I remember when I was selecting my career path for college, my mother asking me "why a graphic designer?" At the time, I knew that I enjoyed expressing myself creatively. I had also always been fascinated by how design creates reaction in people. Whether through packaging, commercials, print, interactive, etc. I love how design impacts an audience. I don't think this rationale was enough to convince her that this was the best career move. But like any good mother, she encouraged my passion.
Through the first decade of my career, I can say that being a graphic designer has truly been my passion. Like any career one can choose, I believe you should work in a field that inspires you. We spend a third of our day working. Why not do something that fulfills you?
Below are 10 reasons why I enjoy being a graphic designer. If you are considering a field in graphic design, hopefully these speak to you as well.
1.) Creative expression
Graphic design allows me to express myself creatively. As a graphic designer, you are paid to create for your client. While the client may have an idea, it is you the designer who brings that idea to life through your creativity. A graphic designer does what others can't: give creative breath to the unrealized thought.
2.) Bringing order and structure to the abstract
As a graphic designer, you are the architect of the idea you are trying to express. Whether it's a developed idea or chicken scratch on a cocktail napkin, you are the one who makes interprets the chaos. Graphic designers bring hierarchy, layout and form to an otherwise intangible idea. That "random" swoosh of yellow across the background? You know that it's all part of the bigger picture.
3.) Variety of projects
Today, graphic designers are seldom broken up into categories such as print or interactive. Graphic designers have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects from web design to print to video and everything in between. Sure you can always specialize in a certain field. However, I have found in my career that being able to work within a variety of mediums is a crucial part to success.
4.) Location, location, location
Graphic designers work from almost anywhere as long as they have a computer and the necessary design programs. This flexibility to work from home or on site is a huge perk compared to other desk jobs.
5.) Freelance on demand
Graphic design is a field that has large demand for freelance talent. For those who don't want a regular 9 to 5 or who need additional side money, freelance opportunities are a great fit. Generally you can find clients who can work within your schedule and location. While it can be competitive, it's still a great perk for graphic designers.
6.) You are your product
You are always selling yourself, as a graphic designer. Whether its freelance or a full-time job, you are a product that a client needs. It's important you know how to market yourself. After all who knows you better than you? Which brings me to networking and reviews. Even the most introverted designer needs to know how to network with others. It's also important to get any testimonials, awards, press, etc. up on your website or social media outlets. While you work can speak for itself, it never hurts to have support to back it up.
7.) Communication interpreter
One of the fun things about graphic design is that you are creating a design that communicates to an audience. Yes, copywriters provide content. A graphic designer gives that content form and style to create a reaction. The power to communicate through design to an audience is an incredible experience.
8.) Numerous fields of employment
There are many fields you can go into as a graphic designer. Obvious one's include design studios and ad agencies. But think outside of the box and consider industries such as:
- Direct marketing
9.) Collaboration and experience
Most designers will tell you that, even if you work for yourself, being a graphic designer requires collaboration. Collaboration can be a great thing, as it allows you to gain insight and perspective around projects. Occasionally, a designer can get too attached to their project and this outside collaboration can help improve your design. It also allows you to develop your skills and learn from other experienced designers.
10.) I live, breathe, eat design
Earlier I spoke about having passion for what you do. For a successful graphic designer, you should eat, breathe and live for good design. Whether its stunning typography on a billboard, the packaging your dog food comes in, an impactful PSA, or anything in between, enjoy the inspiration around you. Look for ways to incorporate design you see in one medium into a different one. Sometimes just looking at the pattern of a marble sidewalk can spark a creative design approach.
Graphic design is a great career choice for creative people that want to express themselves. But don't get into it thinking it's all Nike swooshes and luxury automobile campaigns. Those may come along, but get into design because its something you can't live without.