I’ve noticed that many people enjoyed our article about In-house teams VS design agencies, specially design students that are trying to define how to overtake the challenges that the working world presents. Today, I’d like to talk about the different fields that we can explore as graphic designers, which is definitely one of the reasons why I love this career, you have a large spectrum of options to choose from based on your skills.
The first path Graphic Designers can follow is editorial design. This field requires a high expertise in diagramming plus being an InDesign master. If you’re good at choosing the best typography for a book and you’re good in making fit lots of text into a single page in a clear and appealing way, then this is your area. You don’t have to be great at drawing nor even a Photoshop master; this is plain and basic graphic design, knowing how to organize a series of elements, making them look good and easy to read. People who decide to work on this area will find themselves working for publishing companies, magazines, printing firms or why not, freelance.
Web / Mobile Design
The trendiest area of the list, many graphic designers are turning towards web and mobile design due to the high demand that this has nowadays. If you want to be a web/mobile designer, then you need to be proficient on Photoshop, Illustrator and know about usability; also, you need to have a good level of HTML/CSS knowledge and be familiar with the concept of Web Standards. If you want to work on this area, then Advertising agencies, Web development firms and just any company willing to venture into the web will be the places where you will find a job.
No matter what type of graphic designer you are, we all have a certain level of passion for photography. Although most of graphic designers have photography as part of their lives and eventually incorporate it on their works, it’s not usual to see a graphic designer fully dedicated to this area. Having a graphic design degree gives you all the basic tools to help you become a photographer, which includes color theory, composition, light management and more. Probably you’ll need to get acquainted with all the professional equipment, other than that, any graphic designer can pursue a career in Photography, either working solo, for a magazine/newspaper or as part of a Design agency.
One example of a graphic designer dedicated to this area is our friend Michel Almonacid, a great graphic designer and even greater illustrator. It’s not necessary to be a graphic designer in order to pursue a career as illustrator, but it gives you a great advantage in front of the rest. Many people think that being a graphic designer is synonymous of being a great drawing artist, but the truth is that, not many designers actually manage to develop an unique an attractive style that allow them to become illustrators. If you are planning to get a job on this area, then you can be independent and sell your creations to publishing agencies, stock websites and more; otherwise, you can always work in big companies where creativity is part of the daily meal.
3D Design / Animation
Before web/mobile design reached its hype, this was the trendiest area for graphic design newcomers. Many people I’ve known have told me that they began studying Graphic Design with the hope of one day become a famous video game artist, which means, making a career in 3D and Animation. Although you don’t have to be as creative as an illustrator, if you want to work as a 3D designer or animator, it’s important to have good creativity and technical skills, programs such as Maya, After Effects, 3d Max and Adobe Flash will become part of your toolbox. As for the job, you have better odds if you travel to other countries outside Latin America, still, the 3d/animation industry has been rising in recent years, and so you can always find a job at a video games company, a design agency or as an independent artist.
If there’s one area that you’re prepared to face after getting your graphic design degree, it is definitely corporative design. This area combines all the things you have learned in college as you need to be able to develop strategies, digital products, print elements, logo designs, identity manuals and more. This is definitely one of the nicest areas where a graphic designer can work; you don’t need to be an expert on any kind of software, you just need to have good communication skills, a good understanding of the client’s needs and the ability of conveying an idea through the image. Finding a job on this area means working for the most important design agencies or becoming part of an in-house team that handles all the image of a company.
Note: After seeing several comments from all of you, we’d like to mention that, within the Corporative Design field, you can become an expert in Packaging Design, which is something that combines the work of Graphic and Industrial Design, thank you all for the suggestion!.
As you continue to grow as graphic designer, you will be acquiring new knowledge and skills that will set you apart from newly graduates. It can be a good idea to start your own design blog as way to share the things you’ve learned as well as make new connections. It can be difficult to build a career as a design blogger, but still, it can be a good way to improve your writing skills, discover new people on the field and keep track of the things you’ve learned.
Academy / Design Evangelist
Finally, when you have been on the design field for many years, there will be a moment when people will begin to see you as an authority and will head back to you for advice. You can either become an evangelist and precede large conferences or be an exponent at design events. The other option you have is joining a college or design school; you just need to have decent teaching skills and the spirit to share what you’ve learned throughout the years with all your students. Becoming a Design Evangelist or College professor can be the ultimate goal for many graphic designers.
And that’s it, ¿what other areas do you consider a graphic designer can pursue a career? I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and we’ll see you soon.