To become a graphic design artist, you will need a graphic design degree. If you are artistic or are into computers and are in school now, you may find it quite easy to switch over so that you are taking the right courses you need to become a graphic designer. To do this job you will need to have both creativity and a strong sense of marketing. Many creative people are not enamored of business practices, so if you are a creative person, be honest with yourself about whether or not you think you would enjoy putting your talents to use in the business world.
A graphic designer is in fact vitally important to any business, whether they have a graphic designer department in house or whether they go to an outside agency. A graphic design artist’s job is to help a business stand out and differentiate itself in a positive way from its competition. A graphic design artist might be working on a full-fledged corporate marketing and advertising campaign or may simply be helping a business come up with a new or first logo; but the principle is always the same and the work is extremely important.
Whatever the size and complexity of the project the graphic design artist is doing for the business, the first mission is create a logo and/or other graphic symbols of the company that is describable. This is important because describable images and logos get talked about and remembered. Making a memorable graphic for a company is crucial to the success of your graphic design art and the company itself. It is also very important to make images that can be effective in black and white as well as in color. The colors you choose are very important, but your use of lines, space, etc. should be so effective that the graphics could be rendered or seen in black and white and still be memorable and describable. Also, your images should be scalable so they can be reproduced and circulated without losing any important elements.
If a graphic design artist career would interest you, then your most important asset for finding a job is your portfolio. In graphic design, a resume does not mean much compared to your portfolio. A great portfolio can open up many entry-level graphic design jobs to you, whereas if you have lots of experience but an unimpressive portfolio you will be hard pressed to find work. You will want to have at least half a dozen different pieces in your portfolio. These can be from school, from past jobs, and even from your own fantasies. Also, do not include just your finished work in your portfolio. Many prospective employers will want to see your rough sketches and notes because this shows your thought and conceptualizing processes, and this can be more important to some of them than the finished product.
When putting together your graphic design portfolio, show it to and discuss it with fellow designers, other students, teachers, and friends before you start sending it out or taking it around to different firms. This will help you know what is best to put into it and what you may want to take out of it. It will also be good practice for you to discuss your processes and ideas with prospective employers.
Once you have got your portfolio together, make it into a .PDF file and begin e-mailing it to firms you would like to work for. You will want to know something about every firm you e-mail your portfolio to, because if you get a job interview they will ask you why you are seeking employment with them, and this will be part of their evaluation of you. They want designers who fit the firm or corporate mission. Besides, you do not want to end up getting hired by a firm that you really do not like or fit in with. That might happen no matter what you do, but you do want to minimize the chances of that. Once you send out your portfolio, give the firm in question a few days and then give them a quick follow-up phone call just to see if they got it. An alternative to this approach is to submit your portfolio to staffing agencies and have them help you get hired.
Once you get a job interview, your appearance is important. Unlike with many other jobs, the graphic design artist should possibly not overdress. You may want to rethink wearing a suit and tie to your interview. Dress business-casual and be yourself in your choice of attire. For this job, the way you dress sends signals about your style and prospective employers will be considering it.
Offer to do a project for free or on a fee-only-upon-satisfactory-completion basis for a prospective employer, so that they can see how you behave and how your creative talents would be applied to their needs. Also, do not forget to cross-interview the prospective employer. Have them show you around their place so you get to see your possible work environment, ask them about hours, about lunch breaks, and so on.
Many entry-level graphic design jobs do not pay a lot of money, although you certainly will not starve to death with such a job either. The national average for annual pay in the United States for this job is $35,000. However, many senior graphic design artists are making twice that amount of money, so you can look forward to a bright future if you want to do this job for your career.