Just like choosing any profession, it’s important to consider what is really involved and whether or not it’s the right fit for you. As a former graphic arts instructor, I had students who did manual labor for a living and were dreaming of working Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. I had students who’s parents were encouraging them to go to college and they figured graphic arts could be an easily attainable degree. And then there were those students who would eat, breathe, and live design.
Let me start by saying that it isn’t as easy as it looks, and it’s not as cut and dry as you might think. But talented, hard-working people can make a decent living with a good quality of life in the graphic arts industry.
It starts with talent and a passion for art. That passion should be fostered at a quality college or trade school. It’s important to learn the structure behind good design. Understanding color theory and typography can make a good designer great. Learning to conceptualize solutions and execute your ideas can make you infinitely more marketable. I also feel it is important to start working in the industry at an agency verses an in-house art department. The wider range of clients and projects will broaden your horizons and expand your portfolio.
I have worked for in-house art departments, large agencies, small boutique design firms, and as a freelancer, and the following has been true no matter the arrangement:
1. It can be mentally exhausting as well as creatively stimulating. Just like the manual labor jobs, sometimes I go to bed completely beat from the day. But, when you win those awards and promotions because of your great ideas and hard work you feel like you’re walking on air for a week.
2. Some days you work 9am-5pm, but most days you work until the deadlines are met. And actually, it’s the kind of job that you never really walk away from. I’m thinking of the next great headline and solution to my clients problems while I eat my breakfast in the morning, when doing my grocery shopping, and when I exercise.
Becoming a graphic artist is not for those thinking the grass is greener or those looking for an easy way out. It’s for those who truly love to design and who are wiling to work for a career doing what they love.
Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.
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