Choosing what to study

Hey guys, so as I continue my graphic design program at school I am discovering that there are sooo many different types of graphic design. How do you go about choosing what to focus on, and is it possible to be good at everything?
I really like branding and print work, but I am also wondering if I should start practicing hand lettering too. Does anyone have any input about deciding what to focus on, especially when it comes to building a career after school?
I guess I am afraid of passing on learning a specific portion and regretting now practicing it more now. :sweat:

Hand lettering like calligraphy?
Or like signwriting?
Both of those are very niche things. Calligraphy might be something useful down the road as an illustrative skill. Signwriting…it’s become more of an artform these days and the freehanders are very few and far between any more. Everything really large gets done with computer generated pounce patterns and then an artistic eye for painting stuff at large scale. There is still a bit of the niche small job stuff out there. It would be great to keep the artform alive, if you are really interested in it and have the eye for it.

The great thing about graphic design is there are always seminar type courses going on out there that you can use to bone up on skills you don’t have in order to go the direction you want to go.

Branding and printwork is a fairly broad description. Maybe aim higher?

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I suggest you look at and other job markets. That will show you (1) what skills are the most in demand, and hopefully you can identify (2) the skills you’re most interested in.

A combination of 1 and 2 should work out okay.

Oh I was talking about calligraphy; I don’t even know what signwriting is.

@Docpixel , that is a great idea! I will definitely do that!

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Check out this article on graphic design occupations. Then consider your personality type.

If you are an extroverted people person, you might find branding more fun and rewarding because it requires more interaction with clients. But if you are more of an introverted technical person, you might find web development and coding more rewarding.

Also consider how much you might get personally attached to your own ideas. If you are a service-oriented person, and you don’t mind letting go of your own ideas, you’re probably better off with branding or art management type jobs because you work with people who have their own ideas. But if you think you might be attached to your own ideas more, then you are probably better off with illustrating or something technical. With illustrating, people expect you to have more ownership over your ideas. With technical work, it’s usually not about owning the ideas as much as it’s about knowing the facts. Technical work isn’t as challenged by other people’s subjective opinions as much as creative work is.

Is it easy for you to come up with original ideas? If so, you are more creative and probably wouldn’t be as happy doing something that heavily technical.

I made this quadrant as a quick and dirty compass. It’s a bit of an oversimplification, but it probably would work for more people than not to get them pointed in the best direction:



I started graphic design years ago after taking a career test. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life in terms of having a career because I sucked at everything. After taking the career test, I had found out I was good in the graphic design area and at first, I didn’t know what I was doing because it was all new to me and remembering everything like the shortcuts in Photoshop, how to design layouts in InDesign, even Illustrator and Dreamweaver I am still learning and using. Now, I am fairly good with InDesign and Photoshop.

Friends and family had told me that apparently, you need to be a good with computers and draw really well. I am good with computers, but drawing up characters is still a learning curve for me.

Maybe start your own discussion?

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