Are you a graphic design graduate wondering what might be in store for you when you land your first job? Or are you interested in starting a graphic design career and you want to know what the job entails? Naturally, every design job is different; but generally speaking, most junior designers tend to try their hand at many different disciplines when they begin working in the graphic design industry.
Certainly in my studio, this is the case. I want new designers to work on a variety of projects so that I can find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. This approach also makes the job more interesting for the designers.
Don't be afraid about gaps in your knowledge when starting jobs in graphic design. Your new boss will have a fair idea of what you can and can't do from the interview, your graphic design resume and your portfolio. Every new employer expects that a period of training will be required. In fact, a good designer never stops learning; whether it's a new piece of software, a different technique or a new design influence, you'll never stop increasing your knowledge and therefore your ability.
What a new employer will expect is that you learn about graphic designer tasks, methods and techniques quickly and retain your new knowledge. You'll learn to speed up your workflow by getting to know keyboard shortcuts instead of constantly going through menus. You'll learn how to maintain your Apple Mac or PC, and even resurrect apparently dead disks. Be eager to learn every aspect of the job and you won't fail to impress.
As you learn about graphic designer employment, you'll soon find that the best way to learn something is first to understand it. If you understand why something is done in a certain way, it'll stay with you. If you just perform a series of tasks but don't understand why, there's a good chance you'll forget the procedure and/or make mistakes.
This is why you should never be afraid to ask questions. The more questions you ask (as long as they aren't the same question over and over again) the more you appear to be eager to learn and keen to get on with the work. An employer will be much happier about being interrupted with a stream of relevant questions in the early days that they will about being asked no questions by someone who just sits and stares uncomprehendingly at a screen, too scared to ask anything.
Much of what you find on this website is basic, essential information for a graphic designer at the start of their career. Whether you're looking for corporate graphic design jobs or jobs in graphic design studios, if you understand and learn everything you find on this site, you'll be much better prepared than hundreds of other candidates. In fact, you'll probably have learned a few things that experienced designers still don't know.
You should be familiar with basic printing processes, notably the difference between 4 color process printing and spot color printing. You need to know what color mode should be applied to graphics and what resolution images should be set to before being sent to press. You ought to know how and why to make press-ready PDF files in PDF/X-1a format. You need to be able to use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Quark XPress and Adobe InDesign at the very least.
You should understand what crop marks and bleed are, as well as when and how to implement them. You need to understand how to activate and deactivate fonts, and it would be useful for you to be able to recognise font faces, as well as suggest what fonts might be appropriate for a new project.
You should have a good eye for what looks good on a page. This can be taught to a certain extent, but it would be assumed that you have a creative, artistic temperament if this is your chosen career path.
These are just a few pieces of knowledge with which you should equip yourself before getting you first graphic design job. Start with a good grounding in the basics and the rest will follow as you become more experienced. Most of the above requirements are touched on within Graphic design Employment.com.
Of course this really depends on the job you apply for. Every graphic design firm works in different ways, for different clients with different requirements on different design projects.
Corporate graphic design jobs tent to focus on a single company's material which can be a little more limiting for a designer. However, it gives a fantastic grounding in how to keep everything consistent within a client's marketing material portfolio.
You'll generally find that an average studio has regular requirements for logo and stationery design, brochure design, advert conception and creation, website design, exhibition or large format graphic design and other miscellaneous projects (catalogues, leaflets, report & accounts, signage and so on).
Chances are you'll get the chance to work in some or all of these areas, and each one requires a different approach and skillset. When training new designers, I get them working on real projects, and attempt to teach them everything they need to know for the job in hand, rather than swamp them with information which they will not yet need to know.
This is how you should approach the job. Don't be overwhelmed by the apparent enormity of what you need to learn; just take it a job at a time, ask the right questions and enjoy the work. If you don't enjoy the creative challenge and technical production of the project you're working on, chances are you won't produce good work. I always want to be proud of the work I produce, and no good result has ever been easy to achieve - you need to work at it until it's right.
And that's how you get job satisfaction. Enjoy!