As the digitisation of business continues in earnest, it is important to make sure you prepare for it, and working towards a career in the digital world is very much a viable career path these days.
Whether you’re a business owner looking to improve your company’s digital footprint, or an individual seeking a fulfilling career, graphic design is definitely a path that you should consider. The best news is that it is absolutely possible to become a graphic designer without the need for a degree.
Graphic design gives you a unique opportunity to be a part of the creative process of driving a business forward, and helping to develop a unique and immersive piece of brand storytelling through a visual medium.
FindStack reports that, according to IBISWorld, freelance graphic designers make up around 90% of the entire industry, so this is absolutely a career path you can pursue as a freelancer.
This blog will look at what a graphic designer is, why it is an important job, and whether you can become a graphic designer without any degree.
What is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is an umbrella term for planning and projecting ideas and experiences via visual and textual content. Graphic designers take graphical and text elements, and implement them into different types of media.
Businesses use graphic designers as a core pillar of their modern marketing strategies, as they are essential for helping customers and potential consumers connect with the product or brand.
Graphic design is an essential component in being able to sell products or services via advertising in an array of creative ways. For example, things like websites, infographics, and social media adverts are key examples of how graphic design can be used to improve a company’s marketing strategy.
The use and importance of graphic design has grown over the past decade or so, since social media began to play a more prominent role in society. Indeed, IBISWorld reports that the global graphic design market is estimated at around $45 billion, and this number is sure to grow.
Why is it in Such High Demand?
According to studies from Research Gate, it is believed that it takes just 50 milliseconds for visitors to form an impression of your website. The need to make an instant impression and attract people to your brand is one of the factors that makes graphic designers so integral to businesses.
The importance of a strong online presence, and a unique digital footprint is such that businesses are looking for marginal gains wherever they can find them, and this is something that graphic design can help with significantly.
Whether the focus is on improving UI design, updating branding, or making sure social media marketing campaigns stand out, graphic designers play an important role in all businesses these days.
How the World of Graphic Design is Evolving
As the world of technology evolves, so does the world of graphic design. Understanding the role this will play in 2023 and beyond is hugely important for being able to keep your finger on the pulse.
The growth of digital presence for businesses has led to an increase in demand for graphic designers, with the decade from 2012-2022 seeing a 12% rise in demand for graphic designers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This suggests that the demand will rise even more in the future.
In the UK, the average salary for a graphic designer starts at just shy of £24,000 and can go up as high as £35,000 depending upon experience. This is a career path with plenty of opportunity and room for growth.
Becoming a Graphic Designer Without a Degree
Contrary to what you might believe, it is entirely possible to become a graphic designer without the need for a degree, but it might be harder work for you to get to where you want to be.
Understanding the fundamentals of graphic design is a hugely important part of this process, and there are some excellent options here, such as studying guides to help you self-study graphic design.
There are plenty of options open to you these days to learn all about graphic design, and to become a graphic designer, without having to go to university and get a degree.
There are plenty of books you can study about graphic design that will help you to learn the ropes and understand the process. This is essential when trying to carve out a career in this industry.
When looking for the best books that will teach you graphic design, there are a few favourites, but these ranks as 5 of the best:
- Grid Systems in Graphic Design, Joseph Müller-Brockmann
- Logo: The Reference Guide to Symbols and Logotypes, Michael Evamy
- The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst
- How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul, Adrian Shaughnessy
Watch YouTube Videos
YouTube is such an invaluable and untapped resource these days that it is vital to make sure you use it as much as you can. There are lots of different options for YouTube channels and video courses that you can check out that will help with this.
Additionally, you should look into taking some more in-depth graphic design courses via Udemy, or other online learning portals. This is an excellent way of being able to gain experience in your own time, and then acquire the knowledge to implement it.
According to One Hour Professor, 15% of digital marketers will hire graphic design freelancers, which might not seem like a lot, but there’s a growing niche there. Learning graphic design helps put you in the strongest position to be able to make use of this.
Here are some of the best graphic design courses that you can take to help you learn what it takes to excel in this profession:
- The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course (Udemy)
- Graphic Design (Colorado Boulder)
- Graphic Design Theory (Yes I’m A Designer)
- Graphic Design Tips & Tricks (LinkedIn Learning)
Build an Online Portfolio
You also need to look at what you can do to build an online portfolio, and start making a name for yourself as a graphic designer. This is an important process, and one that might take a while, but you need to get it right.
There are a number of options for you to consider here, and setting up a Wix or Squarespace website to showcase your work would be a great idea.
It is also important to look for some of the best ways of being able to build an online portfolio of work, and starting small on Fiverr with things like logo design would be a great place to begin.
One of the best and most effective ways of developing graphic design opportunities is through networking. Based on figures from Forbes in 2021, 85% of job vacancies are filled via networking.
As you are starting out in the world of graphic design, and you need to ensure you are developing opportunities as much as possible, it is essential to network where possible.
You could do this in person or online, but it is important to reach out and connect with like-minded people, and those in the industry. This is something that can create unexpected opportunities for work.
Different Types of Graphic Design
There are several different types of graphic design that you could try your hand at. These will give you plenty of options in terms of pursuing a career in the right way, and finding a particular niche that can help you to explore graphic design.
Moving into a creative career path is a highly rewarding step, and this is something that you can achieve as a graphic designer. There are seven different types of graphic design that you might consider going into.
➢ Product design
Designing and developing new products is a key part of what you can do as a graphic designer, and this will include things like products, packaging, marketing strategies, and prototypes.
➢ Branding design
Branding design is focused on visual identity, and making sure that everything is uniform as much as possible. This means focusing on website branding, logos, business cards, signage, and more.
➢ Website design
Website design is one of the core areas of graphic design that is integral for business growth and success. This is a great way of being able to flex your creative muscles as a graphic designer.
➢ Print design
Graphic designers are well-versed at being able to develop and design cutting-edge brochures, flyers, stickers, billboards, and more to help with business promotion.
➢ Publishing design
Publishing is a great industry for graphic designers to enter into, and there are loads of amazing creative opportunities here. Creating eye-catching book covers, as well as looking at e-book layout and design are just a couple of the key things that will help you with this.
➢ Environmental design
Environmental graphic design is about working in harmony with the surrounding landscape in order to create signs, maps, and other important visual components.
➢ Animation design
Video game and cartoon animation is the order of the day for graphic designers seeking a foray into animation design.
Becoming a graphic designer is a creative, fun and fulfilling career path, and one that you can enter into without the need for a degree.
There are plenty of great reasons why you should be a graphic designer, and we at Nippy Brands showcase many of the ways in which graphic design can bring brands and campaigns to life.