Job Title: Graphic Designer
Type of Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - Primarily K 12 Education Products.
Education: BFA, Graphic Design
Previous Experience: I did an internship at a small design studio, had a job as a student on the university's in-house student design team and also worked while in school as a peer-tutor for graphic design and foundation art classes.
Job Tasks: I am on the sales/marketing creative services team for a large academically-oriented publishing company. I design marketing pieces for national and state-specific use. I design special offer flyers, product information flyers, invitations, product catalogs, program brochures, product brochures, ads, etc. Typically we supply any print or email marketing needs. (Although there is a separate email/web team, sometimes we are called upon).
I have to provide a fresh design to most pieces within a branded look and feel. The challenge is to be creative every day and to make the creativity work in a corporate context. Today, for example, I worked on a previously designed brochure for our mathematics programs. I chose a new image for the front cover to indicate the updates to the brochure, I also had more copy than the previous version, and had to use my typographic skills to make the copy/headline work in an eye-pleasing way.
Also, today I have designed six different flyers for one product. The flyer are grade-specific, so each has a different illustration and graphic element, though all are similar in style and directly correlate with the grade specific design of the actual product.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that I get to do something I love, design! I get to use my skills to help the end-user better understand and navigate our information in a way that makes sense.
The worst part of my job...is that I am entry-level, have a lot of ideas that are too out-of-the-box for such a corporate company. But with that said, you have to start somewhere, gain experience, and learn the in's and out's of business.
1. Make sure you choose a school with an accredited graphic design program. Gibbs and other technical schools focus more on the computer program usage as opposed to learning about design in depth.
2. Take as many internships as you can get. Most are un-paid, but it's something everyone has to do.
3. If possible go for a BFA over a BA. You'll be more in tune with the creative or art side of the design world and that will open up more opportunities.
Additional Thoughts: You must be able to take constructive criticism. In this field there is always someone who is going to look at your work and give you feedback. Some you may like it, some you may hate it, but it's all for the greater good.
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