At the London Design Agency, we work with some of the best graphic designers in the business. We know that getting to the point where you can make a career of your creative talents is a long and difficult journey.
Here are ten amazing tips that will help you along the way…
1. Learn to master Adobe Photoshop
Yes, there are other design applications out there. However, Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful – not to mention versatile – tools of its type. Even if you favour another application, if you want to be a graphic designer, you need to know Photoshop inside and out. If you’re put onto a project team, the odds are that this will be the platform of choice. If you’re not intimately familiar with the program, you need to do something about it – follow YouTube tutorials, complete an online course, whatever it takes.
2. Get inspired through analysis
As a graphic designer, you will find yourself drawn towards a particularly impressive piece of work. It is not unusual for new designers to poach certain elements and incorporate them into their work. A better approach is to analyse any design that impresses you and to ask yourself why? What is it that draws the eye so well? Colour? Shape? Contrasts? By doing this, you develop effective techniques, while retain your own unique style.
3. Follow trends, but don’t be led by them
As a graphic designer, it’s important to be aware of trends – it’s one of the most exciting aspects of the job. You have to know what’s trending, if only to reassure your clients that you’re right for the job. As with our previous point, the key is adapting the trend to benefit your style, not adopting them to replace it.
4. Simplicity sells
As you develop as a graphic designer, you will learn all manner of techniques across a wide array of media. It’s only natural to want to show those skills off to potential clients: after all, what better way to show what you can do? The fact is, the strongest designs are often the simplest. A couple of techniques, executed flawlessly, is more impressive than throwing everything on the page.
5. Stay on message
As a graphic designer, you will be working to a brief. Your job is to achieve visual harmony between your design elements that all point towards the message your client wants to get across. Colours should complement one another, graphics should not distract from the text, your choice of font should reflect the content of the copy, and so on.
6. Stock media is your friend
Some graphic designers look down on stock media – be it photos, vector illustrations, clip art, templates, or more – and we really don’t understand why. They are easily sourced, allowing you to provide a quick turnaround. They can be manipulated to match your style and they prove highly cost-effective, which can often justify taking on smaller assignments.
7. Be your brand
Every graphic designer needs their own unique selling proposition (USP) if they hope to make it as a successful freelance. In short – what is it that you offer a client that is unique to you and your brand? It’s something to be considered early on, as your USP will play a key role in how you market yourself. While a USP can be difficult to identify, once you have it worked out, it is a powerful tool for brand recognition and marketing yourself.
8. Learn to communicate
If you’re going to be chasing clients, you need to develop both verbal and written communication skills. While tools like Grammarly and Hemingway can help you’re your writing, your verbal skills will only come with practice and confidence. Remember to be clear and concise in all your communications with a client. This engenders greater trust that trying to impress with jargon and technical knowhow.
9. Be organised
The stereotype of the creative person is that they are messy and disorganised. Even if that’s true, it’s a stereotype that you want to distance yourself from. Embrace organisation – invest in a job management app to keep track of your commissions, invoices, payments, and contracts. Use a diary – electronic or physical – to remind yourself when to touch base with clients. The more you get your admin under control, the more time you can spend doing what you love – graphic design!
10. Be a professional
Whether you’re working for an agency, scrabbling round for your first freelance commission, or comfortably settled as a self-employed graphic designer, be a professional at all times. Be polite, be punctual, and be prepared to listen. On the other hand, you are a professional graphic designer and your work has value. Decide in advance how low you will go in terms of payment and be prepared to walk away.
Becoming a graphic designer requires hard work and dedication. By following the ten tips listed above, you will set yourself on the right track.
If you have any queries about graphic design, or wish to arrange a consultation, call the London Design Agency on 0203 288 1048.