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How did you get your start doing graphics designer work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

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signguy in Vallejo, California

63 months ago

Isabel in Honolulu, Hawaii said: Best way to start is to be a Graphic Artist FIRST. Don't expect to be a Graphic DESIGNER right away because it is a different level altogether. LEarn the ropes of the real world first. Start at the end of the line not in the middle. Start with a sign company or a small print shop who needs people who can use the BASIC softwares like Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Believe me, if you start learning the "production" part of the "industry" first, there's a better chance of getting your foot wet in the graphic design world. This small shops are teeming with business opportunities and contacts. Nobody will hire a Graphic designer who doesn't even know the basics of printing and production.

There isn't much difference between artist and designer these days. Basic knowledge of the Adobe big 3 won't get you into a sign shop especially when most use CorelDraw and various rips, print shops are even more varied with their software applications. Better know typography and specifically kerning.

What's truly sad is most employers clump print & web designers into one position. I refuse to do anything with the web.

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mad in Lynchburg, Virginia

62 months ago

To get a job in todays market without a degree would be harder then if you had a degree. Even degree applicants are having a tough time getting hired because of the steep competition and because the companies now want the applicant to know 2 jobs in one like graphic and web design, sometimes even programming to have a basic design job. If your a naturally gifted designer then you shouldn't have a tough time finding a job or freelancing, but for people who want to learn design you should learn from others at a school. And yes you will be paying back the loan for a while but if you love to design you shouldn't have a hard time doing something like freelancing, owning your own business, or finding a J-O-B!

There are probably classes that aren't accredited that you can find in your town or online without signing up for a 2-4 year degree and paying that loan back.

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Achieve in San Marcos, California

60 months ago

a real designer in Saint Louis, Missouri said: No you do not have to have a degree in design, The only people who will tell you that are the ones who did not have enough talent or creativity and had to have someone teach them. If design is what you want to do you have two choices: 1. You can go to college and get your degree and then spen 90% of the money you make to pay back your school loan or 2: get some real experence teah yourself the software and be confident about your skills and get a design job!

Going to school goes beyond just learning about design. Also, there are many creative people you will meet in school and would actually push you to better your work. Some of the people I have known from school are actually doing great in their chosen field, and a few actually ended up teaching in universities. If you do decided to go to school. You have to research the school you plan on attending, and ask yourself if you want to be in a program the is strictly graphic design courses or be in a Art program with emphasize in arts and technology. I think it's nice to know different media and computer software as well. Remember education is something that can't never be taken away from you.

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