Graphic Design is a field that many high school students find slightly intimidating when they consider it as a possible career path. Many students have taken art classes and want to pursue a career that involves creativity, aesthetic sense and use of color. Graphic design certainly uses all these things, but it’s quite different from fine art. High Schoolers who are looking to get into Graphic Design and get a jump start before going to school for it should consider the following:
Learn to work well with others
Because graphic design involves clients. Clients who are paying for you to create something that meets their needs. You will have to work at helping them express their needs and in some cases persuade them that an approach they didn’t consider might be better. You will also have to learn that what you want might not be what they need.
Learn to research
Not just research you might do for a term paper. Big time research. Product categories, other competing brands and designs. Past designs. Visuals and color palates that fit the bill. Remember, this is about creating something new that will separate the client from their competitors or get the message across that they are trying to express. You’ll also need to do research on the audience that the design is intended to affect. So doing the homework on all these is a very integral part of design
Always be learning
The tools and technology of design change rather rapidly, so you cannot be content with just learning a limited set of software. As a designer, you will be constantly updating software and you will need to learn how those changes affect your workflow. You will also have to keep up with new technologies in web, print and other media as well. You can’t afford to quit learning after school is over. The best designers simply keep a healthy level of curiosity about what’s going on in the world of design. It keeps them up-to-date and ready to provide a wider range of offerings to potential clients.
Start playing with code NOW
Graphic designers are asked to design in a multitude of mediums. That includes the web, applications and a number of other areas that may not result in physical designs you can hold in your hand. The more you learn about code and can integrate it into your toolkit, the more versatile and valuable you will be seen as a designer.
Always be on the look-out for design. Train yourself to find good designs in everyday life and capture them. Keep a journal of these designs and always ask yourself why it’s good. What about the design works? If you see bad design, capture it as well and delve into why it doesn’t. While you are at it, redesign those bad pieces based on what you think might need to be fixed. This kind of journaling should be a constant process. That sketchbook and basic drawing tools should be with you all the time. Design is all around you. Being continually aware of it opens you up to new ways of thinking and doing. That’s how you get a leg-up in design.
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