The terms graphic design is actually a pretty general and broad term covering many industries and disciplines with a cross-over of many roles. Graphic designers are not found just in design studios, you’ll find them at media companies, print houses, advertising agencies and publishing companies amongst other workplaces aswell.
Within each industry you might find that the graphic designer carries out specific tasks such as art working, illustrating, layout or photo editing and whilst you might be a multitasking genius you need to try and focus your work on a particular field in order to get a job.
When I started out I could do video editing, 3d animation, graphic design, illustration and DVD authoring (that’s how old I am) and I was good at all of them. My problem was that my skillset was too broad and not specific enough for an employer or role.
It’s great to have the knowledge and ability to do everything but when you’re selling yourself to a client or employer you need to make it easy for them to choose you. You do this by focusing your work on niche areas and by all means you can express your talents for other disciplines but focus yourself on one as a specialty whatever the job role may be.
Cheat a little and be flexible. If necessary change your niche to suit the available position if employment is your priority.
The question now though is which field to focus on?
If you’re lucky enough to have studied a specific field of design or already know what field you want to go into then that’s great. If your design course was broad then you might not know what field to specialise in, in which case do the research and find a field that you’d like to work in.
Go beyond just picking a field, research a field, look into it and practice it to see if you would really like doing those tasks every day. In addition look at what types of companies are likely to hire a designer with a particular skillset.
The following is a list of roles, labels and industries that graphic designers work in. Check them out and see which one if any fits your bill.
- Art worker
- Traditional illustrator
- Concept character illustrator
- Photo editing
- Digital design
- Web Design
- Photo re-touching
- Retail Signage
- Identity Design
- Motion Graphics
- Interface Designer
- User Experience Designer
- Fashion Illustrator
- Book Cover Designer
The more you narrow down on a specific field or industry with your skillset, the better chance you have of getting a job. BUT WAIT!
We don’t want to narrow your options down too much as you are a budding designer with limited experience so pick 2-3 different roles or industries to give yourself some flexibility and creative freedom with your career and remember that your discipline won’t be set in stone forever.
Many a successful designer change disciplines or find that they are more successful in another role then the one they started out in so don’t worry about limiting yourself. This is purely your stepping stones to getting your first job.