- Business and Employment»
- Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs
What Skills Do I Need to Become a Graphic Designer?
Are you an artistic type of person? Do you like to work with computers? Do you enjoy taking other people's ideas and turning them into something more tangible?
Graphic designers use their artistic abilities to create graphics for printed and electronic media. They help businesses establish their brands by creating logos and other visual representations of their ideas and products. They may also handle layout for web pages and printed materials, and they may design fonts for particular applications.
Graphic designers have a wealth of job opportunities that they can pursue in today's economy, but many choose to work as freelancers or start their own design firms. Graphic design is a sound career choice, because there is always a need for it.
Are you interested? Here is a list of skills and qualifications that are helpful.
Many graphic design positions at larger companies require applicants to have a Bachelor's degree or higher in graphic design. Some employers looking to fill technical and assistant designer positions, however, allow applicants with Associate's degrees.
That said, if you're planning on freelancing or offering services through your own website, no degree is necessary, but having a formal education can sometimes make it much easier to get clients.
Ability to work with graphic design software is a must. Students at graphic design schools will learn how to use some of the most popular programs. But after your schooling is completed, it's up to you to stay current on new versions and entirely new software.
Artistic ability is very important in graphic design. Prospective design students must usually submit portfolios for consideration before they can be accepted into a program.
Attention to detail is crucial in graphic design. It's the little things that can make or break a project.
Graphic designers should be highly motivated self-starters who are able to work independently. They must be able to work within deadlines and budget their time.
Graphic designers should be good communicators. They need to know the right questions to ask clients, and they need to be able to translate their ideas into art.
An eye for style is helpful to the graphic designer. Design techniques and trends are constantly evolving, and expectations are constantly changing. Moving along the flow of the industry is very important.
Is this the right career path for you?
Being a graphic designer requires a love for design and the willingness to keep your skills current throughout your career. But it can be a very rewarding pursuit.
High quality, original graphics can help propel a business to the top, and they can make a good web page outstanding. If you are creative and want a career with great potential, graphic design might be for you.
GIMP Free Graphics Editing Software
You've probably already heard of GIMP if you're into graphic creation. It's open source free software for creating graphics, and is often compared to Photoshop. Many successful graphics designers call it "Photoshop Without the Price Tag" and use it in place of the popular expensive program.
You can download GIMP for free at http://gimp.org/
If you need a little help with the program you can follow their free tutorials on using the program as well.
This course from Angela Wills at Web Design Mojo is a really great introduction to making graphics for internet marketers (or for yourself, course)
Inkscape Free Graphics Editing Software
Inkscape is another open source graphics editing program that's great for vector formats. While you may not have heard it's name as often as you hear about GIMP, it is still free and comparable to some of the popular and often expensive graphics programs available today. You'll find it is frequently compared to Illustrator or CorelDraw.
You can download Inkscape for free at http://inkscape.org/
Paint.net Free Graphics Editing Software
Another popular free open source graphics creation program is Paint.net. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins.
You can download Paint.net for free at http://www.getpaint.net/