A Guide to Become a Competitive Graphic Designer

A graphic designer is a professional who designs and creates various types of graphics to be published via printing or electronic media. A prospective graphic style artist must have an eye for art and creativity in first place. In addition to the talent, a graphic style artist should possess acceptable educational qualifications and training certificates in the area to be competitive.

The main pathways to become a graphic designer are through a training course or by self study and practice. Almost all the computing schools and universities offer degrees, diplomas and certificates on graphic outlining. There are programs in multimedia, graphic design, advertising, animation, web development, 3D animation, Interface outline and so on. Nowadays, most graphic artists have a bachelor’s degree, commonly in graphic draft or fine arts. A degree cannot exhibit a designer’s artistic skills but it is considered essential to have some paper qualifications to gain competitive advantage in the job market.

Or else an interesting person can follow short-term training courses which are available in training institutes. A student can specialize in various graphic outlining software packages by following these short-term courses. As well as the knowledge of creating concepts, a graphic creator should show some proficiency in one or more graphic design software tools to fit the industry demand. The most widely used software in the graphic design industry is Adobe Creative Suite. It includes the well-known designers’ tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver etc. It is very much important for a graphic drafter to be conversant with those software tools either by taking a course or by just playing around with them. For a web graphic designer, it is further beneficial to learn at least the basics of some programming languages like HTML, CSS and Jscript. Except for these widely known technologies, it is important for graphic creators to be observant about the new software tools and latest trends arise in the field.

There’s a set of soft skills usually seek by the graphic model recruiters.

Those are:

• Good design sense
• Fresh and unique ideas

Good communication skills and interactions

• Client-service oriented

Stress handling and meeting deadlines

• Attention to details
• Good vocabulary
• Good at catching errors

All together with these talents, skills and education, a graphic creator must gain some good experience to go a long way. Similar to many other careers, establishing a strong career as a graphic stylist cannot be achieved overnight. Once the stylist is in the track, he should gradually build up a portfolio. A portfolio is an initial way to demonstrate his talents and capabilities to the clients or employers.

The other important practice for a good graphic stylist is to develop his own style. A professional graphic stylist should gain enough knowledge and experience to come up with his own exclusivity. A graphic designer should always follow a certain unique style to become an outstanding professional. If the others can identify the creator just by seeing his designs, it’s going to get him so much of reputation.

In conclusion, an eye for art, a good educational background, familiarity with design tools, soft skills and uniqueness together make a competitive graphic creator.

Impacts of Graphic Design Development on Teaching Graphic Design in the Arab World

I don’t firmly believe that the Arabic library contains sufficient books dealing analytically with Graphic Design that could support the Arabic universities, with specialized art academies, and could be utilized as special curriculum within the teaching plans of these academies. The Arabic library is condensed with other artistic methodological books in addition to some translated books which discuss the basics of design, advertisement, and other topics that fall within the framework of advertisement.

The fact is that there is a short understanding of the comprehensive concept of Graphic Design. This concept is not sufficiently represented by advertisement and publicity or printing design because such specialization per se received little attention before the advent of computer to the Arab World and the return of unspecialized cadres living in the European countries and USA, who brought with them the sophisticated technology and transferred it to us without defining its actual identity, academically and vocationally.

With the start of teaching this specialization, dependence in determining the study plan was basically on the academic staff entrusted to teach such specialization. Some were distant from the roots of this specialization and others considered that any person with a specialization in art or architecture can play the role of planner. But, after a careful review of the total study plans in most Arabic universities, we realized how unbalanced and, sometimes, insufficient such attempts were; they have no identified identity; half of them were fine arts and the others tackled one part of Graphic Design but of no grass root.

Any method for teaching Graphic Design has to bear in its priorities the promotion of creativity factor and concentrate on the techniques and demonstration methods and their correlation with skill to enable the student of this specialization to benefit from this study- this should also include, but not limited to, studying related knowledge such as Graphic Design history and its theories to allow the students to apply what they learn to develop their own means of creativity and invention.

It is necessary to take into consideration the needs of new students in Graphic Design and students who are expected to graduate by defining a systematic plan capable of gradually refining design students to enable them to acquire expertise and techniques.

First levels students need to be introduced to Graphic Design history, manual skills, and design principles and techniques through the computer in order to develop their capabilities in designing and creating advertisement campaigns or integrated projects that include logos, posters, Internet homepages and other materials, any graphic designer will need.

High level students need to be introduced to the approaches that can develop their technical and intellectual skills as well as develop the innovation status through carrying out series of integral projects in presenting their works entirely and collectively. These approaches should be able to grant student enough space of positions sets they can apply for through a group of specialties that fall under the umbrella of Graphic Design. All of this will not be materialized without provision of studios and labs qualified to perform the role required in addition to cadres qualified technically and knowledgeably to realize the goals of Graphic Design. Graphic Design syllabus relies, in its execution, on the practical principle as well as on the theoretical one. Further, it mentally qualifies and trains the student to face the changes and the techniques of time as well as empowers him to deal with what is to come as the extract of developed fields of knowledge related to Graphic Design taking into consideration the necessity of linking it with the classical approach that is linked with cadres that need to be qualified in order to be able to keep pace with the latest techniques of information and knowledge.

As a fact, when we talk about Graphic Design, we should pay considerable attention to widening the base of Graphic Design that exceeds the limits of typing which is the result of its development and to reach various resources of visual communication, as television, computers and internet which enable us to get better view of the resources made by other people in different parts of the world. This will definitely help us to be more creative, innovative, and more able analyze and assess, and, that of course, requires a good deal of curiosity which can be enhanced and triggered by the size of acquired information in form and substance.

Methods of teaching can rely on multiple factors, such as increasing the need and curiosity of the student to learn, expand his knowledge, self- confidence and be more self-motivated in order to overcome what is new through applying intellectual practices, keeping pace with science and utilizing it to trigger his imagination and increase his meditation and search for new mechanisms and methods of work. Therefore, triggering the challenges in a student is inevitable; this can be supported with mechanisms that enable him to find solutions to problems he may encounter through the use of special techniques and knowledge pertaining to his specialization. However, this will not be enough to enable the student to use his manual skills, design programs and its techniques, if he is not qualified to know when and how to handle an idea and when it is able to realize to target.

From the above mentioned, any academic approach we think of as a base to be used to teach graphic design should take the following into consideration:

1- Implementing Graphic Design education in professional practice.
2- Development of different Graphic Design media due to their direct correlation with technology.
3- Design and critic theories.
4- Importance of designer’s material cognition.
5- Designer’s language and its theory as well as his ability to talk.
6- Designer’s decent visual eloquence.
7- Designer’s education in art, design sciences, society, literature, technology, sciences and industry.
8- Knowledge of the theories of communication and transfer of information.
9- Management of programming, computer science and the science of management and marketing.

The focus should be directed towards the personal design of each student and toward the various methods that boost his design abilities beyond the single design problem as well as toward successful and appropriate self motivating and development. Further, critical thinking practices and search and development of concepts and contents of analysis, editing and technical execution need to be developed through going over the special skills expected in designing all Graphic Design media as they are considered unique communication media.

– How can we contribute to Graphic Design development?

Before answering this question, it is necessary to emphasize the important role of the teaching curriculum or the teaching plan, the size of information presented through it, the methods and means approved to apply it, its resources, its relationship with information revolution that shorten time and distance as well as the positive and negative role of this revolution through emphasizing the methods of teaching the curriculum that depend on integral expertise, the purpose of which is knowledge and refining it.

We should emphasize the necessity of matching Graphic Design teaching plan and its coherence with time and its development, its relationship with the latest audio-visual technologies in addition to the information management, which forms the basis of the designer role through the ability of graphic design teaching curriculum and its philosophy to comprehend the challenges of time (the time of information and technology) so as to enable the student to comprehend time product with its information in an effective way and to be active in developing his portrayal impression of information in order to direct it in a form harmonious with the language of time.
This needs a set of books that focus on the following topics:

History of Graphic Design:

This book should present a survey of the main events and accomplishments that led to the evolution and development of Graphic Design so as the student can track the ceaseless search to clarify the ideas beginning with (pictograph), the symbolic picture drawn on the walls of caves, and ending with the latest of graphic designs. Suck knowledge will help the students to be acquainted with cases of innovation and innovators in addition to knowing the depth of technology that formed communication media revolution in Graphic Design.

Graphic Design fundamentals and factors.

These books should present the definition and analysis and comparison of all design fundamentals and factors. They should emphasize design fundamentals and factors with regard to forming and their manual skills through the use of technical tools and methods, the ways, procedures and presenting the work of Graphic Design in a professional way so as to identify the ways of creating high quality works that persist through Graphic Design programs for each later specialized course.

Programs of publishing and design

Such books should present the definition and analysis of all programs specialized in design and editing which the designer will has to use to acquire the required skills to be used in other courses that would assist him when entering the world of contemporary markets. An indication should be made not only to its tools and uses but also to its software infrastructure. Among these programs:

Adobe PHOTOSHOP
Adobe ILLUSTRATOR
Corel DRAW
Desktop of PUBLISHER
Quark Xpress
Front PAGE
Macromedia Flash

Printing: Techniques, origin and development

Such books should present define and analyze the development stages of printing, its approaches and technologies as well as defining the designer with the post-stages of printing and pre-printing and special design characteristics for each printing style such as the offset, silk, rotogravure and others. Further, these books should tackle the history of printing letters, their technical and aesthetic uses as well as solving presentation and text style problems.

Graphic Design concept:

Such books should present innovative strategies for design-related problems and issues. They should focus on: Establishing firmly effective design, boosting and reinforcing knowledge and skills of Graphic Designin order to present projects’ management. Such books should also provide methods to master the skills of analyzing researches and design processes which lead to innovative structuring and design final solutions with developed decisions that reflect a high level of expertise, study and accomplishment too.

Electronic multi media

These books should define and analyze all specialized programs used in training graphic designers in developing interface inputs related to electronic Graphic Designfor electronic communication means. The target of this course is to focus on interaction packages of the laser discs in order to find solutions to design styles special for books, electronic magazines, interactive information, education sequence, presentation, interactive television and the increasing goodwill of services special for the internet and interface inputs of desktops. Furthermore, the books should provide students with new software and technical information that qualify them to work on linking chains in the Internet, critical locations and how to manage sites on the internet as well as how to design their pages.

Defining types and tasks of Graphic Design means

These books should define and analyze Graphic Designmedia, their promotional and the commercial tasks in particular. They should emphasize the research and study of the extent of response and invitation of media which all come under new letters, brochures, guides, catalogs, flyers, newspapers, magazines, posters, signs, ads., calendar and other media. All of these come together through the form of solution and determining the identity of the targeted audience to fulfill the goal and the use of the piece of information in order to determine the form of the printed material or the medium.

Photography

Such book(s) should define what photography, normal and digital, means, its history, stages of development and tools in addition to its importance in related to Graphic Design. It should tackle the methods of photography serving Graphic Designand how to apply them inside or outside the studios. Moreover, the book should demonstrate the theoretical and practical concepts of the methods of commercial and industrial photography.

Marketing

This book(s) should define and analyze marketing tools related to Graphic Design which will help the student to develop his ability to distinguish between long term and a short term designs, and the different forms of communication means. In Addition, such book(s) should train the student in the principles of team work and group effort in tailoring campaigns, and introducing innovative marketing ideas in cooperation with the text writers, executive manager and other main players. Identifying the requirements of the market in terms of promotion and marketing a product will include all stages of planning, marketing research and final implementation. All these require the student to identify the goals, purposes, problems, chances, the targeted audience, the innovative strategy, competition, mass media strategy and the communication means to be used.
It is not surprising that the sources of books are international 100% due to the absence of Arabic books specialized in Graphic Design.The fact is that the roots of this specialty are European and the technology and techniques utilized are also international.

The goals of innovative work combined with designer’s competency and qualification are the basis on which planning strategy depend to prepare study plans that motivate and activate creative thinking and relate it to information technology relying on the different levels of human knowledge and scientific programs supporting the principle of how to understand and apply comprehensively a Graphic Design program in order to protect it from short term programming relying, in this respect, on the designer’s cognitive theory, the language, his ability to deal with time changes, technologies, and his training.

Our target is to arm the student with skills, courage, innovation, ability to judge and assess, and curiosity that depend on the size of information, knowledge and content of what is acquired.

How to Get a Junior Graphic Design Job Right Out of School

Landing your first junior graphic design job is an important turning point in your career as a graphic designer. Most of us know the industry can be tough when you’re just starting out. It can be hard to believe that you can make a living from a career in graphic design that is compelling and satisfying. Finding your first job in graphic design is important, not only because it’s your first “real” job, but because it’s a great continuation of the learning process that begins even after you graduate. Looking for that “big break” might not be so difficult if you put in the effort.

Preparation

Even before you start searching for a position, you’re going to want to do some soul-searching. A few questions you should be asking yourself is what motivates you, what kind of environment do you want to be working in, what type of work you want to do, etc. These are important questions because although you want to worry more about the learning opportunity your first junior graphic designer provides, you want to make sure you’ll be happy and productive at your job. Write down answers to the follow questions on a piece of paper to help clarify your goals:

-A little about yourself – What are your strengths, weaknesses and motivations? (What will make you perform at your best?)

-The type of work – What kind of projects do you want to work on most? (Business cards, branding, logo design, web design, etc.)

-Understanding the job market – Is your job in high demand? Is there lots of competition for your spot? (What sets you apart if there is a high level of competition?)

-Doing your research even before you start to begin your journey will be very beneficial in solidifying your goals as a junior graphic designer. If you do the right research, you can find yourself in a better position to catch the attention of sough-after employers.

Find Agencies You Want to Work For

By making a list of graphic design agencies you’d like to work for, you can use the process of elimination and finalize which agencies you’re going to contact. If you rank them based on the above criteria, it will be easier to make a decision about where you’d like to work. The size of graphic design agency is an important factor you’re going to want to consider. Normally, larger agencies we have you working on more “intern-like” duties or small jobs such as editing photos, colors, etc. but you will have access to understanding how a large agency functions as well as the feedback and support of many other seasoned co-workers. A smaller agency will be able to provide you with more responsibility on tasks and projects because of the smaller size. Although this is great, you may receive smaller compensation than a larger firm.

When seeking agencies to work for, remember to choose the one that fits you best and where you will learn the most. As a junior graphic designer, the skills you learn at your first job will prove to be invaluable – it teaches you how the graphic design industry really works in the real world (when real money is involved), it will sharpen and build confidence in your skills and improve your ability to communicate with other designers and clients. If you choose the agency that allows you to work at your full potential, you’re more likely to have complete job satisfaction.

Resume

Your resume will give your possible employer an idea of whether or not you are worth looking at further. It is important to make your resume clear and easy to read with appropriate typography choices. Your resume should reflect your design style and skill. Along with your resume, you’re also going to want to make sure you have a proper e-mail or cover letter that formally introduces yourself, what your goals are and why you’re interested in working for that specific design agency. Some important things to include in that letter include:

-Who are you
-What graphic design school you are attending and what you are taking there
-Why you are contacting this graphic design agency
-What you are hoping of getting out of working for them and why you think you’re a worthy candidate
-Any extra curricular activities you’ve participated in
-All contact information

Portfolio

Your portfolio is very important to landing your first job. If you attending design school, you should have some work pieces you can place in your portfolio. Remember to only select your best work to display – this will show your true potential and abilities. Many graphic designers who own agencies come across hundreds, if not thousands, of applications from junior graphic designers. They want to see portfolios and resumes that are original and stand out from the crowd. Any generic portfolios will usually not even be glanced at. If you have any special talents or specializations, be sure to focus on that!

Follow Up

After a week or so, contact the firm again. If you haven’t heard back from there, don’t worry. Sometimes they get busy and are unable to respond promptly. Sending them a remind not only thanks them for taking the time to look at your graphic design portfolio, but it shows you are passionate about getting a job with their business. If you’re offered a position – congratulations! If you’re offered multiple positions, be choosy about where you select. Don’t always pick the graphic design firm that will give you the most money. Sometimes these positions aren’t a good fit for you.

Getting a job right out of school as a junior designer is very doable if you do your homework and research before you start applying. Don’t lose the drive and passion you have when searching for a job. If you get turned down, don’t worry and keep applying at other places. Put a lot of effort into your portfolio and resume and you’ll reap the benefits in your first graphic design job!