Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Designer
All jobs have their own perks and quirks. Before taking on a profession, there are things you can already expect and things you won’t see coming. As with any situation you are in, there are things you wish you knew before getting into it.
As for becoming a graphic designer, Creative Bloq has rounded up the 10 things you wish anyone told you about working in the design industry. If you’re just starting or planning to become a designer, we’ll tell you about these hard truths so you’ll know what you’re getting into.
9 to 5 is a Myth
Freelancer or not, traditional work hours are often disregarded for creative professionals, especially designers. Our team at MicroCreatives operates on traditional office hours and has a project management system that helps us keep track of deadlines and complete projects right on schedule without having to render overtime. But there will also be times that we receive urgent orders and rush projects that require us to work beyond office hours to complete them on the spot, while ensuring the best quality at the same time. This is where internal revision takes its place as another reason for staying late – to ensure top quality.
As for freelancers and aspiring artists, beginners make the extra effort to pull an all-nighter and accept and complete as much design jobs as they can to make ends meet and to create a name.
No Room for the Oversensitive
As a starting designer, criticisms may feel like a personal attack. Receiving feedback, positive or negative, is good. It helps you identify what you need to maintain, improve, or get rid of. However, there will also be criticisms that may be hard to accept at first, as well as a lot of opinions and ideas coming from both colleagues and clients. This is true especially when you haven’t had much confidence and expertise in you yet. Until then, don’t be disheartened. Be tough and don’t take things personally. Handle criticisms as obstacles for you to face and overcome, leading you to the path to becoming a great designer.
You Don’t Work to Have Fun
Earning is a business, and business is meant to be taken seriously. If you end up having fun and enjoying what you do then that’s great. Beyond doing what you love as a designer, there’s still the business side where you need to keep records, fill out tax forms, and complete a lot of paperwork. If you’re working for a company, then it’s important to fulfill your role in achieving company goals.
Software and Tools Don’t Define the Designer
Don’t rely too much on newly acquired software and hardware. You won’t automatically become a designer with just an updated computer and the best design software available. Just because you know how to use Photoshop, it doesn’t automatically make you a designer. To be a good designer, you must develop a good eye for design while also understanding the theory of design. It’s true that you don’t need to take a design course to be a designer, but you need to develop these skills through constant learning and practice. There are many online tutorials and videos to help get you started.
This is true for all professions. The learning never stops even after you get out of school. Technology and trends improve and change over time. Even the most skilled designer needs to catch up with these changes. Develop existing or new skills and techniques and make your professional self as distinguishable as possible. There’s nothing better than investing in yourself, and working for your own betterment.
Design Has Become a Commodity
Nowadays design has become so much a commodity and this is partly because of the democratization of the necessary toolsets. At a price, or even for free, anyone can instantly purchase and install software, tools, and design kits. Because of this, expect that for every design task, someone else can do it cheaper and faster. That’s why continuous learning is crucial, as your main weapon should be your skills. Here at MicroCreatives, we assure that with our flexible pricing comes best quality output.
Be Careful of What You Post Online
Again this applies to all professions. Anything you post online will become public record and is immortalized. Even if you’ve deleted the post, chances are somebody already has saved the photo or has taken a screenshot. And once you become part of an organization, you will somehow become a representative of that organization and posting anything controversial on social media is never a good idea. Even if you are a freelancer, clients may look you up online and anything they will see can influence their decision of whether or not to work with you.
As a creative, even among your friends and schoolmates, you’ve probably had someone ask you to create something for them for free or at a low price. As a beginner, you would accept this offer for many reasons, such as building networks. Furthermore, you tell yourself that you’ll just charge more appropriately when you’ve already made a name. But truth is, you will forever have this kind of client, and sometimes many of them have requirements that demand more time and attention. Don’t worry, the more you gain experience, the more you learn the red flags and how to deal with them.
You Can’t Do Everything
It’s better to be honest with yourself rather than to overpromise then underdeliver. Sure you can learn and train to develop all the skills you want to have, but don’t agree to take on a job when you know you have not perfected the required skill yet.
A Business is Not a Business Without a Contract
Do not start a job without a contract. It is essential for every single client jobs you do. It doesn’t matter if the work is quick or long-term, make a contract so both you and the client are on the same page. The contract protects both you and the client. It states the requirements, the agreed payment terms and project terms, and the deliverables.