How to Survive as a Graphic Designer

painterWe're Different, Folks
This article could also be very easily named "How to survive as a  ________". You can fill in the title of any graphic arts, design, or media profession you would like in that blank.

The idea is that a career in graphic arts or design has its own unique set of challenges and obstacles that can be quite different from jobs that are considered "standard."

Your graphic design college may touch upon the client-artist relationship. If so, pay close attention. You may pick up some great information about how to survive as a graphic designer.

kids-paintingIt's All About Being Creative
If someone works in business or sales, it's pretty easy to figure out how successful they are. You just look at the bottom line on how much they have sold.

If you are a graphic designer or someone who works in illustration or other media, the measure of success is sometimes hazy. You may be a brilliant designer, but that doesn't necessarily mean instant success.


Your design has to match the needs of who you are working for. If it doesn't meet specifications, your design is rejected. Does this mean you are not successful or is it just your design that wasn't successful? Understanding this important difference can mean a healthy self-image or one of doubt and uncertainty.

teamYou're a Team, Not Enemies
One way to alleviate this conflict is to see the client as on your team. You have talent that the client wants to utilize. You and the client are a team. Both of you are going after the same results--a successful graphic design.

There may be bumps along the way, but the end result is to produce something that everyone can be happy with.

Protect Your Self-Image, but Be Honest Too
The feeling of self-doubt can come when you hear your design isn't satisfactory. But not being satisfactory doesn't mean failure. It just means things have to be adjusted.

Unfortunately, there will be times when a client can make you feel as though you are a failure. But this is really an issue of personality types, and not necessarily a reflection of who you are and what you can do.

tiberido-artistThis is why a profession in the liberal arts can be challenging and rewarding. The talent you have is a real part of you and the designs you produce are a result of this talent.

When your project is rejected, you can feel partially rejected as well. But if your project is excepted along with praise, it's a feeling that can't be topped.

Fully understanding who you are and what you are capable of is essential to a healthy self-image.

The rejection of your work and the rejection of you, as a person, are two entirely different things. Once this distinction is clear, you'll be able to survive as a graphic designer.

Schools and Colleges offering design degrees:

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Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design
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Web Design and Development (BS)

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Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
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Bachelor of Science, Graphic Design (Online)
  • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
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