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Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting in Design

November 12, 2021
May 1, 2023

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting in Design

Red Shark Digital

There are a ton of things that I love about being able to work in the graphic design field in Greenville, NC. However, with good there is always bad, unfortunately. As a freshman in college, I had a pretty loose idea of what graphic design was, but knew that it was what I wanted to do. As I have immersed myself into the world of design, I noticed that not everyone took the same path. Not everybody goes to school. Or they did, but went for something completely different. Maybe they started sketching logos for friends and family and slowly transitioned into design without even noticing.No matter what the case may be, the point remains the same - not everyone follows the same path. But what makes this interesting is that all of us can come together to share our experiences and, more than likely, someone else has experienced it as well. That is the nature of the job. Whether you are self-taught, have a degree, or just like to be creative - we all have advice to offer. I mention all this to share some of the things I have picked up over the years in hopes that maybe it will help someone who is just starting out. Here are my top three things I wish someone had told me before starting my career in graphic design.

Understand Your Software

These days, the majority of our design work takes place on the computer. Aside from initial sketches and rough drafts, I would say a good 80 percent of my time is spent bouncing around between four or five design programs. Personally, I learned Photoshop and Illustrator first and that is where I am most comfortable. However, they are not the only programs available - it does not matter what tool you use. If it works for you, awesome! What is more important than the tool itself, is your knowledge of the tool! Understanding the programs that you are using not only yields better results, but also faster results. Obviously you won’t be an expert your first time, but the more you use the programs day in and day out, you will slowly notice your proficiency take off. Be sure to experiment with unusual functions and tools within your programs as well - it is always nice to add a new technique under your belt.

Creative Block is REAL

At some point in your career, you will experience creative block - it is inevitable. It happens to all of us, and when it happens, all you want to do is bang your head against the wall. The best thing I have found to do is accept it. Accept it and move on. Do not procrastinate and never give up. Take some time to scroll through your socials, get some inspiration, and start again.Another way I like to ignite creativity is by completely turning off my “design brain” and stepping outside for a bit. It helps to get away from the glow of your screen, trust me. Music also helps me out a bunch. A lot of my ideas come from song lyrics or the certain way the beat makes me feel. Some prefer meditation but I can’t sit still that long. The sooner you accept that creative block is real, the faster you will come to conquer it.

Make Connections and Network

This is one that I am still working on myself. No matter how talented you might be, or how stacked your portfolio is, you won’t get many places by yourself. At some point, you will encounter a project that you need help with. This is where your networking and connecting comes into play. Other creatives you meet throughout your design journey can be more than just colleagues and friends. Sometimes they are the missing piece of the puzzle. There is no shame in asking your homie who codes to help you with development. Or your second grade best friend who owns a print shop to help you with filling a t-shirt order. Learn to reach out to people early and make valuable connections. Span different fields and use your strengths and weaknesses to your advantage. Whether you are starting your career as a young graphic designer, or have found a passion for creativity later in life one thing is for certain - it can be very intimidating. Try not to get overwhelmed and let things come naturally to you. Remember to practice using the programs and make friends with just about everyone you meet along the way. There are thousands of online resources and forums on the web that can help as you begin your journey with graphic design Greenville NC.

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