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View Full Version : How to get a job in the Graphic Design world?




SamIchi
Sep 17, 2007, 10:15 AM
Basically for the past 4 months (on and off) I've been looking to get a job that has something related to graphic design. Besides having gone to school for Fine Arts I have no experience in the digital design world. Could I still get a job with a graphics company? I am not goin to school this semester and I'm working as a copy center associate for OfficeMax. This job has a very small relation to what I actually want to do, or should I say pretty much non-existent.

Any tips for me? I've pretty much asked every local design company in my city that I could find. I wrote them E-mails askin' for intern positions but no avail. I've signed up for, pretty much every job site, but the "design" category is always limited and if one does show up, it's for very experienced positions. I've done freelance work but that's only been for my my brother's web design company. I'm thankful for them since it's the only work i've done in the field.

What do you guys think? Should I just work my retail job till I go back to school? I don't want to write this off as a failed goal... but due to my lack of experience and education I guess there's no other option?

Opinions, suggestions, experiences all welcome. Thanks



djbahdow01
Sep 17, 2007, 10:49 AM
Keep plugging away at it. It took me more than a year to land a 40 hour a week design job after graduating school. Do what you need to do, and keep looking. Take a look at guru.com, sologig.com, careerbuilder, monster and craigslist. Depending on how far you are looking to travel that could be something that holds you back. Otherwise keep up with the freelance work and just try and pick up small projects.

Keep doing what you are doing eventually things will work out. being a copy center associate, should help it is somewhat related, remember Graphic Designers primarily work in print.

Also take a look at the local printers looking for prepress help or any job at a printer, as you could eventually move up. Don't just look for graphic designer "jobs" look at graphic artist, production artist, etc. It will broaden your search and you might find something.

Basically for the past 4 months (on and off) I've been looking to get a job that has something related to graphic design. Besides having gone to school for Fine Arts I have no experience in the digital design world. Could I still get a job with a graphics company? I am not goin to school this semester and I'm working as a copy center associate for OfficeMax. This job has a very small relation to what I actually want to do, or should I say pretty much non-existent.

Any tips for me? I've pretty much asked every local design company in my city that I could find. I wrote them E-mails askin' for intern positions but no avail. I've signed up for, pretty much every job site, but the "design" category is always limited and if one does show up, it's for very experienced positions. I've done freelance work but that's only been for my my brother's web design company. I'm thankful for them since it's the only work i've done in the field.

What do you guys think? Should I just work my retail job till I go back to school? I don't want to write this off as a failed goal... but due to my lack of experience and education I guess there's no other option?

Opinions, suggestions, experiences all welcome. Thanks

Jasonbot
Sep 17, 2007, 11:52 AM
Doesn't deviant art help aspiring graphic designers very much by exposing their works to the public (who could be people looking for graphic designers)?

SamIchi
Sep 17, 2007, 12:42 PM
Keep plugging away at it. It took me more than a year to land a 40 hour a week design job after graduating school. Do what you need to do, and keep looking. Take a look at guru.com, sologig.com, careerbuilder, monster and craigslist. Depending on how far you are looking to travel that could be something that holds you back. Otherwise keep up with the freelance work and just try and pick up small projects.

I've looked through all those sites. I guess I'll keep lookin'.

Keep doing what you are doing eventually things will work out. being a copy center associate, should help it is somewhat related, remember Graphic Designers primarily work in print.

I've been there for roughly a month now and haven't seen anything along those lines. All our customers are either business people who need prints and copies or people who don't know anything about print and stuff.

Also take a look at the local printers looking for prepress help or any job at a printer, as you could eventually move up. Don't just look for graphic designer "jobs" look at graphic artist, production artist, etc. It will broaden your search and you might find something.

Thanks for the pointers :)

Doesn't deviant art help aspiring graphic designers very much by exposing their works to the public (who could be people looking for graphic designers)?

It has a forum for freelance gigs, other than that I haven't seen anything along the lines of finding a job.

murdock25
Sep 17, 2007, 04:58 PM
have you tried newspapers? Around here they're always looking for production artists. Good place to start and learn.

ChicoWeb
Sep 17, 2007, 05:10 PM
I started out with craigslist to be honest. I worked for considerably less until I could build my portfolio. After a year of hard work, I was able to pull my prices to normal and start a business with it. I owe it all to the list!

ChicoWeb
Sep 17, 2007, 05:11 PM
When I say considerably less, I guess in terms of what I make today. Then I was doing sites for say 10-20 an hour, which of course has been replaced :)

DrBunsenHoneyde
Sep 17, 2007, 05:47 PM
Every artist should have a dA account even if you have a website. I have had alot of work from having my work on their and people contacting me. its a cheap alternative to a portfolio :)

MorzillA
Sep 17, 2007, 05:52 PM
Working in the PRESS/PRINT area is a good start, it teaches you the basics of print, color, especially the CMYK formula and the esential tools for print, yes, most of your costumers will be folks who want copies, BC, color copies etc, etc, et.....yawwwwwwn, but don't fret take all this in and make sure you become better at it.
Keep open lines (communication) with clients, you never know who will walk in, and be that key to the Graphic Design job you are looking for. That is why you should always be friendly and very helpfull with costumers, even the irritating ones. These retail jobs are more than we think they are!!!
Also see if you can get any info (print, mags, etc. etc.) on copy machine and print products, different types of paper, their weight, color, producers, Knowing this is also key later on in Graphic Design. Again learn as much as possible on what is print and copying!!
I noticed that you went to school......try to go back, even if it's with some one you know, there is so much in Graphic Design that is not learn in places like Office Max, Kinko's, and so forth. Graphic Design is more than creating BC, Ads, Posters and Flyers. Graphic Design involves many aspects of the art world, from creating menues to even creating fonts, and as far as working in a news paper doing columns for the front page, to even touching up a photograph for a magazine like Rolling Stones!
I started doing this while at home, making seasonal cards (MOM "asked" me) then I got lucky and got a job at an art store where I had the great pleasure of learning about paper, and even the Pantone colors which are used in Graphic Design.
Then I applied to New World School of the Arts (NWSA) where I am still trying to get my BFA in Graphic Design, even as some people given up on me I still continue to pursue it!
If you have any spare time at home look into various AD agencies and see their products, in print, and video as well. Look into schooling, Graphic Design is a lot of hard work especially if you can work using the old school way, when computers didn't excist! knowing how and beign able to work in both the new and old school will make you a very and I do mean VERY especial Graphic Designer.
And lastly if this is what your heart of hearts wants, never give up and never regret!
Any more advice, PM me!

Good Luck !!!
:cool:


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apfhex
Sep 17, 2007, 07:47 PM
I'm in the same position as the OP. I graduated this spring and I've been looking on sites like Craigslist (seems to have the highest amount of postings in my area compared to anything else). I talked to someone at a print shop looking for prepress/website stuff (which I would have enjoyed), but never heard back from them. :rolleyes: :(

SamIchi
Sep 17, 2007, 09:17 PM
Working in the PRESS/PRINT area is a good start, it teaches you...

Thankyas for the lengthy reply, greatly appreciated.

I do plan on going back to school. It was a mistake that I took this semester off, but I can't do anything about that now. Right when the semester started I was kickin' myself cause I don't like work and would rather be in school.

I plan on going back for Industrial/Product design, and Graphic design will be my fall back. I can't wait to get back to school.

ChicoWeb
Sep 17, 2007, 11:47 PM
Sometimes, you have to create your own opportunities. :D

tummytree
Sep 18, 2007, 05:33 AM
You know, I started writing this long message then i said to myself...I don;t know this guy, why do i want him in the design arena. One less 2 year college wanna be trying to take clients from the real graphic artist. Regardless, let me point you at the starting point at least.

If you are talented and are good and if you are serious. You need to get this book first, The 11th Edition Graphic Artists Guild Handbook:
Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. This book will tell you everything about the work and jobs in graphic design. From preparing for a job, to talking to a client. What are fair prices and what is expected of you. It's a great tool and hopefully helps you focus on what you want to do in the vast world of design.

MorzillA
Sep 18, 2007, 10:02 AM
You know, I started writing this long message then i said to myself...I don;t know this guy, why do i want him in the design arena. One less 2 year college wanna be trying to take clients from the real graphic artist. Regardless, let me point you at the starting point at least.

If you are talented and are good and if you are serious. You need to get this book first, The 11th Edition Graphic Artists Guild Handbook:
Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. This book will tell you everything about the work and jobs in graphic design. From preparing for a job, to talking to a client. What are fair prices and what is expected of you. It's a great tool and hopefully helps you focus on what you want to do in the vast world of design.

YES!!! I have seen/heard of that book, my Type, Design teacher (now Dean) told us about that book! I highly recommend that book!!
And dont worry about missing a semester, I'm in the same boat!
checked out your site, I must say, Highly impressed at your versatility of body of work, as stated by tummytree If you are talented and are good and if you are serious Looks like you are in the right path there! plus having an afinity and talent for GRAPH never hurts!!



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oscuh
Sep 18, 2007, 11:35 AM
Sorry, all the design jobs are taken *L*

Seriously though, as someone who has no experience with the software, you've got a tough road ahead of you. Try to get CS2 (since it's less expensive) and start learning the programs. Without knowing the apps, I would never hire you.

I got into this field because I knew how to run a Mac and had desire, but those opportunities are few and far between.

Beyond that, seminars, classes, etc ... you need SOME experience. your average advertising agency won't do OTJ training. Get a little experience, and then try for a newspaper job ... great way to learn and get real-world experience.

MorzillA
Sep 18, 2007, 11:54 AM
Sorry, all the design jobs are taken *L*

Seriously though, as someone who has no experience with the software, you've got a tough road ahead of you. Try to get CS2 (since it's less expensive) and start learning the programs. Without knowing the apps, I would never hire you.

I got into this field because I knew how to run a Mac and had desire, but those opportunities are few and far between.

Beyond that, seminars, classes, etc ... you need SOME experience. your average advertising agency won't do OTJ training. Get a little experience, and then try for a newspaper job ... great way to learn and get real-world experience.

I agree there, in this bussiness you either have it [experience] or you don't, and as i stated b4, if you can pull off creating....ohhh lets say logo design from scratch to finish without using a computer you can handle the rest without that xtra hard effort!!
Dont let this discourage you, keep at it and don't let enything get you down!



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fredricktoo
Sep 20, 2007, 03:14 PM
try the tempory agencies and employment agencies. Get Sundays newspaper and mail and fax everyone listing work. If you need to sharpen any skills, try evening classes and network with the teachers.

Be careful with pre-press and printing. It's very time sensitive and gut wrenching at times. I know. I managed two different shifts. second shift and graveyard shift.

Good luck

andy.barron
Sep 20, 2007, 03:29 PM
Don't ever give up would be my 2 penny worth (note the change of currency!)

I did a Graphic design diploma back over the pond & started off at a one man band printer. I owe where I am to that experience, deadlines are god not fannying about with minor tweaks cos you think it & you could be better... I now run a studio of roughly 20 people.

Try these sort of small printers & especially instant print shops (OK copies & the such are a large part of what they do but the experience is priceless).

I agree with the previous post, treat your customers with respect & manners, thay may be your next employ!

Best of luck chap.

JasonElise1983
Sep 20, 2007, 05:14 PM
Well, here is my story, you tell me if this helps you out.

I've been in college for 7 years...the whole time going for a Studio Art Degree with an emphasis in Graphic Design. 6 years ago, i started working at a magazine as an intern while i was in school. Loved the job, but the internship was only supposed to last a semester at school. Realizing i loved what i was doing and didn't want to give it up, i worked my ass off and became the first intern they ever had that they let be in charge of desiging an entire special publication by their self. After that they asked me to stay on as a Production Assistant when my internship ran out. I did that for 1 year, completely working my ass off when they offered me a position as a "graphic designer" on a part-time basis..since i was in school and paid me well for it. I continuted to work my ass off and i took on more hats and more hats, and began to have so much responsibilty up there (l/o of half the magazine, l/o of half the ads in the magazine, going on photoshoots, writing a column of my own, illustration work, etc....) that i failed out of school two semesters in a row. Totally my fault, but i was in the job to win it. After working there for 4 years, i found that not only was i doing more work than most people on staff, i was being paid way less than everyone, and i wanted more than magazine design. So, with my 4 years of experience there, i shopped my part-time self around to local ad agencies...and voila...i now work as a Production Artist at an ad agency making more money than i did there, and enjoying my job a whole lot more. Doing ads for real clients, and still working my ass off, but am also focused on finishing school this next semester.

So, the moral of my story is...experience is everything. I knew from day 1 that magazine design was not my calling...but, i did it for 4.5 years to build experience. Get a job at a newspaper somwhere at the bottom. Look into internships. When i did my internship it was for $5.15/hr and that was the only money me and my wife had coming into our house other than student loans and pale grants. it's worth it if you want it and are good at it. Not only do i work at an ad agency, i'm also working my way up the freelance design ladder around here. I've won awards, and scholarships for my work, and i always bring it back to the experience i have. It's not hard to get a job in this field, it's hard to get the job you want in this field. Start at the bottom...and work your way up.

-JE

MorzillA
Sep 20, 2007, 08:21 PM
Well, here is my story, you tell me if this helps you out.

I've been in college for 7 years...the whole time going for a Studio Art Degree with an emphasis in Graphic Design. 6 years ago, i started working at a magazine as an intern while i was in school. Loved the job, but the internship was only supposed to last a semester at school. Realizing i loved what i was doing and didn't want to give it up, i worked my ass off and became the first intern they ever had that they let be in charge of desiging an entire special publication by their self. After that they asked me to stay on as a Production Assistant when my internship ran out. I did that for 1 year, completely working my ass off when they offered me a position as a "graphic designer" on a part-time basis..since i was in school and paid me well for it. I continuted to work my ass off and i took on more hats and more hats, and began to have so much responsibilty up there (l/o of half the magazine, l/o of half the ads in the magazine, going on photoshoots, writing a column of my own, illustration work, etc....) that i failed out of school two semesters in a row. Totally my fault, but i was in the job to win it. After working there for 4 years, i found that not only was i doing more work than most people on staff, i was being paid way less than everyone, and i wanted more than magazine design. So, with my 4 years of experience there, i shopped my part-time self around to local ad agencies...and voila...i now work as a Production Artist at an ad agency making more money than i did there, and enjoying my job a whole lot more. Doing ads for real clients, and still working my ass off, but am also focused on finishing school this next semester.

So, the moral of my story is...experience is everything. I knew from day 1 that magazine design was not my calling...but, i did it for 4.5 years to build experience. Get a job at a newspaper somwhere at the bottom. Look into internships. When i did my internship it was for $5.15/hr and that was the only money me and my wife had coming into our house other than student loans and pale grants. it's worth it if you want it and are good at it. Not only do i work at an ad agency, i'm also working my way up the freelance design ladder around here. I've won awards, and scholarships for my work, and i always bring it back to the experience i have. It's not hard to get a job in this field, it's hard to get the job you want in this field. Start at the bottom...and work your way up.

-JE

:eek: wow and here I thought I was the only person doing a seven year stretch at college! Your story is very inspiring and it rings so true!
I can't say that I have had such luck but I can relate to some of the things you have mentioned! I'm trully glad that you have achieved what you have sought and you are still in it!! :cool:



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flrazor
Sep 20, 2007, 10:04 PM
Let me add some experience as well to the mix:

I have been working as a designer and prepress op for a small commercial printer for almost a year now, and getting to this point has been a long road. I was set on working on web sites when I got into school, but I realized quickly that my work in graphics and production made me a lot happier and I stuck with that. I spent 2 years after college working part time and sending out resumes every week trying to get a design job or even something related.

Advice I have to offer: Connections get jobs. Job hunting is tough, but having someone looking out for you is a huge asset. Ask friends or customers you have a good relationship with if they know of anything out there for a designer. College/school organizations, professional groups, user groups, all good places to meet people not only with similar interests but also diverse backgrounds and grow your social circles. The more people you know, the better your chances. I've heard of more jobs through friends and people I went to school with than in any paper or job site.

It's been said before, but printing/production knowledge can be HUGE as a designer! You'd be surprised how many small business (and even corporate) designers out there know little to nothing about the printing process. You learn tons as you go too, solving issues and fixing other people's work. I've learned more in the last year than I ever knew existed about printing.

Doing freelance work is a big plus to flex your skills and get experience from a variety of different clients. Freelance clients make good job references too when it comes to applying for jobs.

I also highly recommend checking on any state/local sponsored job assistance programs. Minnesota has a really good network set up to help skilled people find jobs and a lot of good employers go to them. It's not just set up for people who aren't working or have no prospects, they're looking for professionals in all sorts of fields.

Good luck, and don't give up. It's a really fast paced field and in a lot of places the turnover is really low, so it just takes time for positions to open up. The experience you are building now is going to help later, even if it doesn't seem like it right now. Hope that I've been able to offer something useful for you.

JasonElise1983
Sep 21, 2007, 11:14 AM
:eek: wow and here I thought I was the only person doing a seven year stretch at college! Your story is very inspiring and it rings so true!
I can't say that I have had such luck but I can relate to some of the things you have mentioned! I'm trully glad that you have achieved what you have sought and you are still in it!! :cool:



:apple:

7 years in college is a long time. I"m almost done myself, and it's driving me crazy. It always makes it worse when the agency i work for reminds me that there is an Art Director position waiting on me when i graduate. http://images.macrumors.com/vb/images/smilies/biggrin.gif but...i have to graduate. ugh

-JE

MorzillA
Sep 21, 2007, 02:20 PM
Ask friends or customers you have a good relationship with if they know of anything out there for a designer.

Not only that but if can get away with it use it to do minor jobs for yourself, some one is bound to see and recognice that you are doing something and they might offer a lil job for you, even if it's doing something that is super easy!

When working in the art store I was asked to do some Caligraphy Work for a costumer who came. I was also asked to do a reproduction of a painting (need less to say that did not worked out). And was even recomended a few times by others!!

It's been said before, but printing/production knowledge can be HUGE as a designer! You'd be surprised how many small business (and even corporate) designers out there know little to nothing about the printing process. You learn tons as you go too, solving issues and fixing other people's work. I've learned more in the last year than I ever knew existed about printing.

I have used the B/W copiers @ work as well the Color copier @ my last job and I have been able to use them to do great finals as well as other projects in verious tones/colors!

Doing freelance work is a big plus to flex your skills and get experience from a variety of different clients. Freelance clients make good job references too when it comes to applying for jobs.

I was refered to some one by a Dancer friend of mine whom I did some work for, Saddly my equiptment was down that one time!! and that was going to be a nice $$gig$$ too!!



7 years in college is a long time. I"m almost done myself, and it's driving me crazy. It always makes it worse when the agency i work for reminds me that there is an Art Director position waiting on me when i graduate. http://images.macrumors.com/vb/images/smilies/biggrin.gif but...i have to graduate. ugh

-JE

The agency has acknoldge your great talent and efforts in your field, Since they are willing to offer you that position I am sure that they can also wait till you graduate. I have seen many people leave school for a higher position in their jobs. Later on as they eventually move on to another job experience is the only thing they have to show for when a "title" is your left hand, exp. is your right hand!

Good luck how many semesters/classes you have till your done!?

JasonElise1983
Sep 23, 2007, 02:18 PM
Good luck how many semesters/classes you have till your done!?


Spring will be my last semester. I'm taking 16 hours this semester and i'll be taking 15 in the spring. Sadly, i'm done with all my Graphic Design and Minor classes. I'm just taking the stuff i irresponsibly put off until the end. :confused:

-JE

MorzillA
Sep 24, 2007, 10:44 AM
Spring will be my last semester. I'm taking 16 hours this semester and i'll be taking 15 in the spring. Sadly, i'm done with all my Graphic Design and Minor classes. I'm just taking the stuff i irresponsibly put off until the end. :confused:

-JE


yeah.....that's a killer! I'm doing all my math now, after these two are done I can then concentrate on my BFA!!!!

so your pulling major hours in school!!?? wow big congrats on that, yeah I know it's not easy and the workload is overwelming but since you will be done in the spring then look forward that!!

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