How to become a graphic designer from scratch
Who graphic designers really are?
Graphic designers are visual storytellers. By combining images, words and graphics, they convey information and engage audiences. Graphic designers use design elements such as shapes, colours, lines and textures to do a variety of work. They create everything from posters and product packaging to logos and animations. Graphic design is an integral part of a brand or company’s marketing and promotional activities. Graphic designers, also known as communication designers, create visually appealing designs that support the brand message and evoke emotion in consumers.
Is it possible to become a graphic designer without a classical education?
The majority of established designers were convinced that if a person was not endowed with natural talent and an innate ability to draw, he or she would not be able to learn it and enter a design school or architectural institute. And today many potential students ask a question, but is it possible to study design without being able to draw?
Yes, you can learn! If you have a great desire, everything is possible! Often people without special education achieve success in the profession on a par with people with an art degree and even more. Their work is functional, practical, deeply thought-out technically and totally customer-oriented.
Practice shows that when starting design studies from scratch, 99 per cent of those who enter already know how to draw, and more than half of them discover a talent for fine art and drawing. A professional designer is, first and foremost, a designer, for whom the ability to perform design activities competently is more important than academic drawing skills. In order to visualise an idea, a designer needs only special drawing skills (sketching, sketching) and knowledge of special software packages.
One can start to learn design from scratch even if one doesn’t know how to draw and has no art education. Special design courses are created for such students who dream of finding themselves in the creation of interesting design projects characterised by mastery, aesthetic perfection, a good sense of perspective, sense of volume and colour palette, functionality and original execution.
Don’t believe the stereotypes, the ability to draw is not the most important thing in a designer’s work!
- Learn the principles of graphic design
To become a graphic designer, you need a solid understanding of the principles of graphic design. Good design is well thought out. It requires careful planning and experience in applying design theory and principles. Graphic designers need to consider elements such as line, colour, shape, space, texture, typography, scale, dominance and emphasis, and harmony. All of these elements influence design and can shape the audience’s feelings.
- Enroll in a graphic design course
The Graphic Design course will teach you the fundamentals of design and help you develop your skills in working on projects. You’ll meet teachers and classmates who will be invaluable as you grow your business network.
Most of the graphic design course will cover topics such as colour theory, typography, layout, and graphic design tools and software. Depending on the depth, some courses will also cover the history of graphic design, user experience (UX) and principles of website design.
Many options are available, from structured academic courses to online courses that offer more flexibility. Find the one that fits your schedule and learning preferences.
- Learn basic tools
Graphic designers use a variety of tools. Adobe Creative Suite is the standard for most graphic designers. PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign are also worth getting to grips with, as most design work can be created using these tools.
There are plenty of widely available user guides and tutorial resources. You can start by browsing through the Adobe Manuals series.
- Work on your own projects to develop your graphic design skills
Once you have a knowledge of the principles and tools of graphic design, it’s time to practice.
The best way to develop and master graphic design tools is to work on your own design projects. You can start by creating mock advertisements and logos for real or fictional companies. You can also take an existing company design and try to create a new one – this is good practice for identifying and designing for a target audience.
Another option is to volunteer with local non-profit organisations or brands. Offer your services to these organisations to gain more experience.
- Build a portfolio
A strong portfolio is important for any graphic designer. A portfolio can include projects that have been completed as part of a course as well as personal or work projects. Focus on quality, not quantity.
A portfolio is the first impression potential employers or clients will see, so add the work that best demonstrates your skills.
- Don’t take too long to find your first orders
Firstly, you will gain practical experience by placing orders. Secondly, you will earn your first money in your new profession, and this is very important psychologically. Even if the amounts are still small, it still helps to realize yourself as a designer, because customers are already willing to pay for your skills.
However, the most important thing at the start is real experience. You can get some free work for that, but you can add it to your portfolio.
The first clients can be found at freelancing sites. Whether you stay in freelancing for a long time or look for permanent work – you decide later.
Do not be afraid of failures and mishaps. They happen to everyone, so will you. The important thing is not to despair, but to analyse and understand what the reason is. Remember: you can always return to a failed project later, with new experience and skills. Yes, the client will not see the work again, but you will learn a lot.
- Expand your business network
It is also important to expand your business network. Network with other designers, join design organisations such as AIGA, and reach out to potential mentors or designers you admire. Your business network will be an important asset when looking for work or clients.
Keep in touch with people you meet during your training and create new connections by joining professional communities. Your colleagues can share interesting opportunities, recommend you to people they know or pass on work they don’t have time for.
If you want to become a designer quicker and study with a well-thought-out plan, you might like to check out our catalogue of graphic design course. You can study online, at your own pace, and there’s no limit to how long you can access the materials. You’ll learn from hands-on trainers who will do your homework and give you advice throughout your training. You’ll learn the profession from scratch, and by the end of the course you’ll have a portfolio to show your future employer.