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Is Graphic Designer the Career for You? Top 5 Things You Should Know

Posted by Dave Campbell

Graphic Design – Fantasy versus Reality

With the launch of our Graphic Designer Diploma program, the question becomes, is this the right career for you? The allure of graphic design is strong, the down to earth artist working their own hours, building brands and living the artistic dream… a paying job in the arts. But the reality is both more and less. Do you have what it takes to translate the dream into a paying reality?

Top 5 challenges, requirements, and rewards of a career as a Graphic Designer

Art + People + Business = Graphic Designer

1. A passion for imagery and storytelling is essential. Whether it’s in fine arts like drawing or painting, photography and collage, or new media, a love for and knack with creative arts is vital to your long term success and enjoyment in this career. You don’t have to be Da Vinci but above all, you must have some basic experience and facility with arts will go a long way.

2. You regularly work with people (even difficult ones). As a graphic designer you can’t always pick and choose your clients; you go where the work goes. And that can mean working with people of all sorts, including those with no clue as to design who maybe aren’t always easy to deal with. Therefore you will have to be able to take criticism daily, problem solve through communication, and learn from each new challenge.

3. Dealing with business is a must. Although there are full-time graphic designer jobs out there, most designers at least start out free-lancing or working short-term contracts. In other words, you are running your own one person business with all the joys and hurdles that entails including marketing, bookkeeping, project management and more.

Hours and Flexibility for a Design career

4. You need to be flexible and a quick learner. Between new technology and applications, a huge variety of potential jobs, and far ranging scopes on different projects, you’ll need to be a bit of a jack of all trades. A client that had you designing packaging suddenly needs a book cover… now you are a cover designer. That business that you created a logo for needs some copy done for their flyers… now you are a writer. Being able to flex and grow will ensure regular and ever growing work to add to your portfolio and increase your value in the market.

5. You make your own hours…. long ones. Especially starting out, hours are irregular and can be long. If you are between contracts you are out there networking and beating the bushes looking for the next job. And on a contract there can be sleepless nights when the big deadline looms. On the flip side, especially once you have a stable of regular clients and referrals, you can take that vacation on your own time or work the night shift if that is your own personal preference.

Do you have the personality for a career as a Graphic Designer?

In a nutshell, here are the personal qualities that make for a great graphic designer:

  • Artistic interests and abilities
  • Strong customer / client skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Aptitude to learn new application software
  • Team player
  • A good command of the English language

If you check off “Yes” for most of these qualities and realities, a career as a Graphic Designer may be right for you. Check out our program at http://aolcollege.com/course/graphic-designer/ or contact your local Academic Advisor for more information on this exciting program and career.


Terri Marcille, Acedemic Advisor
[email protected]
699 Victoria Street


Jackie Perrin, Academic Advisor
250 868-3688
J[email protected]
Unit 101-1740 Gordon Drive


Lisa Rey, Academic Advisor
250 753 4220
[email protected]
7 – 1551 Estevan Rd.


Lisa Kratzmann, Academic Advisor
[email protected]
715 Goldstream Ave.

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