Graphic Designer Career Information
What a Graphic Designer does
And you thought artists only dabbled with paint and brush. Well, not any more. With the advent of the World Wide Web, graphic designers have now armed themselves with a computer. And a mouse now has replaced the brush. Unbelievable? Read on…
A graphic designer as regards to a web designer would mean a person who decides on the layout and aesthetic value of a site. The job would entail knowing how to present the design content of a site, to optimise the use of graphics so as to minimise download time. As a graphic designer, you have to structure links in such a way so as to give maximum ease of navigation to the visitor on the site. In short you have to integrate creativity with technology.
Basically, letting your creativity flow is the most essential part of being a graphic designer. Everyone of us is creative - we just need to consciously bring it out. If you choose to work for a website you should be able to grasp the gist of the content for the website you are designing. You should also have a fair idea of the kind of crowd that is likely to visit the site.
""Great design is born out of pure emotion. You have to feel rather than reflect. Designing is cultivated from within. The more you are in tune with your intuition, the more you will shine," says graphic designer Sudarshan Dheer, one of the top graphic designers in India.
Your work doesn't end at luring surfers to your site by means of attractive designs and concepts. You have to constantly work at retaining the number of surfers and stopping them from leaving the site by introducing new designs, concepts and ideas. And trust us, this is not half as easy as it sounds.
As a graphic designer, you need to know how to increase the number of hits on your site. In order to do so, you will have to constantly come up with newer design ideas and concepts so that the user finds something new each time he/she visits the site. For this, you will need to arm yourself with loads of imagination and you also have to have a fair idea of what's happening in the world (in short, brush up your knowledge of current affairs) of arts and design.
How often have you left a site just because the visuals and graphics on the site were not good enough? Often, isn't it? Well, as a graphic designer you will have to ensure that the page designed by you is not dull and drab. Breathe life into it the page with good graphics and images.
As a graphic designer for a dotcom company, you will be exposing your designs to anyone who has access to the Internet across the globe, as compared to the publishing industry where your designs would be viewed by only a few thousand people who subscribe to that particular magazine or newspaper.
As a graphic designer you will bear immense responsibility for making or breaking a site. Your choice of colours and style of art will speak volumes about the site you design for. It is also your job to make the pages as interactive as possible without unduly overburdening the byte size of the page.
A graphic designer is almost an indispensable part of any media or web organisation. The primary job of a web designer is to give an attractive look to the site and design the various images and animations that have to be displayed on the web pages.
With websites vying with each other to offer enchanting e-greetings, wallpapers, screen savers and animated pictures to surfers, the dot com companies have come to rely heavily on graphic designers.
In print and television media, and advertising agencies too, a graphic designer is required to draw cartoons, visuals, illustrations, charts, etc. One may also land a job at garment manufacturing firms, publishing houses and film and documentary companies.
Apart from working in a dot com company you can also be employed in newspapers, magazines, television, films, special effects companies, technical publications, advertising agencies, etc.
At a publishing house you will be known as an illustrator and your job will involve providing visual relief to articles where pictures don't help. A typical example would be the design on the front page of Ascent (the employment supplement of the Times of India).
Graphic design will become ever more significant as computer technology becomes more universally available and as more and more companies realise that a definitive, distinctive logo and product design can make an enormous difference.
A graphic designer can work in newspapers, magazines, television, films, special effects companies, technical publications, advertising agencies, web sites, etc.
Abilities & Traits Required
Graphic designers have to work under extreme time pressures and very defined financial and design limits to produce quality work. ""The process of becoming a good artist is to start with no assumptions, and no fixed ideas. I have disowned all my previous work as one needs to begin with nothing to end up with something original,"" adds Dheer.
This profession takes a person who can:
Listen to comments
Has a good eye for aesthetic design
Has a flair for colour
A good understanding of the needs of the corporate world
Good communication skills are very important if you want to see your designs accepted
Good aesthetic sense
A good hand at sketching
An ability to work long hours
The job is highly visible; successes and failures alike are recognised and are put on display. Those who are insecure about their skills or their ideas have a hard time accepting the amount of risk and rejection this career entails.
A graphic designer in the publishing industry is expected to know packages like:
For a web site:
PhotoShop Flash 4 Other animation packages plus knowledge of IBM and Mac platforms are the need of the day Knowledge of HTML
Freshers must assemble a portfolio to approach companies for work. Unfortunately, despite the great prospects, none of the art institutes teach computer-based art.
Some private design schools that teach you graphic designing charge around Rs 15000 for a two and a half-month course, which includes basics of CorelDraw and PhotoShop among other packages. Advanced courses and higher level classes cost more. Talking to the ex-students of the institute is the best way of gauging the authenticity of the institute.
According to Dheer, whose career began in 1955, graphic designing is not a highly profitable profession. ""Financial incentive for professional in this field has augmented marginally in comparison to the existing rate of inflation. The number of designers opting to work in the field of multimedia, though is on the rise,"" he says.
Fresher out of college can expect Rs 15000-20000 a month, which goes up to Rs 35000-45000 after a year. A seasoned professional with 2-3 years of experience can command a salary of Rs 50000-60000.
What's more, there is vast scope for freelance in this profession. Everyone wants to have a presence on the web these days and that makes for a lot of work for web designers. Initially, the going might be a little tough when you have to depend on friends and acquaintances to get you work, but once you make a name for yourself then sky's the limit.