You're ready to become a design professional-- you've trained, interned, had a few clients and are prepared to conquer the world. But, before you jump in too deeply, make sure you take the advice of those who have come before you in order to get your career started on the right foot. With a few guidelines, you will avoid some common mistakes and find yourself in high demand as a graphic designer!
Staying on top of communication with your client, and your team, is the foundation of any job. However, in the graphic design field it goes far beyond this. Your client should be able to get in touch with you at all times, and you should respond to emails as fast as you possibly can.
Having good communication skills also means managing your client's expectations about the entire process. Sometimes you need to take the reigns and suss out your client's exact goals. Often times your client won't really know what they are looking for until you help to mold their vision and expectations. Pretending to be a pro who knows everything will set you up for disaster. Ask questions early and often-- making sure that you ask clarifying questions and get your client to be as specific as possible.
For instance, try to figure out what they want to accomplish, not simply that they want to create a flyer. What direction is their company moving in? Do they have new clients they want to attract?Are they trying to reinvent their brand? Really understanding your client and their needs and expectations will ensure that you deliver a design that they are happy with the first time.
Spending Too Much on Software and Hardware
While it is great to purchase an entire editing and design suite outright, you might only need a few programs that come with the suite. Do you really need a number of different applications, tablets and other devices to create logos? Probably not!
While graphic design does require more from a computer than what a lower end computer can provide, you do not need the most expensive machine money can buy.
Buying a refurbished computer with high processing power can mean the difference between hitting the ground running and stagnating with a room full of amazing equipment draining your income so you can properly pay for it. Use a computer that can start you out with designing, get some income coming in, and only invest in a more expensive computer after you've created a financial safety net for yourself.
If no one knows who you are, you aren't going to find your inbox full of design requests. Find networking lunches, seminars, and organizations; get yourself in front of business owners and those in contact with people making decisions.
Don't push yourself too hard-- simply demonstrate that you are a pleasure to work with and make yourself memorable. Help people connect with those you know who can help them. Get to know other designers and find out what circles they are involved in. Ask questions, be honest and you may soon find yourself to be of value to more people than you ever considered.
Starting out with a graphic design company is another great way to network. A graphic design company has numerous clients and can lead to direct projects. Working with a corporation also presents opportunities to network with people who have high success in the industry and can offer you tips and guidance as you are starting out.
Avoid these common mistakes that trip up most new graphic designers and you will find yourself with a prosperous designing career. Don't forget to get out into the world and shake hands of those who need your services. Be flexible, listen to your clients and do good work!
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