Be an In-house Designer
Your first getting started in graphic design, you have a lot to learn. Design isn’t just about making things look pretty. It’s about solving problems and creating the right solutions for your clients. There are so many different aspects to graphic design and web design. It’s important that you understand everything that makes up graphic design, but you should also understand the business side of it. That’s why I recommend that anyone who is a student or is just learning graphic design should work as an in-house graphic designer before becoming a freelancer.
There are Things they don’t Teach you in school
I have a Bachelors degree and graphic design. I went through school and aced everything with flying colors. I’d absorbed everything I possibly could from each professor. The problem is, there are things they can’t teach you in school. They don’t teach you how to deal with ornery clients. They don’t teach you what to do when clients don’t pay.
You learn by doing
When your student, you work on a different schedule than you would if you were a professional graphic designer. You spend weeks on a project because your taking time to learn. In the real world the same project may be done in a day or two. Consider your student work as warm-up practice. Working in-house is the real deal and is one of the best ways to hone your skills before breaking out on your own.
You get real-world mentors
When you work as an in-house designer, chances are that you’re probably working with an experienced art director or other experienced graphic designers. Their experience is carried on through you as they mentor you and teach you the ropes. They’ll show you industry specific processes that they may not teach you in school. If you’ve learned your trade through school or books, there’s only so much they can do. The rest you have to learn by experience, not at the expense of your reputation.
Having a real-world mentor in graphic design is excellent because they can keep you from making mistakes that you may not even realize. They can teach you production tricks, and you may even get to sit in on a few administrative meetings. I know this aspect may sound boring to you, but if you’re a freelancer you’ll be conducting those meetings yourself with clients. It’s important to understand what you should be talking about with clients and how important your interaction is with them.
You Can Build Up a Network While Honing Your Skills
When you work as an in-house designer, you get the chance to hone your skills and develop your craft. You can earn a living and get better at graphic design at the same time. You can also start specializing in specific skills where you excel. Make sure to do a good job, so that they will have every reason in the world to pass work your way when you go out on your own. You’ll also get to know local printers and other business and services that you’ll need to keep in touch with when you need them.
You Develop Collaboration skills
When you work as an in-house designer, you usually work on a team. You collaborate with an art director, a business owner, and other production workers. It gives you a better understanding of how the process works as a whole. Understanding this process will help you work with a variety of companies better. You understand everyone’s roles much better than if you just jumped into things blindly.
There’s no way to know all of this right out of school, or from books. It’s important to understand all of these aspects of the business. Otherwise, you could try going it alone, with no experience, not enough knowledge, and you could hurt your reputation. If you end up going back to working as an in-house designer, it can be tough to get a job, too. Remember to tread lightly and carefully, and take the proper steps.