1: Gaining Your First Clients
I’ve seen so many people go through a long process of design before getting their first clients. So much time and effort go into trying to get work to be published, and in the end, not getting enough people to read the design or agree with the work. I’ve watched so many ambitious designers start to hole up in their hotel rooms, thinking, “I could be a successful become a graphic designer someday.”
But after months of writing (do you remember, designers, write? Regularly and obsessively?) and letting people know about your work to try to get traction, it all comes crashing down. Who reads graphic design articles anyway? What’s the point of all this work? As soon as you are ready to get a small amount of work done, you are offered your first, highly coveted, client. Congratulations! You’ve now risen to the top of the pile, and you’re on your way to becoming the next great graphic designer.
2: Adding Years To Your Career
Of course, designers spend a great deal of time creating their first designs, but this doesn’t mean you’re in the field to create pretty designs forever. Once your first clients understand what you do and start to fall in love with the ideas you’re working on, you’ll start the next stage of your career. I’ve seen designers who spent years developing their craft grow from an exciting beginning to a glamorous finish. Someone like Pablo Picasso spent years as a typographer trying to make something that was already there. The proof is in the pudding. Now I personally don’t have the time to go back to school to be a graphic designer (I’m at college now, and I’ve just recently graduated), but when I’m out, I’m working on projects that reveal how I believe in design as a totally different way.
3: Involving Family And Friends In Your Success
For so long, I’ve known so many talented designers that I admire and am inspired by. Not all designers are born good at design. So I want you to learn to create a life that also works for you. You are an individual with a life that has its own priorities and goals. If the idea of working a job has you asking, “What will I do with this money?” you have to focus on the positive side. If you value your time and your own time, then you will grow out of your insecurities and realize that you are doing what’s best for you. Remember that for some of the most successful designers out there, their success and their lifestyles were the results of a number of choices that have been made by peers, family, and friends. Get involved in these influences and you’ll continue to find inspiration.
4: Focusing On One Project At A Time
This is a general one, but as a designer, there will be projects that you actually love more than others. This is okay and completely normal. When this happens, it is a sign that you’re getting into the right place. Rather than trying to replicate your past successes, it’s best to focus on those goals and put yourself in a different situation altogether. For the sake of a good world for the future, look ahead and work towards that with your best focus and dedication.
5: Building Team Relationships
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make great contacts and friends in the graphic design community. Getting connected to friends and colleagues in this community will go a long way in making your living easier. I’ve seen so many people “continue” without taking the steps required to actually connect with other people on a new project. It happens, but not regularly and not consistently. So don’t let the best resources in the world burn you out with endless writing and thought. If you feel as though you’re needed on something, pick up the phone, and let someone know. I’ve worked with clients who weren’t the best candidates for the project they’d hired, but who taught me something to improve myself. This relationship worked because I showed the client I’m a great asset and told them who I was and what my skill set was.
6: On Top Of Your Time, Quality Work
Some designers are just given more time to work on their projects and leave it up to the systems to work out the complexity of the tasks. By the time they finish the project, they’ve usually already been cleared for the next project, and when they come back to the very same organization to do something new, everyone thinks it’s “old, tired work.” True, some clients can be difficult to work with, and you are going
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