Join Jim Heid for an in-depth discussion in this video Graphic design, part of Creative Pro Careers: Staying Ahead.
- In this increasingly visual and digital world, graphic design is a skill that everyone can benefit from, especially if you're in a creative field. If you're not a designer, but your job involves creating visuals, photos, videos, animations, you'll want to be able to showcase your work in a way that's visually appealing, and well organized. Words on a resume or online profile aren't enough to demonstrate your talents. You need to show your work so that potential clients and employers can see whether your style matches their needs.
A portfolio or website that's poorly designed won't do you any favors no matter how strong your work is. What's more, the clients for your photography and video endeavors may also need some design work. For collateral elements that will go along with the assets you're creating. Maybe a brochure, a presentation, or a website. Being able to offer those kinds of services will not only give you an additional source of revenue, but your clients will benefit by not having to add more steps and more suppliers to their lists of things to do. These days being a one stop shop for a potential client or employer can be the difference between winning a job and not.
Now, you don't need to know every piece of software, or be able to win design competitions. You just need a solid foundational understanding of color, type, and layout. These are the core building blocks of graphic design. Each element is as important as the next, because each contributes to the overall success of a design. For example, a strong layout with a great color palette but poor typography will be a poor design overall. Think of it this way. Graphic design is only as strong as its weakest link, so be sure there isn't one.
In our library, you'll find detailed overviews of each of these topics in our Foundations series. These courses will give you the depth of knowledge you'll need to create attractive and appropriate designs. In terms of software, the three key programs for graphic designers are InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. The industry has mostly standardized on these Adobe products, although there are viable alternatives that are often popular with independent designers. Whatever you choose, you'll need good layout and good photo editing software, and if you'll be designing icons or logos that need to be scaled to various sizes without losing quality, you'll also need a vector-based program like Adobe Illustrator.
To get the most out of your software, you need a solid overview of the basics, so you can execute your vision and produce files that work. Our Essential Training courses will give you this foundation, and they can help you decide which programs will meet your needs. Finally, although the world has gone digital, paper is not dead yet, not by a long shot. If you'll be providing files for a commercial printer, you'll need to know the technicalities involved. Understanding the process, what questions to ask, how to prepare your files, is the only way to be sure that what comes off the press is what you envisioned.
One of our instructors, Claudia McCue, has a fantastic course called Learning Print Production. In it she explains the whole process. How to prepare files, how to choose paper, and much more. For more information on the larger topic of graphic design, check out the course called Graphic Design Careers: First Steps. This overview course will walk you through the types of skills designers need, and guide you to the various courses in our library that will help you learn them.
- Identifying essential creative professional skills
- Reviewing different creative tools
- Learning about the field of graphic design
- Working in the photography and video fields
- Working with audio and music
- Reviewing motion graphics and 3D animation
- Working in UX and web design