How To Become a Graphic Designer in 2016

How To Become a Graphic Designer in 2016

– Hey everybody, this is Roberto Blake, of helping you create something awesome today. So today we’re gonna talk about how you become a graphic designer in 2016. Now I do this video every year as kind of a little refresh, and I like to talk about what’s changed in the
graphic design industry for a lot of us. I also like to address how
people can get started. What you need to learn to
become a graphic designer. What a graphic designer actually does, and what the expectations are for you in the marketplace when you work for a real world employer or client. There are some people who
would make the argument that graphic design never
really changes and that remains tried and true throughout the years, and I completely disagree with that. I disagree with it
because the expectations in the job market, the level of competition, and the standards and best practices are constantly evolving, because the expectations of consumers that we’re helping facilitate
the sales and marketing to are changing. People are using smartphones more, people are using social media more to decide how they’re gonna buy their products and services. So, as designers, the roles that we have when we apply for a job
have dramatically shifted. There are a lot more employers now that want you to be aware of how to develop graphics for social media. Many of them also want you to have at least general knowledge of HTML, web design, and WordPress. And that’s because these are the platforms that they’re using to do
the visual storytelling that we’re presenting to them and that we’re being paid for. If you went back 15, 20 years ago, that wouldn’t have mattered at all and it didn’t exist, and there still would have
been emphasis on print, digital print production, out-of-home advertising, and doing layouts and things for ads that would be shown in a newspaper, because that’s how people
were selling things and marketing them back then, but now most people don’t
really buy a newspaper, and if they do, they don’t
really bother with the ads or make a buying decision. Most people are not clipping
those coupons anymore, they’re getting them online, in their email, they’re getting them on social media directly. So these realities matter,
and they really change the landscape of graphic design, and what we have to do and
what we have to offer people in order to be competitive now. Learning graphic design has also changed. Graphic design is now more accessible to more people than it’s ever been. Between the software
being more affordable, in terms of what’s
available from either Adobe or Corel, or anyone else, it’s never been a more practical time to get into graphic design or web design. You used to pay hundreds
upon hundreds of dollars sometimes thousands of dollars up front for software, but now
there’s some cheaper options, and they’re just as good, if not better than solutions that cost that
much years and years ago. There are also rental models for software, some people may or may
not agree with that, and we’ll cover that in
a whole different video, but, like I said, it’s
never been more practical and affordable to become a designer, between the cost of software and hardware, but also from the cost of the education. Today there’s so much
access to learning about graphic design from true professionals and people who have been
educated in the marketplace, and people who are practitioners today. The cost of going to school
is probably more expensive, and honestly probably overpriced
more than it’s ever been, but there are options to get people into those college courses and programs. I actually did go to a college program to initially learn graphic design, but to be honest, even
with what the internet was when I got started back in,
you know, the early 2000s, I still learned quite a bit on my own, and quite a bit online. And I was very prepared, both from an application standpoint and
from a principles standpoint, when I got to college. And in some cases, I was ahead
of many of my classmates. With regard to HTML and web design, I was actually ahead of
my college professors. And today, that’s something
that’s still not very uncommon to hear from
people who are students and even people who are practitioners, that self-education is something
that they’re able to do very effectively and you
could go online right now and if you need structure,
because you can’t learn and discipline on your own
and reverse engineer things, you could go to,
which is an affordable paid website, you can go
to Udemy, and Skillshare, and there are paid and free programs, there’s CreativeLive,
there’s so many options, not even limited to YouTube
and free content there. Both free and paid, you
can get so much value from real world practitioners
who are actively in the marketplace and
can give you information that would have been
amazing ten years ago, but boy does it really matter
today in the world we live in. So, I think you should
really take advantage of that if you’re someone who’s trying
to become a graphic designer. Explore how far you
really can get on your own before you decide to commit and make a higher paid investment. That’s something that I
would definitely advise. Regarding software, there are
also a lot of free options available, and those
free options are better than they’ve ever been before, and there’s just so much that is accessible and affordable
now because of technology. Whether it’s learning this stuff, or whether it”s actually
buying the resources and tools that you would need. Today, to buy a computer, whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, that
you can do design work on, is not nearly as expensive
as it used to be. If you want to work on a
Mac, you can still do this under $500 today, because
you can buy it used, if you want to use a PC
that’s much more acceptable than it would have been in the past. So, it is still something that most people could really look at doing, and I think it’s easier
than it’s ever been to work in this profession. That’s not to say that
it’s easier to get hired, to find a job, to find stable employment. I think it’s easier to become
a practitioner of design than it’s ever been before. With regard to the job market, a lot of it is gonna come
down to your portfolio, the skills that you bring to the table, and I think a lot of
people are underestimating how much your personality, who you are, and also your presentation skills, all those things actually
factor a lot more into the hiring decisions than many people will give credit to, and I
think that that’s a mistake. The portfolio definitely
matters, your work will no longer speak for itself, people do
care about the time and money they invest in other human beings, and so you just may not be a good fit for the company or the culture. You might be someone who would be better suited somewhere
else, and that’s OK. You might actually be
someone who’s better suited to freelancing, and the
freelance economy is growing day by day, and there
are more small businesses that are finding that
if they wanted to employ a graphic designer, they would sit around twiddling their thumbs,
or they would have to flow busy work to them
that has nothing to do with graphic design, which
would make many of them unhappy, and that it’s just more
pragmatic for business owners sometimes to hire a freelancer. And today, going into
business for yourself is actually something
that can work for you and it is something that people respect more than they used to, and there are a lot of great
ways that you can explore this, and that you can win at
it and be successful. Graphic designers are finding themselves in an interesting position today. They’re expected to have some
knowledge of social media. They are expected to
facilitate sales and marketing through their graphic design work. And, they still have to be
creative visual artists. That last part is being
disproportionately weighed by designers, against the rest of it. Versus, for the people
writing the paychecks, they actually value those
things relatively equally, and it does matter. If you’re someone who thinks
that being a graphic designer means that you will get to
be creative all the time, explore your ideas, this is
going to be very hard for you, because you are not
realizing that you are there to facilitate a business’
objectives and goals, and that your artwork and your
creativity is only relevant as long as it helps the
business make money. And, with that in mind, often early in your career, you will be somebody’s pair of hands. You will be executing
on their creative vision and on their ideas, not your own. So, I would encourage
you to really explore what it means to be a
practitioner in this career field, and what type of company
you’re gonna look to work with. Really vet those
companies, do your research and your background. Find out everything you can
about the corporate culture, ask somebody who used to work that job what the real experience was like, what their role was, what
they actually had to do, who they worked with as a manager and what the experience of that was like, because it will make a
difference as to whether you decide that this
career is for you or not. There may be some real things
that you’re not prepared to deal with in terms of
your artistic integrity, or from an emotional state that might be a hindrance
to you in your career. I don’t say that to be discouraging, I say that to prepare you to understand what the reality of the
marketplace really looks like. If you’re someone for whom
that would be an issue, it might be better for
you to do graphic design as a freelance career, and
you know that can be OK too, because you’ll have more
control over the work and over who you are interacting with, and that could really matter for you from a sense of artistic integrity, or for your mental and emotional health. I feel that this is a great
time to be a graphic designer. I think that this is one of the best ages for creative professionals of all kinds, and I think that there’s so
much that is more practical now more accessible, more affordable than there’s ever been. And I am one of the people who
is really excited about that. There are so many people that
are afraid of the competition, and afraid of market saturation. I feel that there’s more than enough work for everybody to be successful,
create awesome things, and share them with the world. But anyway, I hope this video helped you. If you still have questions
about beginning your journey as a graphic designer, let me
know in the comments section. Go ahead and send me your questions, I’ll try and answer them as best as I can. Remember (inaudible) a hundred videos on this YouTube channel specifically to help graphic designers whether they’re new,
whether they’re experienced, whether they’re in house,
freelance, or at an agency. So make sure you’re
checking those out here. Links to the playlist will
be in the description. And I usually put those
videos out on Mondays. Anyway, like this video if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe,
check out the other awesome content on the channel. And as always you guys, thanks so very much for watching, and don’t forget, create
something awesome today.

100 thoughts on “How To Become a Graphic Designer in 2016

  1. I was talking with someone earlier last week and one of the points we discussed was the fact that most of our knowledge base was in fact, self-taught. I went to college for it, but I have a hard time really advising people to go since I feel like the majority of my learning has been self-taught and just from experiencing projects with clients.

  2. hi!
    I'm a complete newbie to graphic design and I really want to start it now, but I don't know where and how to begin with
    I would find it useful when you list up the programs/software that you use and what clients graphic designers have (something like a target character)


  3. Roberto, these videos save lives. So helpful, man. I'll follow as much of your advice as I can going forward towards becoming a Graphic/Web Designer. Thanks a lot

  4. Freelance graphic Designer portfolio example
    Graphic Designer portfolio example

    What makes them Different are they different?

  5. Where do I start if I want to do graphic design on my own without school? Like what books do I need to buy and what's a good, but reasonably priced, software? I'm the type who gets too mush tutorials and applications and wind up getting lost in it all instead of sticking with just the resources I need to follow through with my goal.

  6. thank you so much i was always interested in design and art stuff, thank you for giving 'advices' for graphic design, i dont know how to say it but thank you 🙂

  7. Hello, I'm a junior designer. I got my first job as a graphic and web designer for a company. What advice can you give me for a junior working print + web in a company?
    -Thank you

  8. Thank for the 2016 tips! And I find that through social media and depending on what content I put out there…I'm slowing gaining a list of clients vs. my online portfolio.

  9. Thank you Roberto, I really enjoy you videos.
    Also the amount of resources you give in the links is mind blowing!

  10. Great advice on starting a design career. When it comes finding work, how do you get yourself into the door without a degree. Most of the jobs I saw on job search engines usually have a degree requirement required. And there is also jobs in my area that seem like they just hire college intern? And if I only so far have 9 great works can I still start applying for work?

  11. Im a self-taught graphic designer too and I really do appreciate videos like this, once again very insightful, Keep it up bro!!

  12. Great post Roberto. I am a web / graphic design studio owner and so many of your suggestions are on point. Keep up the great work – new subscriber and sticking around.

  13. I have been wanting to hone in on my skills with graphic design and get more into it. DO you have videos on what software I need to get started?

  14. I'm studying multimedia design, which includes graphic design as well. I'd say I'm doing self-learning and learning way more than there just by myself.
    I feel like I'm wasting time in a college. : -(

    I'm a 3D / 2D artist with pretty nice portfolio now, always learning from the internet. IMHO that's the way to go.

  15. Good points. Many learners and aspiring designers do not appreciate the importance of attention to detail in all areas of design. Creativity is important, but if there are typos or low res images, broken links or lack of a coherent grid, it is of no use to anyone.

  16. I got so excited to see my comment in the video I almost broke something, lol. Another great vid, Roberto. Definitely helping me tremendously along my design journey. Thanks sir for your tireless efforts to provide awesomely valuable content. Any advice for making positive connections at co-working spaces and other face to face networking events?

  17. Hey, just wondering how influential you think grades are be compared to other aspects. e.g. would a general employer simply look at the quality of the folio and how effectively you can communicate? Thanks

  18. Can I work in the video games industry with a graphic design degree? Like, being the concept artist for something.

  19. So like your positive perspective while keeping it real. I really appreciate all the current information you share…learning so much! Thank You!

  20. Thanks a lot for this video i just wanted to know is it too late to be a graphic designer in late 30's as a career?

  21. I'm about to go to college and there is a major for web design and it sounds interesting but is it difficult to take

  22. I know now just a graphic design major is enough, but what else can I join it with? Maybe business or marketing?

  23. Hi RB! My name is ivan. I am an electrical engineer and after 5 years of practicing my profession, i came to a conclusion that this career is not for me. So i took time of self reflection and realized what i am truly interested and passionate about. I've always loved art, I was in the school publication in college, i was the editor in chief, and I enjoy making posters and coming up with fresh ideas. But now, i am finding it hard to shift industry. Nobody would want to employ someone without prior "professional" experience. what advice can you give me and the rest who are dealing with the same situation?

  24. Hello Roberto, I just found your channel and it's really helpful. I'm new to Graphic Design and I'm struggling in designing an education ebook. Do you have videos about how ti design a great ebook layout ?

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed your video! I'm really impressed on you're communication and articulation with the points you've made! Great stuff. Thank you. I have the skills, I just need the portfolio presentable to employers and to get out there and apply. I'm sure you have a video on portfolio?

    I have a bunch of obstacles I face everyday trying to get work done. Friends, family, money. Money's a big one. I'm looking to improve that.

  26. thank you so much for your videos! I'm a first year Graphic Design major and they've helped me so much.

  27. I love graphic design and it's something i really want to get into. I need a recommended site or tutorial books i can work with to get me started from basics. Thanks.

  28. hye. i found your video are very interesting. im from Malaysia. Im grad with graphic design course and design was my passion. Every day i will come out with new design… BUT… since 4 years back, i work at newspaper company and do designing newspaper layout. you know, newspapers layout mostly just square square shape, boring and after few years doing the same thing, i found that my way of creative thinking are already fade. i cannot even think to a creative idea instead of just simple idea. its my problem right now. do you have any suggestion to always come with creative idea.?

  29. I'm in 8th grade, (I know I'm "too young" to be concerned about adult hood). My art teacher taught us about graphic design, the elements and principles of art. I would love to be a graphic design artist some day.

  30. +Roberto Blake
    I'm just watching your video for the first time. It really speaks to me as a beginning hopeful in the graphic design industry. My situation now is that I have re-discovered my passion for Graphic Design and want to get into the animation side. My current track for school starting this fall will be Electronic Technology, but I'm thinking of switching to Graphic Design Technology. I'm not sure whether I want to switch over to that major or stick to what I'm with now and practice my art technical skills independently. I know the job market is very competitive and mainly in major growing populations. Could you give me a last bit of suggestion on this?

  31. Hello, I was wondering if there is a course online I could take that will teach me how to put a portfolio together in graphic design? I a real beginner, sorry to keep asking about this… I can not follow your videos because some techniques are very advance for me. Thank you.

  32. that last part – " There's more than enough work for everyone to be successful,create awesome things, and share it with the world."

    very reassuring words from a pro Rob.

  33. You got the spirit of inspiring individuals bro. I would really want to be a graphic designer since i heard it from you.

  34. Biggest issue with people is that they expect to only do this for 1-2 maybe 3 years just doing web design alone and expect to be doing this as a full time job making 60k a year.. When that's not the case.. Especially if you're just starting… Being able to design and program a site even if you can only do small bits of programming helps a lot. Providing Hosting services for the people you do the design/development for, etc, Goes a long way…. With just doing web Designs alone will not make enough to support ones self unless you're doing it through a company… but if you're trying to being your own boss working from home independent.. People need to realize they need to branch out.

  35. hello sir.. i want to ask something….i use gimp and i don't have knowledge about photoshop..can i be a Graphic Designer too..sorry for my english..

  36. Hello Mr. Blake,

    I am looking to design a 9 by 12 post card to display local business ads. How can I design a card?

  37. Funny fact that illustrates the importance of selling yourself today:

    When I got out of school for Drafting design I was up for the same job as the best student in the class; I was easily the worst in the class… I technically should have failed but I got my diploma still somehow?? Who got the job? Me. Because I'm good at interviews and he's not.


  38. hello blake. I want to start my carrier as a designer. but I dnt knw where to start. I seen the video and that really inspire me. can u pls help? thank u….

  39. Thanks for the info! I would love to know if there is some sort of checklist of all of the things / programs/ stuff I need to do in order to get started as a Graphic Designer. I am a multi talented artist and would like to do more from home.

  40. Is this profession good for rational person who likes stability and meticulous work? Actually I do traditional painting but I don't think creativity is my strength when compared to most artists.

  41. what advice can you give for my son. freshmen at depaul and is finding out they are not giving the scholarship he thought he received but coder game designer and straight a graduate….

  42. thank u so much im gonna start my studies for it starting next month and thanks to your video it really gave me a good start so thank you

  43. I am wanting to get into Graphic Design and have recently purchased Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC. I've been doing some freelancing for friend's businesses. I've done some Facebook advertising and a few business cards, but I really don't have the time or money to go to college. However, I'm a quick study and most of this stuff I can teach myself at home. Do you think it would be practical to try and get into a business that does Graphic Design without a formal college education?

  44. I would love to chase my dream to become a self taught graphic designer..Will be challenging but I feel excited at the same time to start my creative journey! This is the first time I am watching your vid and I love it already! Keep it up!

  45. What are some of the websites for classes you mentioned? There is one that you mention and I'm not sure if you are saying Linda or Linden, apologies. I have done a free class through udacity on design, but intro to design, no emphasis on graphic design. I am an artist, specifically illustration and photography. I did a bit of web dev and page design in my past, back when i was working for my university. My knowledge in Ps and Ai is slightly above basic, but my issue is that I don't have a lot of time and self discipline is a big issue with my personality. I definitely need a course or something to keep me in check, your help is very appreciated! thanks.

  46. Thank you for this video, its given me the confidence to go forward and begin my journey into graphic design, thanks again

  47. Hey Roberto, love the videos. What type of computer would you recommend for work in graphic and web design? In terms of using a Mac or PC.

  48. I am presently taking an online class in photography I need to learn graphic design how can you help me to become graphic designer?

  49. This video was DOPE ASF. VERY INSIGHTFUL and informative, I took graphic design for, 4 years in high school and strongly agree with most of the points you made in this video. I have a lot of free time now and want to get back into graphic design but I think I want to freelance so I'm trying to "re-learn the fundamentals" right now before I start, b/c I know freelance can be overwhelming to a certain degree, if you're not ready. It was dope hearing you say how you think we are living in a "golden age" of graphic design. So you DEFINITELY just gained a subscriber. Lookin' forward to more of your videos bro. Keep up the great work.

  50. How much it takes of time till I can be somehow someone who can design a logo or creative designs in general ? Or even motion graphic ? I need to know do you think 2 hours daily till 1 year is enough to reach this level ?

  51. i wish and want to pursue a career in Marketing and doing graphic work so just wanted to find out which path should i follow

  52. Are there online courses or scholarships for 25+ yo graphic designers that have experience, but not formal education and skills that graphic design students have? What are your suggestions for designers who have lost many years studying sciences that have no connections with graphic designer, but are self-taught and had to start making some small amount of money in graphic design, because they can not find job in their field of study?

  53. Such a great video, information, and real-world application with options! Bravo for bringing Graphic Design to a place of collaboration, rather than competition. I cannot wait to check out all your other videos!!! Thank you so much!!!

  54. I'm in need of your advice! I'm 27, I have a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree from SAIC, however, before I graduated, I accepted a generous job offer to work at a medical reinsurance agency. I wanted to save some cash and continue school with my earnings later in 2 or so years… unfortunately, 5 years later, I'm still working for this health insurance agency and I hate it! I need and want a career change and I have my eyes set on graphic design. I'm worried that it's too late to start learning now I've been out of school for so long 🙁 do potential employers or clients look at how long I've been out of school when presenting a portfolio?

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