Job Title: Graphic Designer
Education: Certificate in Interior Decorating Associates in Architectural Engineering Technology
Previous Experience: I worked as a Yard Forman at a small lumber yard for three years. This prompted me to take classes in Architecture, Engineering, and CAD. That is what I assumed my career would be. I got a temporary position as a Kitchen Designer while finishing my degree and realized that was not the work I wanted to do. I saw an ad for Graphic Designer and being good with computer systems and software programs I applied and was hired. I then decided that this was the career path for me and thus far I have been studying and working in graphic programs ever since.
Job Tasks: My company is a digital printing shop. We use laser printing to accomplish much of our goals. Laser printing is printing by depositing the ink on top of the paper and heating it up to mel't onto the paper to get a print.
I say that because this makes a difference in the job requirement of a graphic designer. A graphic Designer essentially has medium's like an artist that he/she must work with. The medium I work with is laser ink. But a graphic designer, you can be a web designer, press shop designer, or even a jack of all trades as in a self-employed graphic designer at home who works on various different projects.
A typical day for my company: We print books, racks cards, two and three part paper (carbon copies), business cards ec't. We also run folding equipment, binders (for book binding), laminators, large format printers (plotting example: blueprints & posters)
A typical day for me: I create specialized graphics for customers and do layout and troubleshooting for all the software programs. In a nutshell, I am the one who designs printable material that is compatible for printing, fixes the problems of other material that needs to be printed, and other various tasks on a case-by-case basis.
If a customer needs a logo, I create one. If they have a logo and they need it in a different format, I re-create it so it can be used in other applications. If they need a business card, I make one. If they have a business card but need information changes, I change it. If a raffle ticket needs numbering, I create formulas to automatically number the document. If a calendar needs dating, I also run software and create formulas to help the calendar date itself.
I use various programs and I must be educated in them all:
Adobe Design (InDesign, Photoshop, illustrator, etc.) Microsoft (Word, Excel, Power Point, Publisher etc.) Variable Data Software (Postalshop Mail, Print Shop Mail, etc )
In summary, I am more of a software technician than a designer. But I use software to design and troubleshoot printing problems.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best. Seeing the finished project. It gives you a sense of self satisfaction to know that you designed it and that your customer likes it. Anything that I might write in the worst part of my job section will by overwritten by this fact alone. I also enjoy getting to know customers and building clientele. I work with many people one on one and I do not have to rush from customer to customer as I would in a retail setting.
The worst part: Picky customers, all graphic designers have the same complaint. A customer that says they want something that you think you provided and they decide it was not what they wanted after all. You have a fair share of customers that misinterpret your job title and think you are also an editor too. They assume that you will know how family names are spelled, etc.
1. Although I have made a pretty cushy living in printed design it is slowly being phased out. I find it harder and harder to find work now.
2. What I have learned from that is that schooling never ends. I need to constantly change with the changing technology. I design files that are both printed and posted on the web now. I make newsletters that can be downloaded and printed at home and have a need to be smaller file sizes. I will eventually build my career around web design and web graphics rather than rack card and business card designing. Flow with the times and you will never be obsolete.
Additional Thoughts: I found my way into graphic design by starting my career in construction. It was probably the most helpful thing I could have done. What I have brought to this job and I am able to use based on prior experience is more valuable than just taking classes at a university. A degree is helpful only when you are seeking employment though a company. In all other cases, you can self-employ yourself if you have tons of personal interest and experience. Most of my fellow graphic Designers simply had an interest pursued it and started their own businesses. Although schooling helps, it is not imperative. And rounding you experience with knowledge of other companies (because you will work for all types of companies) is more valuable than a degree. If you decide to go to school do not take loans as this job will not pay enough to pay off your loans after graduation.
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