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How To Become a Graphic Designer in 2016


– Hey everybody, this is Roberto Blake, of RobertoBlake.com 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 lynda.com,
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.

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