to be instructed in would soon be discontinued on the Mac. It really pays off if you can see the facilities beforehand so you know what tools they are using.

6. Student to Teacher Ratio

Graphic design is kind of an industry that more or less demands personal contributions on every project. For this reason, you can’t just be known as the Photoshop guy, it is your responsibility to be well versed in a lot of different programs and techniques for creating stunning graphics and illustrations. And that means you will definitely need one-on-one instruction, or at least the ability to stop the class in case you get lost.

7. Accreditation

Accreditation means the school has passed a certain standards of educational quality. If you can, ask for literally one minute of the head department’s time and find out a listing of companies that students have been hired into.

8. Cost

A full education in graphic design can cost anywhere from 13,000 to 16,000 dollars for an intensive one-year program (120 credits). The goal here is to find a university, college, or technical institute that is recognized internationally for excellence. Let’s face it, Harvard University will look a lot better on your resume than Texas Community College. Three great recognized schools in are BCIT located in Vancouver Canada (Vancouver is the equivalent of Hollywood for graphic designers, web designers, and all new media experts), the Art Institute (with locations worldwide), and the Vancouver Film School (VFS) that has graphic design programs that are very specialized.

9. Scholarships

You might want to consider whether the design school you are looking at offers any scholarships. You also might want to know the terms to them too. Some schools offer scholarships based on academic performance. Some offer them based on art competitions they hold regularly. You should qualify for a national student loan either way, and repayment is extremely affordable.

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