Graphic design is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. That is, it is a means to communicate certain ideas or messages in a visual way to meet the eyes and acceptance of a public audience.
It is a serious profession and currently an academic discipline where many people are being taught the art and ways to become certified graphic designers. We come in contact with many forms of graphic design – from web designs to UI and interactive designs, branding and advertising, motion graphics and animation, packaging design gaming, illustration and many numerous forms of designs daily.
Graphic designs especially in the tech ecosystem are mostly concerned with presenting and displaying new and improved ideas in ways that make them attractive and innovative in the eyes of users and the companies involved. Many tech companies invest just as much manpower in their graphic team as they do in others. This is because they are targeting getting a good and qualitative branding outlook, and a solid user interface and experience resulting from good reviews from their users.
Once upon a time, the graphic design business wasn’t as flourishing as it is today and that is why, we are providing a guide on how you can become a graphic designer in today’s world.
What skills do you need to be a Graphic Designer?
Becoming an excellent graphic designer requires both formal education and on-the-job experience. Most of the graphic designers I’ve met in person have either a Diploma in Computer Science or a Bachelor’s Degree in the same discipline. However, for those who are not exposed to the formal setting, you can be self-taught through an array of online courses and inclusive boot camps.
To be a Graphic Designer, here are the skills and tools that you need:
- a strong understanding of design tools such as Photoshop, Canva, Figma, Sketch, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe, and After Effects.
- a pen and paper, knowledge of sketching, a computer and preferably a camera.
- strong communication skills.
- ability to work closely with other people within and outside the ecosystem to create a functional and user-friendly environment and projects.
- ability to explain ideas clearly and concisely.
- ability to work independently and take initiative without any form of supervision.
- ability to properly troubleshoot multiple challenges.
- be able to balance every element around you.
How to become a graphic designer
There are no feasible outlines for becoming a graphic designer. Quite several designers are not-so-disclosing to their playbooks as how to become a graphic designer but here are five guidelines for becoming a graphic designer.
1. Dedicate an hourly target to designing
Discipline is the first rule to becoming a great person in life. You must discipline yourself while aspiring to become a designer in future. Dedicating a minimum of an hour a day can keep you at the top of your game. This should be done even on days when inspiration is hard to come by, just to produce exceptional results.
2. Compete healthily with other designers
Active participation in competitions is a good way to become a graphic designer. This way, you’re actively present with people around the same skill set, learning and interacting activities. With this, you’re building a network, and further exposing yourself to soft skills in leadership, mentoring, teamwork and communication.
3. Build a portfolio
A portfolio is very crucial for designers. It helps to demonstrate and expose a part of their skills to potential employers. Optimizing platforms like Behance, Dribble, and Coroflot to build portfolios is very important as it is a visual space for designers.
4. Keep learning
For graphic designers, the concept of learning never stops because it is important, especially in honing their skills. So, if possible, learn every day as there are new tools, software, technological ideas and many more. This would advance your knowledge of design ideas and innovations.
5. Join graphic design communities
Joining a community is a good step to becoming an excellent graphic designer because you need all the support to be proficient in your skills. People within your community can help you with relevant learning resources, update you with the latest industry trends and help you land career-accelerating opportunities.
Some of the graphic design communities [online and offline] to be a part of include Figma Africa, Adobe XD Community, Usable, Ctrl-g.co, Interaction Design Foundation, Dribble Meetups [for designers in Lagos].
Resources to learn graphic design
There are a lot of resources online for anyone who wants to learn graphic c=designs. Books, blogs, videos, courses, the list is endless. However, we curated a list of available resources for intending graphic artist:
- Gareth David Studio: With over 600 thousand subscribers and 300 plus videos, this channel provides designers with insights on how to bring imaginations to life using Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects as well as providing them with creative software courses.
- Satori Graphics: This channel provides comprehensive graphic design tutorials; having them as tools to make young designers successful.
- GCFLearnFree: The GCFLearnFree channel is an educational channel that helps millions of people with tutorials that’d help them live and work in the 21st century.
- Graphic Island: For graphic designers, Graphic Island provides learning for free from basic [entry-level] to advance.
- NewSchool: NewSchool offers a step-by-step guide towards how to become a graphic designer.
- Udemy: This site provides courses on designing which are beginner-friendly resources for anyone learning graphic design. It covers topics such as design theory, drawing, logo design and so on.
- Educations.com: Educations.com’s well-structured curriculum can take a total beginner level to a very confident level in graphic design. They are currently offering scholarships.
- Google UX Design Professional Course: The platform offers free UX design classes for 6 months to learn in-demand skills.
NOTE: There are many courses out there to pick from. The list isn’t limited to these.
- Logo Modernism (By Jens Muller): This book showcases 6,000 trademarks, examining how modernist attitudes and imperatives gave birth to corporate identity.
- Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (By Austin Kleon): Kleon provides an inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, highlighting 10 transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.
- Grid Systems in Graphic Design (By Josef Muller-Brockmann): Teaches designers how to master grid systems which are essential to successful graphic designs.
- Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team (By Alina Wheeler): Teaches readers about the need to educate individuals about the fundamentals of branding and branding identity.
As long as there would be different levels of creativity, the high demand for graphic designers would be on the increase and so, entering this journey of becoming a graphic designer would require a lot of patience, and exposure to resources available on the web and focus.