How to Become a Self-Taught Graphic Designer

Mrignayni Pandey

Content strategist, and copywriter.
December 12, 2022

Feel like you have what it takes to be a designer but don't know where to begin? Find out how you can get started and shape your career as a professional graphic designer today.

Whether you want to work as a graphic designer professionally or want to switch to graphic design, the good news is that you are no longer limited to attending school or investing in a formal education. 

But that doesn’t mean you plunge into the job without understanding what it entails to be a graphic designer. In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step process of everything you need to do if you want to learn how to become a graphic designer and land your first graphic design gig or job. 

Step 1: Understand the fundamentals.

Step 2: Invest in the right tools.

Step 3: Build a graphic design portfolio.

Step 4: Get real-world experience.

Step 1: Understand the fundamentals

As mentioned earlier,  there are no formal graphic designer education requirements or graphic design schooling requirements to become a graphic designer. But you must have a solid understanding of the fundamentals. And this entails becoming acquainted with design principles and learning how to employ elements such as color, contrast, hierarchy, balance, and proportion in your work.

But “where can I learn graphic design fundamentals?” you ask. 

There are numerous free graphic design courses available on platforms like YouTube and Envato that you can use to begin expanding your knowledge base. So, try out a few different courses and refer back to them as needed. Some areas you want to direct your focus on include:

Aesthetics is also another function of typography. We are drawn to visually appealing designs that are clean, and easy-to-read designs. In contrast, we avoid designs that are busy, confusing, or cause us to strain our eyes. As a result, learning how to use typography effectively in graphic design benefits you and your clients.

Step 2: Invest in the right tools. 

If you’re teaching yourself how to be a graphic designer, you’ll also need to learn how to use certain software to bring your ideas to life. So, consider downloading the following software:

In short, you must invest in these solutions as they’ll teach you how to become a master at visual design.

Step 3: Build a graphic design portfolio

Creating a portfolio is the ultimate chicken-and-egg problem: you need a portfolio to get a job. Without professional experience, it can be difficult to find projects to showcase.

The good news is that there are creative ways to build a portfolio without any prior exposure. Here are a few ways: 

Step 4: Get real-world experience. 

The first graphic design job isn’t always easy to come by. Clients are often unwilling to take a chance on a newbie and prefer to stick with established freelancers on whom they can rely. 

So, one of the most common questions that newbie designers have is: “is graphic design hard?”

The answer is that it’s not hard as long as you know how to get your foot in the door. 

This will help you land that crucial first gig to establish yourself as a designer and provide new content for your CV and portfolio. Here are a few tips:

Wrapping up

If you’re wondering  how to learn graphic design, start with the fundamentals, invest in the right tools, build a portfolio, and put yourself out there to land a client or a job. 

Although it’s not going to be easy, you’re going to find that it’s a career worth pursuing as long as you keep putting in the work to learn graphic designing and evolving. 

About Artwork Flow:

Artwork Flow is a creative collaboration software that helps you collaborate seamlessly and accelerate the creative workflow of your design projects. 

To learn more about how it can help you, check out our case studies or contact us for a free demo. 

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