How to Shine in the Graphic Design Industry

Finding a job in the graphic design industry depends on your ability to outshine others also graduating with this type of degree. It’s not as easy as you might think. Having a degree and even graduating with honors is not enough. Here’s how to really shine so you get the job of your dreams in the graphic design industry:


When you make your class schedule, you’ll likely have a lot of leeway to take electives and choose from groups of classes. Try to use this freedom to tailor your education for the job you want when you graduate. Every applicant for that video game design job might have a bachelor’s degree, but if you’ve taking classes specific to video game design, you’ll be a strong candidate.

Depending on what you wish to focus your studies on and what level of education you pursue, typical classes may include:

  • Book design
  • Computer-assisted design
  • Digital media
  • Drawing
  • Photography
  • Typography

Once you’ve taken a few courses, you’ll begin practicing and applying what you’ve learned in the classroom to real life. If possible, apply for an internship through your school or university so you can experience first-hand what it’s like to work as a graphic designer. If your school does not offer a work experience program, check online or ask your academic advisor for advice. The more training you receive, the more marketable you’ll be to a broad range of employers.

Put Your Portfolio Online

Your portfolio is your opportunity to shine in the graphic arts industry, but when all you have is a physical copy, very few people are going to view it. Take steps to put it online instead. Creating a simple website isn’t difficult, and you can even find free options. Make sure you promote your portfolio by signing up for social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to network with others in your field. There are many helpful templates online to help you get started. Some are even free!

A few key things to remember when putting your portfolio online.

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Optimize your “About” page
  3. Show off your skills!
  4. Include samples of your work.

Again, it’s very important to provide instructions on how to contact you regarding work samples and contract jobs. Make sure our email and/or phone number is clearly posted.

Volunteer as a Graphic Artist

If you can’t find a job right after college, you might get stuck working in a position that’s unrelated to the graphic arts field. This might help your bank account, but it won’t really help your resume. However, volunteering in a graphic arts position can help you add to your resume until you find a full-time job. Find a charitable organization that could use help with their website, flyer creation, or other graphic work and volunteer your services. This helps you build your portfolio and might also make it possible for you to find a paid position with the organization in the future.

In addition to volunteering, you might consider starting a freelance career. Once your portfolio is online and your work is easily accessible, market yourself as a contract worker. Tell your friends, former employers, family members – anyone who might need graphic design services. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising so put yourself out there and see what happens!

Never Stop Learning

A bachelor’s degree is a great start, but you can also take other graphic design classes to enhance your skills and outshine others in the graphic arts industry. Whether it’s getting your master’s degree or simply taking some free online classes to improve or learn skills you don’t know, if you’re continuing investing time into your education, you’ll find it much easier to shine in the graphic arts field.

Make sure you stay on top of the latest technology in order to stay ahead of the competition. Design trends and techniques are constantly changing so be sure to follow the industry news.

List of Online Graphic Design Schools

Graphic designers are responsible for conveying messages through digital communication. They create graphic content for brochures, magazines, newspapers, packages, practically anything that can be printed or viewed on-screen. If you enjoy working on computers and have a good eye for color, animation, and Web design, pursuing a degree in graphic design might be an appropriate choice. You’ll learn the necessary skills and receive the right training to work in this creative and challenging industry. What’s more, you’ll learn cutting-edge digital imaging techniques that put you at the top of your field. Not only are graphic design classes available online, but in some cases you can earn your entire degree without any campus time required! Below are some online programs from accredited universities.

Full Sail University — Full Sail University offers several web and graphic design degrees including: a BS in Web Design degree teaching students concept, code, and how-to publish your own standards-based content for a variety of formats; a BS in Graphic Design teaches students to work within specific creative demands while producing high-end design work in a variety of different formats; an MFA in Media Design a curriculum that explores the tactical and collaborative planning behind design.

Art Institute — An AAS in Graphic Design from the Art Institute Online provides instruction on the skills and techniques of computer graphics, electronic imaging and production using scanners, digital cameras and computer-based hardware and graphic software essential to begin a career in the design field. The Art Institute also offers a BFA in Graphic Design for those students who want to enter the fast-evolving field of Multimedia and Web Design, and preps graduates for careers involving the Internet with a focus on marketing and design.

Click here to learn about more graphic design colleges.

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