New To The Industry


My name is Sara & I’m 26 years old. I just recently graduated from Independence Univ. with my Associates in Graphic Design! I am just not sure where to start!

Graphic Design has ALWAYS been a passion of mine since I was a little kid. I went to Full Sail for Web Design in 2015, but I ended up dropping out because of personal reasons and also found out the coding side is just not for me. I like the hands-on approach to Graphic Design.

I would love to start freelance work or start building up my own business, I just don’t know where to begin.

I hope I can meet other people here at all points of this journey & make some friends and great connections!


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Welcome, Sara. There are a bunch of great people here that are more than willing to help out.

Welcome to the Forum @saraanne94.

Hate to burst your balloon, but without any real world knowledge of business, communications, basic accounting, taxation, workflow, and the industry itself, it is downright unfair to yourself and your clients if you are starting up right now.

My best advice is to go find a job in any graphic design related business, work your way up for, oh, ten years or so, before you dive yourself into freelancing. I am an old-timer, but I am certain all the not-so-old-timers who may chip in will probably say more-or-less the same thing, unfortunately.

Good luck.

Welcome Aboard! Good luck with everything :slight_smile:

G’day @saraanne94 :beers:

That’s awesome that you’re considering starting your own business!

I would recomend watching the first 8 videos in this series, as they’re very relevant to your situation:

As @Eriskay mentioned, there will be a lot of new skills around running a business and dealing with clients you’ll need to learn, which you aren’t taught in design school. So long as you’re prepared to work hard to overcome these gaps, you can do it! :sunglasses:

In the meantime, while you’re learning all of this other stuff. I would recommend just getting a job for the interium to keep the cash flowing :moneybag: so that you’re not under a ton of finacial pressure with your own business and you can take the time to do it right. Once you have a decent pipeline of forward work and are confident dealing with clients you can cut the day job and transition into running your business full time.

I am exactly with Eriskay on this. You NEED to work in the industry for four or five years and learn the ropes. I left uni in my twenties, good degree in hand all fresh-faced and more than a little bit arrogant ready to redesign the world. Only once I got my first job did it hit me like a freight train how much I didn’t know.

All the theory in the world is never going to save your skin when you just sent a 20,000 run job to print with 12 spot colours and no bleed. You really, really need to know what you are doing before running your own business. Also, the term freelance is bandied about as if it is somehow different. It isn’t. It is running a very small business and if you don’t think of it in those terms, it will very likely fall over.

I am not trying to put you off, but don’t jump in blind.

Would you hire an lawyer to defend you if they had just graduated, even with the very best law degree, but had never actually worked on an actual case in an actual courtroom?

Yes. Same here.

In my university program, the goal of every assignment was getting approval from classmates, pleasing the instructor and getting a good grade.

After four years of practice, I had gotten reasonably good at doing this. I entered the workforce with some confidence of the kind that had been warranted in school, but not so much in the real world.

In school, instructors knew something about design. We followed the lead of those instructors and shaped our efforts in ways that catered to their preferences. The objective was usually to come up with a creative and cool-looking solution to a not-quite-typical design problem.

In the real world, there was much more to it than that. Few clients were designers and their opinions on design differed wildly from the views of my design instructors.

My first employers — mostly design studios and ad agencies — had views obtained through experience that reflected a nuanced balance between design creativity and the fact that clients cared far less about cool designs than they did about a return on their investment.

It took a long time to sink in with me that good-looking design — as desirable as it might be — doesn’t amount to anything when a client doesn’t like it. Nor is a beautiful brochure designed to sell widgets worth anything if it fails to result in more widgets being sold.

Good design involves much more than looks. It involves diving deeply into figuring out what a client needs, which is different from catering to what a client simply wants. It requires finding the real under-the-surface problem that clients rarely mention.

When they say they need a brochure, the immediate reaction should not be to start thinking of brochure designs that the client will like. Instead, it should mean uncovering why the client thinks she needs a brochure and what that client thinks the brochure will do for her.

It’s only then that a designer can speak with reasoned authority to clients about why one design solution is better than the next. It might not be a brochure at all that the client needs and might be, instead, a social media campaign or targeted ad buys. Convincing them of this is where the real research comes into play and one’s experience and ability to engage, convince, and make a sale becomes critical.

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Hi Sara, my names Mikayla I’m sort of new to the industry also with a passion for anything to do with Graphic Design or Visual Arts! Would love to get in touch to share some tips and tricks. I have had a few small clients but am aiming to build my business up further now I am completing my Diploma of Graphic Design. Great to meet you! Good luck with your business :blush:

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