It is becoming more acceptable to work from home. Many people are looking into forming their very own working from home career path. Graphic design, is a job you can do from home. In this article we will discuss the in’s and out’s of working from home as a graphic designer.
Is graphic design a good career?
Becoming a graphic designer can be a very fulfilling career. Not only does it use the creative part of your brain but also the objective part.
Many people think that a graphic designers only designs logos. In-actual fact, unless you specialise in logo design or branding, getting the opportunity to design a logo is very rare. Most companies only ever have one logo.
A designers role can be very varied. The majority of work now days, is producing very on-demand graphics for the internet. Graphics can include buttons, layouts and banners for websites as well as posts on instagram and facebook.
Graphic Designers can also specialise in print design. One example of a niche in the graphic design spectrum is being a magazine/ editorial designer.
If you open up a magazine, the layout of each page, the font choices, even sometimes pagination, has all been thought about by a designer. The advert that has been placed in has probably been designed by another designer, and then also art-worked in a few different dimensions for online banners and possibly billboards.
Most people who become designers, have usually always known that they wanted a job in something creative. Having a job in graphic design allows you as a person, to be extra creative; solving problems & developing brands. It allows you to think of an idea, and turn it into a reality, which is very rewarding, especially when you have happy clients and get to see your design nationwide.
Is graphic design a solo activity?
Graphic Design is never a solo activity, unless of course you are building your own product and don’t want any help or advice.
Designers are always challenging each other because the industry is competitive. However, graphic designers are always working with each other as well, to complete projects and tasks. This is for a number of reasons, the main reason being time restraints. In the life of a designer, your project was always due yesterday.
It’s normal for a campaign for instance, to be split up into lots of milestones for a few designers to work on different parts, so the job can be completed faster.
As well as possibly working with other fellow designers, as a graphic designer you may have to work with clients, and make sure the brief has been fulfilled to its promised potential.
Are Graphic Designers introverted?
Many people are introverted, but this should never discourage anyone from working in their dream job, such as becoming a graphic designer, if that is their passion.
Introverted and extroverted people can both work in the graphic design industry. There is a specialism/niche in design for every type of person.
A very on-demand retail design job, where you have collaborate with many people in the business, such as photographers, Marketeers, Proofreaders, editors, and the printers. May not be the best job for an introverted person, especially if they don’t feel comfortable with people. The same applies for working as a team lead or self-employed freelancer. Finding work, writing proposals, selling ideas and final artwork to clients, as well as chasing unpaid invoices may not come naturally.
But, finding a position which enables working in a design team to discuss the creative direction, and then heading off to design the work individually. This maybe a better suited position.
Art-working is another role similar to what a designer does. Instead of all the client meetings and collaborations, it’s more about sitting down, and making something look the best it can, before it gets send off to the next person in line.
There are Different requirements for different roles in design. If you want to work at home as a graphic designer, make sure that you are able to specialise in an area of design that you feel the most comfortable working in.
Is graphic design hard?
The word hard, just depends on a certain perspective. I would definitely say graphic design has its challenges, but what job doesn’t?
One thing that makes design hard, like many other creative jobs, is Creative block. Just like writers block, some days you feel like a fraud, and cannot process anything. But, that’s what a job in the creative industry is all about; seeing problems exist and figuring out the best solution. The best reward comes, once you’ve reached the best possible end result.
Should I get real life, in-person design experience before working from home?
Working from home is fantastic. But doing so, you can miss out on invaluable workplace experiences, that cannot yet be replicated.
When working in the same location as other colleagues and designers, you feel more involvement. If your colleague is having issues you can learn why. Learning from a person next to you, on-demand in invaluable. You can also peep at your bosses screen to make sure he’s working. Even from a socialising point of view, long lasting memories can be made from discussions in the work kitchen, with a cup of tea in your hand.
Bouncing spontaneous ideas off each other and coming up with the best solutions in the moment, is another thing that cannot be replicated to the same extent as working from home. It’s very hard, listing to multiple people speaking at the same time over a conference call, however in person it’s not as much of an issue.
Ideally, everyone that wants to become a Graphic Designer, should get real tangible in-person experience before working from from home, as working in an office is an education in itself.
Is graphic design competitive?
Graphic Design is super competitive. Everyone is constantly trying to come up with new and innovative designs and ideas, that will end up ultimately being used in the real world, and then documented inside a portfolio.
But also, as a graphic designer you are part of a community and feel like a collective.
It can be hard starting as a graphic designer and earning enough credentials to prove yourself. Many new graphic designers have to work in many internships which sometimes only cover travel expenses. You have to stand out from crowd in this saturated market and work your socks off.
The secret to succeeding as a graphic designer is to gain as much experience as you can to build up a solid base of a portfolio, and then replace projects as you progress your career and get better at your craft.
What type of equipment does a graphic designer need?
Graphic Designers need certain equipment and tools, to help do their job effectively. Whether you’re starting from nothing or looking to upgrade your kit, these recommendations will help you.
In this age of remote working, having and using a laptop is critical. It’s industry standard, for Graphic Designers to work on a Mac. This is Apple’s most powerful, largest and professional laptop to date. Not only do you look the part, you can walk the talk and perform any job needed without the computer crashing during presentations.
The larger retina display screen is ideally suited to design work. The battery has the largest capacity ever, in a MacBook Pro. which is particularly impressive considering how powerful this computer is.
Of course, you pay more for a Mac than the equivalent Windows, however your system will more likely perform better for longer, and not let you down for years to come. Owning a Mac is an investment to your business.
For when you want to base yourself in one place, and knuckle down on a project, a desktop computer comes handy.
My Desktop of choice is the Apple 27-Inch MacBook Pro. The Retina screen is excellent. Who would have though apple would create a screen with one billion colours! With this computer your graphics will be super sharp.
Once you start working with two screens, it’s very difficult to switch back to just one. With two screens you can dedicate one to emails and finding certain files, and the other, to design on. The other monitor does not have to be an apple monitor for it to work.
The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is an excellent everyday alternative to the hard drive. Perfect for working remotely, moving files across devices while not wearing down your computers storage. Nothing in this SSD spins or clicks. This one should last a little longer than the traditional spinning type as they can survive more g-force than a typical HDD. External solid state drives, generally have a faster boot up speed and are quicker at reading and writing.
As a freelance designer, I am always on the phone, replying to emails, taking photographs, and applying to jobs on Upwork. A reliable phone that can work well with all your devices is paramount for a swift work flow. As all my equipment is Apple, it makes sense to also have an apple phone!
Equipment is nothing without the software!
Adobe Cloud is the industry leading software that all designers must have to work on projects. It’s universally used, Adobe have pretty much monopolised the industry. In the past you would purchase the software as a one off payment, now you have to subscribe. There are many benefits with this subscription model, one having access to the huge library on fonts.
Everybody has heard of Microsoft Office, and it’s a necessary software for all designers because briefs generally come in Microsoft Word format. Occasionally you may also have to take data from Excel for tables and charts.
If you are a remote worker, travelling around the globe a VPN is essential. Especially if you’re travelling to countries such as China, that bock certain websites.
Also it’s good practice to use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes and shared workspaces. This is to prevent anyone from monitoring your online activity and quite possibly using your credentials for their own gain.
Express VPN, works by using an encrypted connection to redirect your web traffic through one of 160 servers, spread throughout many countries. ExpressVPN’s interface makes it very easy to use and understand.
It doesn’t just work with laptop and desktop computers, either; there are mobile apps for your smartphone and tablet too. In-fact, I have this VPN on every device I use. Should you not get on with Express VPN, there is a 30 day, money back guarantee.
I am addicted to moleskin. I have 2 notebooks, 1 diary, and 1 sketchbook. Moleskin took the concept of a two century old notebook, and transformed it into pop culture. The quality and design is excellent.
A Pantone book is essential for every print designer out there. If you are starting out your design career, you should look into purchasing the Pantone coated and uncoated book. This book does not have to be new. Colours will appear slightly faded in older books.
Pantone books are needed to match colours. Colours you see on your computer screen, can come out very different when printed.
It’s not healthy to stay seated for long periods of time. A Standing desk can help encourage better posture throughout the day. Not only that, you won’t fall asleep standing up!
Wireless headphones are excellent. You can get up to 5 hours of listening time or 3 hours of talk time on a single charge. Should you be working solid for that amount of time, you should get up and do some exercise! For every 15 minutes of charge time, you get 3 hours of listening time, thats amazing!
One of the reasons I choose to purchased the AirPods was because my toddler keeps eating wires on my other headphones. These are untouchable.
Is a graphic design degree worth it?
Anyone can learn graphic design from books and the internet. There are online courses on absolutely everything. So many designers are self-taught, which is amazing. But not everyone can learn this way. Designers generally prefer to be physically shown what to do and learn from in the moment expertise.
University courses in design are great for collaborating with other likeminded designers, as well as finding your individual identity and style of working. All University degrees in design cover a big spectrum of niches. As a design student you are able to explore all areas of design before you commit to a specialism which is needed to succeed as a top rated graphic designer in this day and age.
I would definitely say look into doing a degree, but don’t feel pressured to follow that route, if it is not for you. There are so many amazing self-taught artists and designers, many have worked their way up to creative director level.
Is graphic design in demand?
There is always a demand for graphic designers, whether this be agency, freelance or in-house. Sometimes businesses don’t understand the importance of investing in graphic design or respect the job, which can make the job of a graphic designer extremely challenging.
Always back yourself up and justify what you do. There are many companies and people that value design and the importance it carries.
Many companies use Upwork to find designers. The platform is filled with on-demand creatives. Briefs from potential clients are formed daily. When working with clients on the Upwork platform, you can work from the comfort of your own home.
Is graphic design art?
Graphic design is an art form, however it’s usually more objective than subjective. Graphic design usually isn’t as expressive as traditional art, however it is inspired from art. Just like art; Graphic designers want a piece to have a certain look and feel while drawing out emotions from the viewer.
Are graphic designers self employed?
Many designers become employed and start freelancing after they gain experience in the industry. It’s better to make mistakes and spend somebody else’s money before your own.
To become a self employed graphic designer, it depends on the experience and confidence of the person and what you want to achieve, whether thats having control over your schedule or picking your own clients.
A young design graduate should ideally spend a few years working for a graphic design agency or in-house to ‘learn the trade’ and gain enough people skills and connections before heading out to start their own business.
If you have already got a solid reputation as a designer, and have built-up an amazing portfolio in the area of speciality that you want to design in, you are in a great position to start as a self employed graphic designer and make a name for yourself. Also, remember to keep your tax in order.
Do I need to know how to draw for graphic design?
Being able to draw is a great benefit to bring to a table especially when trying to get across an idea at an early meeting.
Not all graphic designers can draw. A main trait of being a graphic designer is having a visual eye, knowing that is good design, and having a love and respect for all things creative.
Do graphic designers work from home?
Graphic designers can work from the comfort of their own home, and many do.
One issue that may designers face when working from home, is not being surrounded by other creative people and learning from them. Working from the four walls of your home has a different culture to maybe an open plan studio where there is a community of laughter and creativity.
An alternative to working form home is working from coffee shops or co-working spaces. Meeting up with other creatives now and again can work excellently with balancing that perfect work life balance.