how to become a graphic designer
If you are a precise kind of creative person who enjoys working within the somewhat restrictive format of graphics. Then, why not consider becoming a graphic designer? In the exciting and competitive world of graphic design, you work for businesses across a wide range of industries. Your role is to design branding content for your clients. This means designing logos, packaging, letterhead templates, business cards, infographics, graphics for advertising and content for websites. There isn’t a fixed type of artist who will do well in this field. But your focus has to be on fulfilling the client brief, not on your own agenda as an artist. You create communicative symbols, text and powerful graphics to achieve the goals of your client. Furthermore, every decision matters in graphic design. The colours, the shapes, the chosen fonts, all work together to communicate messages about the brand.
Does taking a client brief, and using that to design the perfect graphic sound like a fun challenge to you? Then you could make an excellent graphic designer. In graphic design, the excitement comes when you focus your creativity to come up with original and engaging designs. All without losing sight of the brief. Can’t wait to get started? Then, keep reading and discover the practical steps behind your journey to success.

Step one: Choose a course

To learn the very specific skills of a graphic designer you will need to spend some time studying. Ideally, choose a graphic design course which will give you the best preparation for work in the field. Other art related degrees can work as well, as long as you have the freedom on the course to create graphic design related work. 

Step two: Prepare a portfolio

You will market yourself and your skills to potential clients with your portfolio. This means it is very important to prepare a strong portfolio which shows off your skills. Furthermore, choose a range of work which shows your versatility. Show how you can take different briefs and produce creative work in different styles.

Step three: Apply for your first job

Once you have completed your studies and portfolio, well done you! You are ready to take on the design world. You may find work in a large co-operation to start with or you may want to look for clients and start independently from the beginning. When applying for work don’t forget to tailor your resume, cover letter and portfolio examples for each application. Remember to highlight your qualifications, personal strengths and any relevant experience you have.

Step four: Gain experience

After finding your first job it is important to spend some time gaining experience. These real-world opportunities will prove essential to finding more work. Then, as you build a name for yourself you can command higher fees and more readily pick and choose work. As you work on new projects remember to keep your portfolio updated and fresh.

Step five: Consider a specialisation

There is currently a high demand for graphic designers across all industries. Particularly as the internet drives a branding boom amid the scramble to rise to the top. Besides, because the work covers such a wide range of industry there are many options to consider for specialisation.

Title Designer

In this specialisation, you focus on fonts in the context of the film industry. You work with the film director, producer and editors to design the title credits. This area of work is very focused, but there is room for creativity as the titles usually reflect the style of the feature itself.

Web Designer

As a web designer, you use your graphic design skills to create website layouts, online advertisement banners, thumbnails, and other visual communication elements for online use. This role requires very exacting attention to detail because you have a very short time to catch the attention of people browsing online.

Art Director

In this specialisation, you take a step back from doing the graphic design yourself, taking charge of a project and working with other creative people in the team. You generally work in the advertising industry and you play a role in choosing the layout, font, colour and material types for packaging. In your role, you work with the team to make sure the chosen styles and graphics are consistent and communicating the brand appropriately.

What does a Graphic Designer Do?

Graphic designers work in a wide range of industries for clients designing graphics for them. Your clients range from massive cooperation’s to government departments to small business owners. Any business, in any walk of life needs a graphic designer to develop a logo, letterheads, business cards, packaging, and so on. Working with your clients, you follow their brief to develop a look. This must visually express what they want to convey to their customers about their business. Usually, you work choosing colours, shapes, artwork, fonts and create a look for your client. You may create a standard manual for them, so they can ensure all the documents they use are consistent. To achieve all this, your client gives you a brief. Then, you develop a concept and ideas. Next, you pitch to your client. After receiving feedback, you make revisions perfecting things before you present again to the client.


  • Developing a design portfolio to market yourself
  • Interpreting briefs to produce work
  • Creating graphic designs
  • Adjusting designs after feedback
  • Liaising with clients throughout the process
  • Giving clients information about design trends

Skills for Success

Graphic design remains a popular and exciting field to work in. Your work life is usually a flurry of activity and amongst all the activity you use a range of skills. Firstly, you need creative and artistic skills. You need to have the ability to output creativity while working within a specific brief. This is not the same as doing paintings of anything you fancy. Importantly, you need to keep up-to-date with industry trends. Your finger must be on the pulse. Enjoying and being able to network is important because you will often gain contracts this way. The design process requires you communicate and present your ideas to your clients. Your clients will often not have your training so you need to convince them of the quality of your work. This takes some diplomacy, enthusiasm, and conviction.

Skills and attributes

  • Able to work alone, and as a team
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Confident presenting your ideas
  • Good at networking
  • Up-to-date with trends
  • Can work under pressure and with tight deadlines
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Creative, a passion for design and typography

What is a Graphic Designer Salary in Australia?

In Australia, Graphic Designers earn a median wage of $50,815 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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