I've been a full time graphic designer for more than 4 years and it has been a lot different than I originally anticipated. I went to a 4 year college and majored in Art and Graphic Design. After graduating, I enrolled in a 2 year Masters program focusing on advertising and web design. I've been force fed a lot of information about the graphic design field during my 6 years of school and I thought I would be on easy street after graduating. Oh how wrong I was. After working in the field for a while, I've compiled a list of my top 5 graphic design myths.
MYTH #1: Graphic Design is Easy
This is hands down the biggest misconception in the graphic design industry. This misunderstanding is in part due to the wide use of Adobe Photoshop which causes people to think that it requires little skill. Many think that it’s easy to put images here and there, add some text, do a little touch up and boom your design is complete. This is 100% incorrect. Begin a designer requires proficiency, effort, commitment, hard work and power of visualization. It is a fast paced industry and can sometimes be a high-stress job. It is absolutely critical to understand the field, the target audience, the client’s requirement and to produce a high-quality end product. If the final design isn’t up to the client’s standards, you can expect to lose that client and may find it harder to get future clients.
MYTH #2: We’re Mind Readers
As cool as it would be to have this superpower, unfortunately we can’t read your mind. Some client’s think that just sharing an idea or concept with a designer should be plenty of information for them to create an awesome design. Wrong. We thrive on understanding exactly what you want the design to look like. For example, please never say anything along the lines of: “I don’t want any red, but I’m sure you will come up with something awesome.” This isn’t helpful at all and is a little too vague for a designer to even start a template. The more information you can provide to the designer – whether that is color preference, font choices and any other elements you may want to see implemented in the design, would make the entire process immensely easier for both the designer and the client.
MYTH #3: Graphic Designers Make a lot of Money
It is believed that graphic designers make thousands of dollars for a single design. While this is true for those lucky enough to work directly for big corporations, more often than not designer make a moderate income. Large corporations will pay top dollar for logos and brochures, but being selected to work for these companies is extremely competitive. I’m the sole graphic designer for a company – I’m not a freelancer for this company, I’m an employee and I earn a bi-weekly salary. Typically, many designers will find themselves in the same boat as me. You have to prove your worth to the company, like any other employee in order to earn bonuses and raises. This is the downfall to earning a salary as opposed to being a freelancer. Freelancers are able to set their rates. This can be a double-edged sword – the freelance business can be extremely unpredictable and many (like myself) like the idea of earning a salary/hourly rate every week or two.
MYTH #4: Graphic Designers are Naturally Creative
There is no such thing as a natural born creative. It is believed that all designers are inherently creative. This is false. There are some people who find it easier to create original designs, while others struggle a little more. For those that find it easier are usually technically trained and have the credentials required to create conceptually complex designs. For those that find themselves struggling may need some extra training and a lot of sweat and tears. Anyone can become good at anything with some practice, and I feel that is absolutely true for aspiring graphic designers.
MYTH #5: Work is Everywhere
Um, yeah ok. When I was in school preparing for life as graphic designer, I was under the impression there was an endless supply of work and it would be easy to find a good paying job. What they don’t tell you is this is entirely dependent on your specific skills. The graphic design industry is booming, sure, but there are plenty of graphic designs to fill these positions. It is a highly competitive filed and every designer wants to find that perfect job. You have to possess the right skills and have a strong portfolio to even be considered for an interview. So work might be technically everywhere, but the jobs that are actually worthwhile, and therefore actually count, are not so easy to get.
All images via Creative Commons licenses, pixabay.com