How to Become a Better Graphic Designer

According to Digital in the Round, the graphic design industry is expected to grow by roughly 3 percent in the next few years. While the number is not that high, it is still significant given how so many claim that the industry is oversaturated.

It is true that the demand for graphic designers is high, and finding a long-term job is not as easy. Moreover, there are influencers who are constantly looking to score a few gigs, and even low-paying tasks can be quite competitive depending on the platform.

So, the question is, what should one do to overcome various obstacles that get in the way and find more success as a graphic designer? This article should give you a few pointers.

Find Your Distinguishable Style

As already mentioned, there are plenty of available graphic designers, and it should not come as a surprise that among amateurs, it is common to study the work of more established designers and copy them.

The problem with such an approach is that you will struggle to establish your own style, particularly if you have problems with creativity in the first place.

Imagine trying to bid for a gig and submitting another average piece that the potential employer has probably seen multiple times. No, what you need to do is work early on creating a distinguishable style.

Since there are different graphic design styles, you do not have to rush it. Take the time you need and polish your skills so that you stand out amid the crowd of mediocre designers.

Seek Opportunities to Learn

Given how many different online courses one can find on a plethora of topics, it would be foolish not to take advantage of the available education.

Since graphic design is about visuals, seek video tutorials that go step by step through various processes to teach you. Depending on your current level, you can look for either beginner, intermediate, or advanced tutorials.

Get Unbiased Feedback

It is nice to get a second opinion on one’s work. However, if you are looking for feedback, make sure that it comes from an unbiased source. Asking a friend or a family member could mean a futile result because their judgment might be too clouded because they do not want to hurt your feelings if they do not like the result.

Relying on strangers online might be a bit difficult because you are not too comfortable making your designs public. However, it is probably one of the best ways to gain genuine feedback.

For example, you could start a channel on Twitch TV and stream yourself working as a graphic designer. Viewers who watch you might leave some comments in the chat expressing their thoughts about your work.

Other than getting valuable feedback, growing a Twitch TV channel could also prove a valuable monetization method. Even though the platform is mostly for video game enthusiasts, there are quite a few graphic designers who find success on Twitch.

Enter Various Graphic Design Competitions

Graphic design competitions are another way to test your mettle. Enter these competitions and see how well you fare against other designers. The competitions range from beginner to professional graphic designers.

Moreover, you can usually see the entries of every participant, and that is quite useful when you want to compare yourself to others and see how other graphic designers around your level are like.

Even if you do not win or end up last, it will be a great learning experience to work toward your goal of becoming a better graphic designer.

Optimize Your Equipment

As a graphic designer, you will depend on your tools a lot. Two things that come to mind first are a computer and a graphics tablet. For the former, you want to maintain the performance at an optimal level. Since graphic design software can take quite a lot of system resources, do not clutter the drive with redundant junk. If you own a MacBook, for example, working on Photoshop will create temporary storage and clutter the scratch disk. You can read more about it to find out how to deal with the issue in case you encounter it.

As for the graphics tablet, make sure that you take proper care of it while designing on the device. Avoid drinking or eating next to it for obvious reasons, and use a case to protect the screen.

Create a Portfolio

Creating a solid graphic design portfolio is one of the keys to being on the way to establishing yourself as a professional and finding constant work.

Some designers go as far as creating personal websites where they add contact details in addition to showing their portfolio. Whether that is something you want or not comes down to personal preference, but the important thing is to have a portfolio that you can send to a potential client.

Establish a Network

As soon as you start working as a graphic designer, make sure to establish a proper network where you stay in touch with the clients you land. It is easier if you are under an agency and are not in direct contact with the clients, but freelance graphic designers need to be at the top of their game and maintain good relationships with the clients in order to keep them.

Some of the most important things to consider while networking are:
  • Professionalism with work and deadlines
  • Regular communication with the clients
  • Emphasis on finding new leads
  • Good relationships with other designers

When you establish a proper network, it becomes easier to work as a graphic designer. For instance, if you need professional advice, you can send a few emails to other graphic designers you are on good terms with, asking them for an opinion.

Be Active on Freelancer Platforms

Fiverr and Upwork are some of the most popular freelance platforms where you can bid for various gigs. However, the initial participation on these platforms is quite difficult given how much competition is around.

Even for simple tasks, there are tens if not hundreds of submissions, and potential employers often pick the cheapest option even if the work quality is lackluster.

It will take a while to establish yourself on such platforms, but when you get a few gigs and some positive feedback on your profile, you can expect to lift off and get better work opportunities.

Not only are these platforms a good source to find more work, but you can also establish connections and increase your network.


Volunteering might not feel like a good idea for some, but it is a worthwhile endeavor that could help you a lot in the long term.

If you were to look at some freelance or graphic design social media groups or forums, you would find that quite a few people are looking for free logos or banners. Would getting in touch and working with these people be beneficial for you? Probably, but it is not the only option to volunteer as a graphic designer.

You could get in touch with non-profit organizations, such as charities, and offer to create a new logo for them for free. People from a charity could vouch for you and be more than happy to give a reference.

Earn Formal Education

Formal education is not a must to succeed as a graphic designer since there are plenty of self-taught professionals. On the other hand, a proper university or college degree looks quite solid on your resume.

Since studying in universities or colleges take years to get a degree, you need to consider whether it is worth dedicating so much time to the idea. For some, it is better to stick to networking and freelancing, whereas getting a job at a company is easier if there is a university or college degree to back you up. Consider which of the two options you prefer and stick to it.

Improve Work Before Final Submission

Another good piece of advice is to add some final touches to the work before you submit it to the client. It is true that you could spend hours polishing the details without seeing the end to it, but try not to do that. Instead, carefully look at your work and decide whether you can improve it one last time.

Seek Inspiration

Similar to how readers get a block, some graphic designers might also experience the phenomenon. When you find yourself unable to come up with new ideas, or you believe that the current work is lackluster, seek inspiration.

You could look at other people’s work, go outside, and travel around to change your environment. Discovering something might be the catalyst that will spark your creativity.

Follow the Industry News

The last bit of advice is to keep up with relevant industry news. Perhaps there is an upcoming conference that you wish to attend? Or maybe you have been looking forward to new graphic design software or a tablet that would improve your work? Do not miss out on such things by following what is happening in the graphic design world.
How to Become a Better Graphic Designer  How to Become a Better Graphic Designer Reviewed by Opus Web Design on September 09, 2021 Rating: 5

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