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What is needed to become a graphic designer?


milanlockett

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Hello! I, myself, was asking the same question because I am a high schooler. I want to do graphic designing as a career. Is there anything that I need to be a professional graphic designer? Any advice is greatly appreciated because it is nearing the school year and I am starting to wonder on what I should do with my life. I don't want to work a normal 9 to 5 job as a cashier at my current job but I don't want to sit at home and do nothing. I am in desperate need of some advice. thank you!

 

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Hello! My name is Milan Lockett. I am a high schooler (a senior) who is wanting to do graphic designing as a career. My question for all of you all is "What do I need to be a graphic designer? What should I do to become one?" Any and every advice is welcome. It is nearing the end of the school and I don't know what I need to do to since this is post-high school we are talking about here. I don't want to work my 9 to 5 job as a cashier nor sit at home doing nothing. All of my friends are going to college while I'm still deciding. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Milan Lockett

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Have you taken any art electives? 

I'll caution you, you are entering the market at an extremely unstable era, due to the rapid advances in AI art. It's sad, but that's what you are competing with. A computer. That's not to say you can't succeed as a traditional artist, or even a graphic artist, but you have to be VERY good. 

I glanced at your profile, but as you have no Gigs yet, I cannot estimate your chances. Do you have an online profile? (Do NOT post a link here in the forums. If you really want a second opinion, you are welcome to DM me.) Have you ever done commission work before?

Concerning the 9-5 job, it's not a bad idea to work at least one year in a retail or food industry (especially through the holiday season). You'll gain extremely valuable customer service skills, as well as a valuable perspective of what it's like on the other side of the service counter. There's also (if you make an effort to learn in addition to the position) the basic lesson of logistics, scheduling and time management, business operation, and even some economics. 

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Any technical aspect can be learned. But that's not what matters most.

The most important thing you can have, by far, is taste. And that can't really be taught effectively, imo. You either have the eye or not. Anyone can learn how software works. Anyone can learn and follow a set of rules. But good taste? That's priceless.

And that's what will be hard to replicate with just computers. AI can do anything, but how can it decide what thing to do, or what to pick from the infinity of things it has done? That's where the value is. 

If you can look at anything and know "this looks good" and "this looks bad", and be right, you're already ahead of most. You don't even need to know anything design wise.

Edited by visualstudios
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30 minutes ago, visualstudios said:

If you can look at anything and know "this looks good" and "this looks bad", and be right, you're already ahead of most. You don't even need to know anything design wise.

I don't disagree, but I would argue an alternative phrasing is also correct:

"If you can look at anything and know "this looks good" and "this looks bad", and [know why], you're already ahead of most."

I've seen hundreds of aspiring artists who have amazing inking or coloring or shading skills, but don't understand underlying fundamentals like structure, proportions, perspective, vanishing points, and/or gravity. 

Picasso is a pretty well-known example of knowing the 'rules' first, before breaking them.

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17 minutes ago, imagination7413 said:

"If you can look at anything and know "this looks good" and "this looks bad", and [know why], you're already ahead of most."

Then you'll be ahead of almost everybody. Just knowing if its good or bad is already enough for "most" lol

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16 hours ago, imagination7413 said:

Picasso is a pretty well-known example of knowing the 'rules' first, before breaking them.

Yes, and Picasso is not just "better than most", Picasso is the go-to for "genius painter". You don't need to be Picasso to do very well for yourself. Hell, nobody can be Picasso, that's why he's Picasso lol

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1 hour ago, blake_ryder said:

Can you tell me what is the most important element of design that should never be ignored, regardless of the project's scope or purpose?

Nothing should come above the purpose. The function. Form should always follow function. 

As an example, I'm going to step away from graphic design and dip into engineering design. A bridge has one purpose: safely allow passage from point A to point B. If it fails this function, it fails it's purpose. This is why it is critical for designers to know the intent and know what they are doing.

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On 3/6/2023 at 3:10 PM, visualstudios said:

If you can look at anything and know "this looks good" and "this looks bad", and be right, you're already ahead of most.

I'll politely counter that argument with one word: Rothko.  Would you pay $2.5M for this?  Some dope did.

 

Rothko-Mark-Untitled1986.43.1591.jpg

Edited by newsmike
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23 minutes ago, newsmike said:

I'll politely counter that argument with one word: Rothko.  Would you pay $2.5M for this?  Some dope did.

Design and art are different - what I said applies to design, art is another animal entirely. Not to mention the art world is highly speculative in terms of valuation. Perfect money laundry vehicle, since value is inherently subjective!

Edited by visualstudios
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Not a counter argument, but I wouldn't say that looks bad. I certainly would never pay a crazy amount, but aesthetically, I actually kinda like it. Like a beach at sunset. I could see myself picking something like that up at a yard sale for $5, depending on how it's matted and framed. (Assuming nothing bigger than a 3'-4' canvas.) 

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20 minutes ago, imagination7413 said:

Not a counter argument, but I wouldn't say that looks bad. I certainly would never pay a crazy amount, but aesthetically, I actually kinda like it. Like a beach at sunset. I could see myself picking something like that up at a yard sale for $5, depending on how it's matted and framed. (Assuming nothing bigger than a 3'-4' canvas.) 

So you are saying it is only overpriced by $2,499,995. I tend to agree, as it would burn for heat the next time we blow up Nordstream.

Edited by newsmike
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  • 9 months later...
  • 3 months later...

If you love what you do, then you have to accept another fate and that is "room for improvement".

In this fast moving world, you have to be expert in recent trends. Otherwise, you position will be filled be filled by another expert. Take me for instance, I myself a student of accounting, I got myself a software engineer and web development diploma. Now, I'm an expert in website design. Now, I am learning more and more about graphic design. That does not mean that I do not love what I do. But to survive here, we have to adapt with the recent trends and enrich our knowledge.

Nothing goes to waste. Now, I can both design and develop websites, softwares. Also, with my accounting background and expertise, I can and did both design & develop accounting softwares as well.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/25/2023 at 1:39 PM, ilyas_designs0 said:

To be a graphic designer:

  1. Get educated in design.
  2. Learn design software.
  3. Gain experience.
  4. Create a portfolio.
  5. Keep learning new trends.

Passion for design is key! 😊

Thank you. vary nice design key.. 🥰

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