Considered working as a junior designer for a small firm? This interview will take you down the career path of a graphic designer including the ups and downs you may experience in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is a true career story as told to GraphicDesignJobs.org, which lists interviews with different types of Graphic Design professionals, including a graphic artist, a freelance artist, and everything in between.
My current position is a junior designer role at a local sign shop in my hometown. I have been employed for almost one year and a half as of the time of this writing.
The three adjectives that would best describe myself are "Creative," "Determined" and "Enthusiastic." I say that because I love to help create designs that are fun to look at. I am also determined to succeed at this line of work because it has taken me many years to get to where I am today.
I am a 32-year old male of mixed ethnicity. My father is of Irish-Welsh heritage. My mother was a Mexican American. I have experienced some discrimination by some younger employers because they seem to think people over the age of 30 aren't hip or good enough to be a graphic design professional.
This hasn't deterred me to do what I enjoy. I found work with a middle aged couple who understands what it's like to have your age used against you when you look for a job. As a result, I haven't let age discrimination stand in the way of enjoying my work.
As a junior designer, my job is to lay out pages, edit and design logos and edit text. Some people might think it's sort of a thankless job because your bosses usually pawn off these tasks on you.However, I don't mind doing these things because I can spend time tinkering with designs until they look just the way I want them to look.
I currently make about $20,500 a year. It may not seem like much of a salary. However, I get five weeks of paid vacation a year. I also get to take most holidays off with pay. So I guess you can say the salary and perks I receive are pretty nice to have.
If I had to rate my job satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, it would have to be a 10! I love what I do because it allows me to use my creativity to bring designs to life. I love what I do because I feel like I've finally found my true calling.
I say that because I have been an economist, a freelance writer and a sales clerk. None of those jobs have given me the same satisfaction I get from doing the work I do now. I feel this way because most employers I've worked for always seemed to be interested in their clients' best interests instead of helping their employees succeed.
I got my start working in this field by completing a standard two-year graphic design degree at a junior college in my hometown. I had no previous experience working with graphics so it felt like being in Kindergarten again.
That being said, it was fun learning about all of the techniques and tools you need to work in the graphic design industry because you could see how those things are used each day in your work. Once I finished my first year in the program, I did an internship with a friend of mine who's a graphic design artist. He taught me some techniques that can help you save time while working on projects. They have come in handy because they have allowed me to use Photoshop and other tools more efficiently.
After I finished the program, it took me about five months to find the job I currently have. If I had to do things over again, I would have started looking for a job about 3-4 months before I graduated. It would have made things easier. But I guess some people have to learn the hard way, right?
I go to work everyday because I truly enjoy my work. I love playing around with different shapes, fonts and colors to see how they can be combined to create something that is pleasing to look at. I also love my job because I can listen to ballgames while drinking as much soda as I please. What more could you need from your work?
If you'd like to become a graphic designer, it's a good idea to learn all you can about Photoshop, Quark Xpress and other software packages that help you manipulate images. It's also a good idea to learn all you can about form, shapes and perspective. Learning these things can help you succeed in this line of work because most firms expect you to know how to use these tools.
In addition, you might want to take a couple of English composition courses because graphic designers usually have to write instructions or memos to colleagues.
If I had to tell a friend about my line of work, I'd tell him that you should go in to this field if you love to create things. I say that because you're not going to make a ton of money right away working in this field. The people who make the most money in this field are senior designers and art directors who have been in the field for 5, 10 or even 15 years.
Finally, if I could write my own ticket, I'd like to become a senior graphic designer because the pay is better and you can really start to learn the finer parts of the profession. As a result, I look forward to working as hard as I can to show my bosses what I can do!
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