How to Get Started as a Graphic Designer without a Degree

Undeniably, a formal education is the best and most reliable route to pursue a career in any given field. However, one can live one’s dream without getting a formal degree from a university if one has a fair amount of passion and diligence.

I guess same is the case with you. You want to get started as a graphic designer without going to a design school, right?

Start as a graphic designer

Well, becoming a professional graphic designer seems like a daunting task, especially when you do not have a formal graphic design education. This lucrative career requires disciplined efforts, dedication and patience. You need to learn a lot of essential software such as – Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and even PixTeller to be used in graphic designing. With a good dose of zeal, intense enthusiasm and some online tutorials, you can definitely guide yourself into this creative profession.

Through this article, we’ll share some key tips with you on how to get started as a self-taught graphic designer with confidence. Follow these tips to become a graphic designer.

Here are top tips to kick-off as a graphic designer without a degree:

1 Find your niche

Like many other areas, graphic design too is a wide industry that encompasses a lot of specialties. Most of which you could have learned in a design school, but you decided not to attend — whatever the reason might be. Now, you’ll have to focus on a certain niche as you cannot master all of them overnight.

Set your priority up and start learning. Having command over your niche will provide you with a competitive advantage when you compete with other designers or apply for jobs.

While other areas may entice you but I would suggest you to get started with logo designing since it always remains in high demand. Every website or company needs to create a logo as the face of their brand. But if you’re a tech-savvy and technology interests you more than pencil and paper, then website and mobile app design are other great options that you could opt for surefire success.

Keep on practicing in your niche and attend local hackathon to attain some valuable experience.

2 Learn the prerequisite software

PixTeller Logo Maker Editor Screenshot PixTeller Logo Maker Editor Screenshot

Even if you opt out to go the traditional way of designing, you’ll have to learn some essential software such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign to better use your logo ideas or any other ideas relevant to your niche. No matter whether you like them or not, you cannot afford to escape technology in the present design ecosphere. Despite you work in traditional design materials; you may need software for making digital copies of your work.

So, it is better you start learning them. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources and study materials available you can teach yourself.

3 Invest in computer & software

A computer / laptop and its software are two obvious components that you need to kick-start your graphic design tasks, irrespective of whether you go to a design school or learn on your own. Graphics software requires good machine configuration — significant speed and space. So, investing in high-end computer and software is a good idea.

4 Hone your style

You can take inspiration from other ace designers but copying their style may not help you establish your own identity. To succeed as a professional graphic designer stand out, you’ll have to look different whether you’re working as an in-house designer or freelancer.

It’s obvious that developing your own style will take time and regular practice, but it’s the best way to go a long way.

5 Create your online portfolio

While it’s quite frustrating and difficult to create an online design portfolio without having a design degree and educational projects, it is worth creating in today’s Internet age.

Graphic Images & Animations Templates Alex created over 5.000 design templates for PixTeller

But there is a way out. Pick some poorly designed logos, posters or website and showcase them along with your improved versions. Then, highlight the significant issues that may have in the designs and explain how your designs are better than them.

You can find many poorly designed works over the internet. When it comes to a logo design, many small enterprises do not pay much heed. Just get it done by a less experienced graphic designer or make their own using a logo creator.

6 Welcome Critiques

Whether you have years of experience in graphic design or a fresher, you will definitely get some negative feedback. So don’t get disheartened or panic, accept that negative feedback in positive note, thanks the reviewer for his/her valuable feedback and work on the grey areas, if there’s any.

Don’t forget that design is a very subjective thing. It doesn’t necessary mean that a design that gets huge appreciation will also look appealing to clients. So, don’t afraid of it. Work as per the design brief provided by the client.

7 Always stick to the theory

If you’re thinking that theory is nothing, you’re wrong. Of course the tips mentioned above will help you to compete with the design degree graduates, understanding the design principles will remain important throughout your career.

8 Get some real work experience

Now that you have gained a certain level of expertise in your niche, working as a graphic designer with a company will significantly help you taking your skills and portfolio to another level. This way, you’ll gain real experience needed to establish yourself in the industry.

These are some of the key tips on how to get started as a graphic designer without a graphic design degree. I’m sure that with a fair amount of passion, patience and determination, you will gain the required skills to kick-off your career as a professional graphic designer.

Until next time, Be creative! - Pix'sTory by Henna Ray

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