Should I give up on graphic design?

No job offers as a graphic design anywhere after graduation. I’ve tried everything from redoing my resume, portfolio but still gets rejected. At this point should I invest in something else, learn about figma, ui/ux, after effect, premier to have a better fighting chance or just give up what I love? :pensive:

How about posting a link to your portfolio (if you don’t mind those here making suggestions)?

The field is oversaturated, and it’s getting to the point where a 4-year degree and a couple of years of internship is almost a necessity, but it’s still doable if you have the talent and tenacity to endure until you get your foot in the door.

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Nothing worth having comes easily.

I know it is incredibly difficult to get a foothold now, when there are armies of Canva kids out there, but even when I was fresh out of uni, it took a few months of lugging portfolios to design companies around London.

Don’t apply for advertised jobs. Find the name of art directors at companies you want to work for and target them, with bespoke, individual approaches. Tell they why you want to work for them and what you bring to the party.

As Just-B says, post links to your portfolio here. Can’t do any harm and you will get real, honest (if sometimes tough to take) advice, which should help,you refine your chances of success. There are a good few of us around here with a good few years of experience. I wish I’d had a resource like this at your stage of the game. Make the most of it.

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I think it’s absurd to give up what you love. Therefore, do not take such drastic steps and only after training. It is always difficult to start something (I believe that after studying everything just begins). In my opinion, you should develop and take some more courses and still offer your services for free or barter or for a minimal fee. So maybe you won’t get thousands of dollars for work now, but that’s how you build your name. You need to build your personal brand. When you are known in your circle, everyone will offer you a job, and then you will choose who to work with.

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Barter only from a position of strength.
Never lowball your prices.
If you are freelancing, you are in business, with taxes, overhead and all the assorted stuff that is more important than designing.
Sounds like the OP wants a paying job and just can’t get in the door.
Without seeing portfolio or cover letter, can’t determine why.
Even the smallest typo anywhere, or poor grammar, can get you binned.

Also, maybe try places that wouldn’t normally occur to you. Like printshops, signshops, local TV studios. We get walk-ins all the time (all trades, not just for design.) We don’t advertise. You’d get a paper application to fill out and we’d attach any leave-behinds. Be neat and orderly when filling it out. If we are currently hiring, you’d get an interview on the spot. Be prepared for something like that. It’s not like old days where you lug a big portfolio around (though you can if you want. Sometimes “old school” works too.) If interested in viewing your portfolio, interested parties would go to a conference room and hook you up to the internet, then it’s your show.

Anyway, the key here is exactly what Sprout said. Advertised jobs get 100s of candidates. Hiring people know this and might try to avoid it.
Be preemptive.

If you get an interview, the company is your ‘client.’ Be confident and be willing to explain how your skills will make you indispensable to them. Do homework. Don’t just walk in cold.

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I agree with @Just-B, a link to a portfolio would be helpful to give meaningful advice.

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In a buyer’s market that’s a rather bold statement.

I am wrestling with how to respond. I don’t want to seem overly harsh, but it won’t help you if I don’t say what I’m thinking.

First of all, you need to get rid of the Shop section. I could expound on this if you want, but let’s just save some time and assume I’m right on this. The Shop section needs to be off your site before the end of the day.

When I first clicked on your portfolio page, I thought that was some nice work. Then I clicked through the various categories and realized the thumbnails shown were not actually your work. Anything that is not yours needs to come off the site.

As to your actual work, I’m not seeing the level that is going to get you hired at a design studio, ad agency or marketing firm. I’m not saying you can’t get there, but you’re not there right now. I think you need to find a non-design job to start bringing in some income and then continue with self-development and self-education in the evenings and on weekends. Sorry. Maybe working at print shops would be a good place to start.

In the mean time, work on the selection of work samples you’re showing. As it stands, you’re showing way too much. I’d rather see 10-12 strong samples than a ton of so-so samples. You’re only as strong as your weakest piece.

Work on your personal branding. Your logo looks like it was developed for your Shop section. Once that section is gone, the logo is no longer relevant.

Hope that helps. I’d encourage you to take the advice to heart, make the changes, and post a new link to the revised site.

Good luck!

  1. Definitely get rid of the Shop section. It’s irrelevant to your brand as a graphic designer, and gives the impression you’re not fully committed to design. Set up separate sites for each of those offerings if you want to promote them, but don’t package them in with design services.

  2. It looks like a student portfolio… a lot varied busy-work assignments handed out by instructors, that don’t resemble real world problems designers are asked to solve. A lot of these look rushed. Edit out the weakest ones and be ruthless. Designs like the Netflix ad are damaging your prospects.


Now you have two experienced designers telling you the same thing. (And, no, we did not collude on our advice.)


I haven’t looked at the portfolio.
But I have to ask, based on your last few posts, are you in the United States?

Thank you for your honest critique about my portfolio I kind of knew that one of the for job rejection could be due to my current level of graphic design not good enough. As for my business section I will get rid of it and just focus on graphic design for now. I really wanted to more courses about figma, ux/ui, premier, after effect to better improve myself once I’m financially stable. I will get rid of all of all the piece that i did in school and create everything new from scratch again :smiley:

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I wish I could say that I disagree with @Steve_O and @Mojo, but I can’t — they’re seeing the same problems I see.

When I first called up your website, the thumbnails looked quite good. However, judging from what’s inside those sections, those thumbnails aren’t your work. This alone would deter most art directors.

I was confused by the shop section until I realized that you’re selling various products and services. Anything unrelated to your graphic design work doesn’t belong on your portfolio site. Selling soap, candles, and floral arrangements is great, but not on your design portfolio site.

All your work is student work, which is understandable since you haven’t yet found a job. However, the student work needs much improvement to meet professional standards. I’m not saying your abilities can’t be developed; I think they can. However, they’re not there yet.

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I will get rid of all my portfolio pieces and start everything new again since it will only hold me back as I don’t want it to be labeled as student work forever. I will also get rid of my business section and focus solely on graphic design. Thank you for being honest

Your links to Facebook and Etsy go to pages that don’t have content.

What appeals to an instructor is going to be different than what appeals to an employer. Instructors have checkboxes for skills you need to learn in their classes. Can you color correct photos? Can you use type? Can you draw a vector illustration? Can you describe the difference between CMYK and RGB? etc… Did you master the skill? Check! Move on to the next box.

Employers and clients are looking at your portfolio and evaluating it with different criteria… Can you create an identity that results in them making more money? Can you manage a brand so that it makes them more money? Can you maintain a consistent visual style across multiple types of media? Can you work fast? Can you take direction? Can you solve their problems? It’s a different set of issues. That’s why a good school portfolio isn’t necessarily a good professional portfolio. Work that gets you a good grade is different from work that gets you a job.

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A critical analysis of one’s own work is a good thing. However, self-doubt can easily cross over the line from a healthy analysis into self-imposed defeat.

As for Cheetos, Lexus, or any advertising design from a big company, remember that these companies spend millions of dollars on branding and advertising

If you want to demonstrate your abilities with hypothetical mockups, I don’t think comparing your work to that produced by big-name advertising agencies is a good plan.

Instead, pick a smaller company — a small restaurant down the street, a pet grooming business, an accounting firm, or something similar — then create a brief that describes the problem you’ve hypothetically been hired to solve. Think through the problem and develop a workable solution that meets the needs of the company. You need to be able to articulate why your solution is appropriate and why it will help the company. For example, if the goal of the company is to sell more widgets, you need to think strategically and design solutions that will help sell more widgets.


You can do anything you put your mind to. Everything depends on how much effort you’re prepared to put in.

In your situation, here’s what I would do (assuming you need :moneybag:): apply for entry-level marketing related jobs rather than design jobs, if you can’t get that, just get an admin job to take financial/time/pressure off. The real-world office workplace experience will come in handy and afford you the time to put together some solid pieces for your portfolio.

This may seem daunting, but personally I would scrap your current portfolio and resume and start from scratch with some new case studies with a lot more copy to them, along with mock-ups (you can totally make all this up BTW), here are some examples of some fantastic portfolios that people have posted here:

^ These exmaples are what I would be aspiring to.

I know this might seem harsh and I hope this doesn’t hurt, but you can totally do this and we’re here to help you along the way :hugs:.

I just realized that after doubting myself and trying to follow a little bit of everyone suggestions most of you are more favor toward branding and typography which isn’t my strongest but rather in photoshop which I don’t see a lot of portfolio here that showcases that vividly as much as I do. So in the end I just needed to work on my typography and branding. We may all be graphic designers but that doesn’t mean our styles are the same :smiley:

I would like to learn more about motion design and hopefully have my own reel one day as well

A graphic designer should be a style-chameleon. The style of the work should be the style needed to sell the client’s stuff to the client’s customers. Hello Kitty Anime is not going to sell Death Metal jewelry. Design is about communication, not personal style.

Graphic design is about using the proper tools for the proper output. Photoshop is an image editing tool. It is generally not acceptable for text heavy/multipage design, logos, or any other output that would be best done in vector software.

Motion design is a very broad category. And having a reel? If it shows off various skills, sure. If it is an expression of your inner art? Maybe not so much, in a design environment.