Graphic design industry

Hi everyone, i am new here.
i am currently a student at tafe studying interactive media and i need to know what it is like in the real world with graphic design.

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That is a wide-open question, probably too wide-open to answer without risk of missing the context you’d imply if you had put a bit more effort into the question.

You’re studying “interactive media” so accounts of my days, often spent rather tediously translating Engineering concepts into consumer-digestible print documents that will be folded 68 times and stuffed onto tiny boxes, most likely won’t be applicable to your career vision.

So do please tell us why you chose your course of study, what kind of work you want to do, etc. You’re asking us to help you envision yourself working in the profession (graphic design is not an industry; it’s a profession that serves many industries), so it would help to start with your own impression of where you’re going.

i chose interactive media to help become a graphics motions designer.
but my question is what is graphic design and what can it be used for?

That just made the fire bigger.
Sounds like a class question. What is graphic design? And what is it used for?
You tell us what you think it is and what it’s used for, and we’ll let you know what we think of your synopsis.

What is a graphics motions designer?
If your intention is to create “motion graphics” or animations, that’s also really a wide open field of endeavors. Is your intent to animate itty bitty web graphics? Full on animation for gaming? Interactive interfaces for customer kiosks? Interactive interfaces for educational experiences (sort of a combination of gaming and kiosks)? Broadcast graphics? Engineering applications animated from various proprietary data? No idea? The time to start focusing on where you might want to be 5 years after graduation is now.


i think of graphic as designing logos and using photoshop to create images or edit images. mainly photoshop is used

Now you are just fooling with us.
start here and get back to us

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thank you, now i have a clear understanding of what it is.
would you have few tips that can help me as a beginner becoming a graphic designer?

Yes. Enroll in a graphic design or visual communications program at a college.

That is how you become a graphic designer.


You say you are a student at Tafe. I’d say that is a good start.

It’s both. And we graphic designers are the raw materials being processed in the industry, first through diploma mills, then through the feeding troughs of forced subscriptions and upgrades, and ultimately discarded or recycled through the banks of predatory lenders.

Only if YOU allow that to happen.

Even if I (personally) don’t allow it to happen, there’s enough people allowing it to happen to make it a profitable industry.

That’s not industry; that’s the psychopathy of unchecked capitalism.

Tell that to Adobe.

Funny, I managed to elude this inevitability! :grin: I put myself through uni, paid off my school debt, and the cost of paying for software subscriptions is covered by overhead. It’s just one of the many costs of doing business, not dissimilar to paying out of pocket for electricity.

DZ, what part have diploma mills, predatory loan practices and software subscriptions have played in your experience? Perhaps your explanation can help folks understand what has lead to your glum viewpoint?

To the OP: It’s up to you to make something of your career. A good place to start it to decide what it is you want to pursue, and what it takes to stay relevant in an ever-changing market.

Tip: Logos are not made in photoshop. You’re welcome! :smiley:

I’m not speaking for myself as much as I’m speaking for the experience of people I knew. I am one of the few people who graduated from my college who’s education paid for itself. I started college after more than a term in the military, so I took it a little more seriously then most of the students who attended. At my first long-term job after college, I met another graduate of the same college who was working in the shipping and interoffice mail department of the company. The college I attended no longer exists.

Around the time I joined this forum, I read an article titled Degree Drawn In Red Ink. That’s when I knew that it wasn’t just the college that I attended. Graphic design is one of those careers that seem easier to get into and excel at than what the reality shows. It’s an attractive debt trap. For most people, it’s a long line to get on a short over-hyped ride. It’s easy for successful people (like most of the long-time forum members) to say what works in hindsight. It’s not as bad as the gambling industry. But just like in the insurance industry, there’s plenty of money to be made off of ignorance.

For most successful graphic designers, hardware and software pays for itself. But nobody is measuring how much the unsuccessful graphic designers pay for hardware or software when it barely (or doesn’t) pay for itself. The trend of forced upgrades and subscription-based software is obviously profitable to the hardware and software providers in addition to the education and loan providers. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s as much money being made off of people attempting graphic design as there is made by all successful graphic designers combined. That’s sounds like an industry to me.

This forum doesn’t have a ‘trusted members section.’ :wink:

People have always made money by ripping of the less fortunate.
That’s why I said it only happens if you allow it to happen.
According to my college alumni yearly, only two of my art college graduating class are in the graphics field and both of us are in production.

As for those that took the program and didn’t make it, most it seems, were smart enough to recognize that fact, and surprisingly a lot of them went into the banking or insurance industry. Mostly banking. Surprising because numbers never seem to be a GD’s strong suit.

I don’t know how kids and parents afford college these days. Starting out life $80K or more in debt in a field that pays peanuts to entry level even with a degree, is not my idea of a good way to make a living. But as you say, hindsight is 20/20. I just wish kids would look more toward their future, do the research, and the math. College isn’t always the answer. Trades got a bad rap back when I was in high school. They still do to some extent. But we cannot find welders or carpenters or electricians. Nor can we keep them long as they are hired away by higher wages elsewhere. A lot of my oursource vendors cannot find pressmen or color techs and we’re all getting older.

/crying in my beer.

They left the industry, but the industry is keeping the money it made from their attempts at becoming graphic designers. Casinos are attractive too. They provide free drinks and somehow manage to stay in business for decades. Most people don’t go broke from gambling, but have probably racked up a net loss from the games.

There’s people getting ripped off every where in every industry. Graphic design is just one of those careers that seem to be more of a gamble than many other careers in hindsight. It’s probably not as much of a gamble as most careers in the entertainment industry. It’s not exactly part of the entertainment industry, but it’s a close cousin in entertainment through advertising. It attracts many of the same type of people for the same reasons. The job looks easy and fun to beginners.

I think this is the problem, that sets the stage for all the other things you mentioned.

Graphic design can be sort of fun, but it’s definitely work and isn’t easy. Unfortunately, the glut of amateurs and wannabes has driven down, both, fees, quality and client expectations.

It’s difficult, for example, to charge a client several thousand dollars for a well-thought-out trademarked logo, visual branding guidelines and the research that goes into it when that client, who typically doesn’t know the difference, can log onto a crowdsourcing website and get something drawn up to whatever counterproductive whims suits his fancy for mere pocket change.

Of course, that logo will be badly conceived and poorly executed junk that won’t work out as planned. At that point, though, the client doesn’t blame himself for plunking a few dollars down on a crowdsourcing site — he blames designers in general and assumes they’re all idiots.

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The smartest ones recognize a scam before they enter into it.
And some are simply clueless. A good many students take up Graphic Design because they want to do Art, most never realizing until that first day on the internship/job that it is never going to be about THEIR art.

Look at what happened to the For Profit schools just recently. Any one of those had an ad online that pretty much mirrored the old matchbook ads that said, “if you can draw this turtle, you can be a commercial artist.” When I was in high school, ITT Technical Institute used to be a fairly well respected means of getting a trade certification. But it just went down the toilet with the rest of them.

If the high school student, their parents, or the guidance counselors at the high school aren’t making any effort at all to look at the ROI of a “college education” and comparing statistics between programs, then there is no helping them. If they at least make the effort, it is readily apparent that graphic design is an oversaturated, underpaid endeavor and that if the student is serious they should seek out a program that will give them the skill set they will need to succeed.

Schools don’t help by not teaching their students to industry standards, by not having professors who are actually actively practicing in the field, and by not washing out those that can’t keep up. It’s all about keeping them enrolled and taking their money. Even 20+ years ago, it irked me, as a serious adult student, that assignment deadlines would be pushed because half the class didn’t have their projects ready. In PrintDriver’s School of Design, they would have all failed the assignment. And the content of the assignment would not have been student selected. Three hats. Pick a card. One is the type of client, one is the problem to be solved. One is the due date. You might luck out and get a week. Or it might be due at the end of the 3 hour lab class.

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