5 Things Nobody Tells You about Being a Graphic Designer

This is a very popular profession and more and more people of different ages and profiles are turning to it. Many points in a job description of a graphic designer are very desirable:

● The job is creative
● You can learn it by yourself
● It’s well-paid
● You can grow and advance
● And develop a personal signature
● No heavy lifting required

All these aspects contribute to the popular opinion that this is a dream job. Well, this would be idealizing it – the job also comes with many challenges which aren’t mentioned in its job description and it’s better to be aware of them before you start this career so that you know if you’re able to deliver or not.

You’ll be confronted with unrealistic deadlines

You’ll work with many different people whose areas of expertize are completely unrelated to yours, which means that you’ll have to develop a common language in order to communicate properly. That part isn’t terribly challenging after a while – you’ll learn how to speak to your clients in time.

The problem with this situation is in the fact you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of people who don’t understand what you do, which will result in three things:
● They will underappreciate what you do
They will always try to lower your rates
● They will expect you to deliver in highly unrealistic deadlines

It’s frustrating, to say the least.

People will ask you to copy someone’s work

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You can expect to hear “Can you do the same thing this guy did for that business?” probably each time you encounter a new client. Other than being in conflict with the law because of copyrights, I’m sure you’ll find it incredibly limiting and monotone. In order to develop a personal style, you’ll need freedom and not many clients will enable that.

It will be expected from you to do drafts and versions of drafts

A lot of designers out there consider all-nighters a very usual and normal thing. Clients won’t hesitate from asking you to enable them to have a choice by creating several versions, which is an equivalent to doing a number of jobs at once and being paid for only one.

You’ll have to learn to say no

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Which brings me to my next subject – you have got to learn to say no or you can kiss your sleep time and social life goodbye. This is very hard to incorporate into your work because you’ll need clients in order to make a nice portfolio, especially in the beginning of your career. Taking up all jobs offered and saying yes to all requests set in front of you will actually have an opposite effect – the word will spread that you’re willing to do a lot for low rates and it will only be harder for you to make actual progress.

You need to learn to stand behind your work

Each of your designs needs to tell a story, so it’s also in your job description to be a part-time storyteller. Being innovative and fresh has a downside – if your clients see that you’re trying something other than current trends, they will expect a good explanation. So, you need to stand firmly behind your work or don’t even develop tendencies to experiment.

Don’t get me wrong – with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, it’s more than possible for you to become a success in the graphic design area, but don’t be foolish to believe that it will happen overnight. Besides, some of the points in the job description – like working within strict deadlines – aren’t for everyone. My suggestion is to think carefully about whether or not this is the right path for you because it comes with a lot of sacrifice.

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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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