Is a Career in Graphic Design Right for You?
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I am a graphic designer and work for a local publishing company. I have worked in this field for almost 20 years. I am responsible for a wide variety of job functions within this position.
Although my title is graphic designer, I am also responsible for typesetting magazine and book texts. Other responsibilities include cover art for books, magazines, various advertisements, CD and DVD covers.
Most people outside of the industry would probably assume that I deal mostly with artwork, but as I have mentioned, I have to work with other programs in order to do my particular job.
On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate my job a 10. I am very happy with my position. I have worked very hard in this field as far as continuing my education and keeping up with technological advances in order to keep my designs on the cutting edge.
I also have the luxury of doing my job from the comfort of my own living room and am therefore able not only to make a decent living doing something I love to do, but I am also able to stay at home and be completely involved and available when it comes to raising my children.
This job does not necessarily move my heart, but I do feel proud when I walk into a bookstore or news stand and see cover art that I created.
I am also the director of my department; therefore, all the artwork done by the other graphic designers on my team must come through me for approval. So my hand is always involved in the artwork, even if I did not create the initial job.
If you asked me how unique my job situation was ten years ago, I would reply that my working from home definitely fit into that category; however, telecommuting has become so commonplace these days that I no longer fit into the “unique” category.
I started my career in design almost 20 years ago working in the same job I am at today. Although I had minimal experience compared to what I have now, I was fortunate to be able to grow in this position.
I lucked out when I started this particular job in that my boss allowed me to grow with the company; therefore, I would not go back to change a thing. I could not have asked for a better opportunity than the one I was handed.
I get up and go to work each day for obvious reasons such as providing for my family, but I really enjoy my job and love seeing a project germinate from an idea to the finished product.
Some of my proudest moments in this field have been when I see my work in print, knowing that countless others will also see it, and hopefully enjoy it.
Deadlines are probably the biggest challenge I deal with consistently in my field. Not only do I have time constraints as far as when a particular magazine or book is expected to print, but I also have to deal with inter-office deadlines in which I have to depend on my team to have a design completed and ready for approval by a certain time.
Most of the time this process will go off without a hitch; however, the times when it does not can make you a wreck.
As I mentioned, I work from home which, for the most part, allows me to maintain a healthy work-life balance. There are times, however, when I am crunched for time and have to work more than usual, and then there are the times that I take working from home for granted and decide I would prefer not to get out of my pajamas on that particular day.
Base salary for a graphic designer varies. You could start in the $40,000.00 range, but if you are a seasoned designer with an impressive portfolio, you could easily start at $65,000.00. Salary will basically fluctuate according to geography as well as experience.
I would encourage anyone who is considering a job in this field to go for it if you have a flair for design, an eye for creativity, and a general knowledge of the various computer programs necessary for this particular line of work.
Also, take advantage of any continuing education classes you can in order to keep your artwork fresh and relevant.
If I could write my own ticket, I would be doing exactly what I am doing now in five years.
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