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Graduation day is a very crucial day for every graphic design student. It is the point in life where you make the all-important decision regarding you graphic designing careers. Believe me if you’re still about to graduate school, now is the ideal position to start thinking about your future and career prospects.
Having spent nearly a decade in the field of graphic design, I believe it is my duty to impart knowledge and guidance about the practical world to the young and aspiring graphic designers. So today, I would like to give a few career advices for graphic design students that you will want to remember your entire life.


1. Continue the Learning Process:

Career Advice

Just because you’ve graduated from graphic design school, it doesn’t mean that you should stop learning further. Learning is a continuous process that should be pursued by every human being from cradle to grave. Don’t let your skills stagnate by saying no to further learning. Don’t limit yourself to one specific skill set, be a jack of all trades. The more multi-talented you will be, the more openings you will get of acquiring a job. Constantly update yourself with the latest tricks and techniques in graphic designing so that you don’t lag behind.


2. Theory is easy, Practice is NOT:

The first thing that I learnt from my experience as a graphic designer is that whatever you learn in textbooks don’t always apply in real life. This is because talent is more essential than degree in graphic designing. When stepping out from the school life to the practical life, you must learn to differentiate between theory and practice. Now I don’t mean to discourage the concept of reading textbooks and course material. You may learn the essence of graphic designing from school but when you enter the practical field among creative veterans, the whole scenario changes.


3. Don’t stop Socializing:

Many students who are graduating from design school hold a perception that after stepping into the professional world, they will not be able to hang out with their friend circle. Well…they couldn’t have been more wrong. This is because networking and social media for graphic designers is extremely imperative. Maintain your contacts with colleagues, seniors and teachers all along your professional life. Frequently visit graphic design related seminars and build contacts with creative veterans over there.


4. Build a Graphic Design Portfolio:

A pre-requisite for becoming a graphic designer is to assemble and build your personal graphic design portfolio. It serves as your identity and displays your creative potential to the world. Now of course you must be thinking…being a graphic design student with no work experience, what will I show in my portfolio. No worries, you can start off by displaying your assignments and class projects in your portfolio. With the progress of time, you can update some real work as well.


5. Polish your Core Skills:

Although I just mentioned that one should be the jack of all trades, but I personally believe in being “Jack of all trades and master of one.” While acquiring the know-how about several aspects of graphic designing, remember to polish your core skills in order to make them prominent. For example, if you have a desire for becoming a web designer, cultivate your CSS, HTML and other web developing skills.


6. Gain Experience as an Internee:

While this piece of advice isn’t compulsory in becoming graphic designers, it certainly helps boost your credentials for future career. Interning at a design related firm is a pre-requisite at every graphic design school so that shouldn’t be a problem for most students. But for students who think that evading the internship program is better…think again. Internship gives you a great chance to experience the ‘real’ world and learn from the adept and experienced people in the professional field.


7. Never Lose Faith in your Abilities:

Take it as an advice or simply motivational words, but never lose faith in what your abilities as a graphic designer. You will encounter scores of people who criticize just for the sake of it. When you enter into the professional world, you are surrounded by people who are more experienced than you. Don’t get discouraged that you don’t know much and be confident in whatever you know. Satisfaction for graphic designers is the key to success.


8. Make your Personality Attractive:

Rugged jeans, a pimped shirt and fuzzy hair, probably coupled with a pierced ear…this is the general perception of a graphic designer’s appearance. However, my advice isn’t for graphic design students to be like that. I believe that appearances are only skin deep, your real personality is deep within. Develop your personality into an interesting and appealing one, the kind that people will find hard to resist. Update yourself with the latest news and trends on things besides graphic designing as well. This way when you converse with people, they won’t take you for a design geek.


I hope these pieces of advice will help graphic design students in strengthening their career prospects and flourish as graphic designers. :)


  1. Justin On March 10th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    As a student, I appreciate the advice. I have to admitt that it’s scary to think about walking into a design firm and being the least knowledgable guy in the building. I hope my professors are able to mold me into a suitable designer by the time I finish school.

  1. phluphhybeard On March 11th, 2011 at 4:05 am

    useful pieces of advice. keep ‘em up!

  1. Kendra On March 11th, 2011 at 5:38 am

    This is some great advice. I for one went through a tough time just out of college, but through all of my networking and to never stop believing in my work, I am currently doing quite well. And to keep your high school buddies as friends, or to just keep in contact with them through social networking helps a lot as well. A lot of my are some of my high school acquaintances and pals that started their own businesses or need help with certain projects. Good post!

  1. Nikola On March 13th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Great advice, I’ve been working on my portfolio for quite some time, a little trouble in “atraction” of my personality though ;) Thanx for posting.

  1. Hannah Hurst On March 14th, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Some great advice for students. When I began work it was a completely different playing field to what university was like and I definitely encountered people criticizing just for the sake of it. However I did not doubt myself and my abilities and just learned as much as I possibly could.

    With this knowledge I then set up my own business and have not looked back since. I am still learning though every day and will continue to seek out new knowledge to keep up with the ever changing world of design.

    One of the best ways to do this is by socialising! You can learn a lot from other people and it also allows you to promote yourself and what you are all about.

  1. Chicago Marketing Company On March 14th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Great advice - I just had a graphic design student in here that didn’t have a portfolio ready for me to look at and I was astonished! Great article - I hope these schools start helping students develop more well rounded portfolios before they graduate. It’s kind of sad that they’re not!

  1. Logo Design Contest On March 16th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Some very good advices, the best one for me is the first one “to continue the process of learning.”

  1. Graphic Design Cleveland On March 16th, 2011 at 8:43 am

    This is good advice. I took a small graphic design course and taught myself the rest. #7 is a hard one sometimes because there are so many good designers out there and of course you are your own worst critic when it comes to your work.

  1. Jan Loos On March 17th, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Appreciate the advise. I’m not so sure about the design geek advice. I think it is fine to be the design geek, the odd one out, the guy people talk about when you pass them across the streets. Just remember to be true to your identity, be your best self. One of the most important things in this buisness is that you are able to socialize and network with almost everyone, since almost everyone is a potential client.

  1. Will On March 18th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Great advice. I think it’s so important to really believe in your self. When you’re first starting off in your career it can be tough, especially in the creative industry. But if you really keep at it and keep expanding your skill set, then eventually find your dream job.

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On March 28th, 2011 at 12:03 am

    @Hannah Hurst…Really inspiring to hear about your success story.

    @Jan Loos…I believe you misunderstood my point. By using the term “design geek” I meant that graphic designers should limit their knowledge to only graphic designing. Instead, they should keep grasping other areas of the field in order to make their personality more interesting and lively.

  1. flex developers On March 28th, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    hey some of them are even important for graphic design and web design company like

    1. Continue the Learning Process:
    4. Build a Graphic Design Portfolio:
    8. Make your Personality Attractive:

    thanks for share

  1. web design On April 5th, 2011 at 5:07 am

    hello friends

    Some very good advices, the best one for me is the first one “to continue the process of learning

    web design

  1. Paras On June 6th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Cool dude, Its nice work man.

    Its really helping me,


  1. Sreedevi On July 6th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Hey Charlie…………..

    you dont know how it has inspired me…….thanku for the article……..and keep inspiring…….between i need help………..i need to know about logo designing……….its scope in todays world….where all the demand is…..everything about it…….

  1. » 8 Practical Tips for Newbie Graphic Designers! On July 17th, 2011 at 7:43 am

    [...] like to assist my newbie graphic designer friends in adapting to the new environment with these valuable career advices: Posted on July 17, 2011 by . This entry was posted in Videos. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  1. Still a student On August 11th, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Really good advices.
    Since i’m a student that’s currently an intern I think ur stuff was spot on :)

  1. nick spalding On July 23rd, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Great advice for all of the creative arts. I work in a different field in design, but i have found the same principles apply and although many of my fellow students can create for assignments, they have little experience in the real world, as I already have. Being a mature student is an advantage in many ways especially if your already good at marketing yourself and your talents to prospective employers.
    Its not all about the portfolio or producing amazing looking work, social networking and experience open many doors. They have for me!

  1. byteboy On January 8th, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    i agree for all tips, my best is Theory is easy, Practice is NOT;

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