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This, not That : Graphic Design Edition

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

The graphic design world is a complex one, with several tools and ways of operation. It can be tough as a newbie in the game to navigate the best way to go about things. Well, you're in luck! In this post, we'll go over some of the most important things to keep in mind when in the graphic design field. So whether you're new to graphic design or just need a refresher, keep reading for some helpful tips.

Illustrator, not Canva.

As a designer, I understand the value of using tools to save time and money. Canva is one such resource for designers on-the-go who want some basic designs without having pay an arm and leg just because they need them now - which might be why it has so many users! I even use it myself for my social media assets. However...if you're looking into becoming professional or working your way up through various levels within advertising agencies then you’ve got to learn Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is the design industry standard for creating custom graphics and is essential in making scalable and clear artwork files. Whether you’re wanting to full time freelance or go into an agency, a serious client or company looking to hire a graphic designer will not be pleased with the extent of your tools being Canva.

Upwork, not Contests.

Freelancer has evolved and come a long way since I used it right out of college, but they still have one aspect of their website that irks me. Freelancer’s Contests are essentially a prompt put up by a company and freelancers design out their best submission and the winner gets paid for their work. There are many frustrating points to this, but the biggest one is you’re spending hours of your valuable time on something with a decreasing odd of being compensated. It’s simply not worth it. Do your own prompt or passion projects for your portfolio so they have some worth even if they aren’t being paid, but never do work with a 1/100 chance of being compensated when you’re looking for a chance at some income.

Get deposits, not promises.

It doesn’t matter who you’re working for, you better be asking for deposits. Its certainly not unlikely that you’ll find yourself working for friends, family, and especially friends of family. I’m not telling you to not work for family, but I am telling you to keep your backbone when you do. Deposits protect you from your time being a total loss if things go awry, no matter who it is. Almost every graphic designer will have at least one story of a nightmare client, being stiffed, or doing loads of work just to never be compensated fairly. Its a rite of passage, but you can minimize the string by always requiring deposits - not to mention a contract.

So, there you have it! The do’s and don’ts of graphic design. Hopefully this will help you out as you venture into the wonderful world of graphic design. Remember to always use illustrator instead of canva, and Upwork rather than contests. And finally, be sure to ask for deposits up front – that way you won’t get burned by broken promises. Thanks for reading, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more digestible content like this!

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