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  • Finding A Focus

    Hello everyone,

    I've been on a journey for sometime try to make my way into doing graphic design professionally. I've done photo editing, website design, social media posts, and several assorted other things.

    I've come to the realization that for myself, a specific focus and unified body of work is missing in breaking into doing this professionally and making a living. I've looked at my work and asked myself what are the themes that I love.

    I know I love working with space. I love a feeling that text, form and figure occupy the same space and meaning and moment can be experienced from that. I thoroughly enjoy, almost in the way of magazine ads, forms and figures in conjunction with carefully placed and designed text to convey an attitude or idea.

    I've also come to realization that while this is my choice to make I can't work through this alone. I know I must connect with other designers and people to help me gain more clarity on the path to finding focus, competency and professional success.

    I'd greatly appreciate any advice, feedback or stories of how others realized their focus and made it happen for themselves.

    Thank you all so much.

    For anyone interested in looking you can see my portfolio here: anthonyleckie.tumblr.com



    Last edited by A_Leckie; 02-14-2017, 03:46 PM.

  • #2
    For me, my focus came from inspiration from a speaker at an AIGA conference back in 2002. It made me decide to scale back on accepting whatever work came my way, and focus more on developing original content. Most graphic designers don't have that luxury. I'm lucky.

    Here's a few posts I've made on finding a focus:

    http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/fo...94#post1618994

    http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/fo...16#post1538016

    Comment


    • #3
      I've done photo editing, website design, social media posts, and several assorted other things.
      Have you been to school?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by designzombie View Post
        For me, my focus came from inspiration from a speaker at an AIGA conference back in 2002. It made me decide to scale back on accepting whatever work came my way, and focus more on developing original content. Most graphic designers don't have that luxury. I'm lucky.

        Here's a few posts I've made on finding a focus:

        http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/fo...94#post1618994

        http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/fo...16#post1538016
        Thanks for the links. Interesting and inspiring to read.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
          Have you been to school?

          No, I haven't. I am hesitant because of the cost and time investment for a degree. My thinking has been if I work hard and work well, creating great work, I could find myself making a good living in less time it would take me for to graduate. I could be wrong though.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by A_Leckie View Post
            I could be wrong though.
            Yes, you could.

            Are you in the United States?

            Have you looked at the graphic design job market?

            Consider that the process of hiring is no longer based on abilities you possess, or claim to possess. I haven't seen your portfolio, and without an education on your resumé, neither will anyone in a position to hire you, with very, very few possible exceptions. You might as well start prospecting now to get a sense of how dire it may be. Write your best targeted cover letter, prepare a machine-readable resumé, and start competing for openings. What seems to you now like a tiny technicality—that 4-year degree—perhaps barely worth the trouble—will very likely prove to be your ultimate blockade.

            Case study:
            I have nearly 3 decades of experience in a range of graphic arts disciplines. I can produce hard evidence that I've made or saved $100'sK for various business endeavors. I can submit a portfolio of examples demonstrating the ability to produce quality graphic design of almost any type. I earned and held the position of Director of Marketing Communications in a global corporation before the economic downturn shut the place.

            But I do not hold a degree...and...wait for it...

            I cannot get hired.

            Get a degree. You're gonna need it.
            I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

            Comment


            • #7
              If you want to work in any kind of professional environment as an employee, you will need a degree. Preferably a masters. Hot Button is correct in his advice. I was originally on a path to get an AST degree in design and my wake-up call was reading job postings on Monster and other job sites. WOW, did that give me a swift and painful kick in the rear. I switched to a 4-year B.A. program immediately. After two years, I digressed a little in my studies (but that's another story). Regardless, if you wish to simply freelance a bit on the side for local friends and family and maybe a business or two, then no, you do not need a degree. If you wish to support yourself, then you will need one. Graphic design is a field that is massively over saturated and even those with degrees AND talent find themselves out of work. It is a brutal, competitive field to enter.

              As far as focus, I can only say that I knew I was incredibly passionate about conservation, which led me to focus on building clients in this sector. I try to be environmentally-conscious in my work (as much as is realistic...I'm not one of those people that tries to design with white space because it uses less ink) and do work for clients that I feel will make an impact somehow. If you design enough, you will find a niche faster than you think. Looking at your work, I can already see where your style is heading.

              If you are serious, you need a minimum of 7-15 portfolio pieces and a dedicated portfolio website. Your opening graphic is interesting (need to change the typeface, the serif lettering isn't doing it for me) and you need to use a different system for your images. Drives me nuts that each time I click on a piece, it opens in a new window and I have to close it to go back to the portfolio. You'll lose anyone after two pieces. Do research into effective portfolios and design your own, and set aside $500-700 and find a freelance designer/coder who will build it. I would keep your photographs separate from design pieces. Explain less about your processes; clients don't care about anything other than the results.

              Best of luck!

              Comment


              • #8
                If you are going to get a Masters degree as a Graphic designer, get it in a related field. A masters in graphic design is overkill and has the appearance of wanting more money than most people are willing to pay for a designer.

                Comment

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