Web Site Design—The New Dream Career

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Most of us have at least a little creativity, but some have been able to channel this creativity into a lucrative career. Just ten years ago, most Americans had no idea what a .gif image was. Now, most of us know the magic of incorporating animated graphics into Web sites and electronic newsletters. Our words can do a jig across a screen, can appear letter by letter, or fade in and out to call attention to a particular page within our Web sites.

Graphic design for Web sites is the new avenue many are pursuing for their career choices. Interestingly enough, this field continues to enjoy a robust growth, despite the fact that other artistic avenues have seen declines in not only new talent, but demand from customers as well. Very few fields offer the sky’s-the-limit mentality as much as graphic design does. This might be because employers and clients welcome new ideas and are encouraged when these new ideas often come with color schemes (or sometimes the lack of color), designs, and other creative aspects they hadn’t considered. Often, we tend to get tunnel vision with the status quo, and we never consider ideas such as the stated and classic look of black and white when we’ve been conditioned to think in color for so long. Balancing familiar-brand recognition with a fresh,  design might be the niche that you’ve been looking for.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 25 percent of graphic artists are self-employed as freelancers while they continue their salaried positions elsewhere. Of those 25 percent, nearly all are preparing for a transition into a full-time career as freelancers. Projections suggest a steady increase of both available positions and artists to fill the demand. Job prospects are considered steady and reliable. If you’ve considered a position in graphic design, the ideal time to move forward is now. Though most employers and clients prefer at least a bachelor’s degree, many potential employers will consider those with an established history of designing logos and other design efforts within their chosen fields. If you’re the one who offers design tips to everyone else in your circle of friends and family, or if you’re the one who pushes the envelope and asks, ''What about these two colors?'' then graphic design might be the niche that you’ve been looking for.

Potential positions and job descriptions include those within a company’s marketing department as its creative consultant. Typically, a consultant will provide the visual aspect of a new marketing-promotion, such as contests, drawings, and advertisements associated with company news. A graphic designer might also work closely with a company’s public relations department, suggesting creative ways to advertise on myriad give-aways such as baseball caps, ink pens, golf towels, mouse pads, and ad slicks.

Another niche is new-brand creation for new companies. New companies who burst into the scene know the importance of getting their name and logo to the public. We’ve long since learned to not underestimate the power of brand recognition and advertising. Whether it’s a window design for a small-town clothing boutique or an international furniture company, there’s a definitive need for artistic clarity that can be streamlined and designed to bring results. Every new company strives for these very things.

Opportunities don’t stop with big advertising campaigns, though. Consider letterheads, both electronic and hard copy; there will forever be a need for letterheads. The same holds true for business cards. No business-minded person goes anywhere without a few business cards. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

But what if you’re looking for an entry-level position in graphic design and have no degree? Although it might be a bit more challenging than it would be for those who do have degrees, a solid portfolio will go a long way in proving your value to a potential employer. The operative is to approach an employer with the bases covered. You should not only present a perfected portfolio of your previous works, but should also prepare yourself as you would for any other position. Ensure you’re knowledgeable on the company’s history, its goals, and its needs. Prepare to answer questions on any number of subjects. Most importantly, be prepared to justify your presence and your contributions to the company. You must remain assertive and, as with any other interview, be your biggest fan. Find that fine line between remaining assertive and confident without becoming aggressive. Remember to remain proactive so that you won’t find yourself reacting to an awkward question that you weren’t prepared for. Remember you’re already at a slight disadvantage. And, if it’s possible to pursue a degree, you should really try to do so, either before approaching an employer, or mention your willingness to attend night classes to further your value to the company. The bottom line is if you’re creative and can take this creativity and channel it into a career, odds are you can easily become a force to be reckoned with in the graphic design sector.
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