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Art & Design careers

Graphic Design: Print

What is the aim of printed graphic design projects?

Printed graphic design is about engaging with your audience and delivering a suggestion or message in an effective but aesthetically pleasing way. You may be doing this across multiple formats of visual communication.

While there is a constant need for ideas to stay fresh and contemporary, these careers also give you a chance to stamp your individual mark on a piece of design and express yourself through the arrangement and manipulation of images and typography.

The key to being a successful print designer is context; every piece of design should have its place, and work effectively with its target audience and their surroundings. By researching design, past and present, good and bad, you will build up a creative bank of ideas. This will help to inspire and contextualize your work.

What skills do I need to be a successful print designer?

The ability to manage your time efficiently is important when considering a career in print design. At any one time, you will be working on multiple briefs with varying deadlines, not to mention the fact that you will be working for challenging and demanding clients. Communicating effectively and building relationships with these clients is important. Ideas need to be presented or pitched suitably, as this can be equally as important as the actual design work.

Such a subjective industry requires you to embrace constructive criticism. The ability to compromise is important, but remember to fight for what you believe in. The work you produce represents your identity as a designer. It will form your design portfolio and will show potential employers or clients not only your ability, but hopefully your personality too.

All this creative energy will need to be translated through the appropriate software. There are various industry standard software packages. A greater ability to work with this software will allow you to express your ideas more clearly and in more visually interesting ways.

While not essential, a good print designer should understand the print industry and the actions involved in the successful completion of a job. This is likely to come with more experience and exposure to live briefs, but embrace the technology and methods as they will only aid your development.

Although some career options do specifically cater for print designers, it is important to diversify your talent. Possessing the ability to showcase your creativity across digital platforms as well as print will always be an advantage.

How do I get started in print design?

It is likely that you will start out at a junior level or, possibly, as an ‘artworker’. Use this time to gain experience and improve your technical ability, whilst learning from those around you. With more experience and a solid, diverse portfolio, more senior positions will become available to you, perhaps as a project manager or even as a creative director.

Finally, work hard and stay focused! This may be a cliché, but it’s important when starting any new career and it is just as relevant in printed graphic design.

For more information on graphic design careers, check out the occupational profile of a graphic designer now!

Written by Thomas Elliott
Graphic & Web Designer @ CDS Global UK