Do you ever consider a career path that feeds your imagination? Or one that lets you make incredible designs for multinational companies? Or a career that gives you clients from all over the world? If the answer is yes, yes, and ye, then you might be considering becoming a graphic designer. But wait, before you start your design career, there are some things to consider first, and it’s not just your design skills.
Understand Your Own Strength and Weakness
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is a way to measure your abilities. That way, you can polish the area you are strong at while working to patch the things you are weak at. However, when you are trying to sell your service, don’t focus too hard on your weaknesses. Flex your strength through your work to keep clients’ satisfaction. Measuring your capabilities also provides a way to fairly set your price based on the value you provide.
One way to measure your strong and weak points is by using SWOT analysis. An acronym of ‘Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat’, this method analyzes your traits based on the internal and external factors you experience. Strength and weaknesses formed the internal factors, while external factors defined the opportunity and threat.
Favorable and unfavorable factors that come from you or your work define your strength and weakness, respectively. For example, your strength could be your own design skill or your communication skill, while your weakness is that you are prone to procrastinate. Accordingly, opportunity and threat were defined by favorable and unfavorable factors outside of you or your works. These external factors could be your tools, your environment, or even a particular client’s ridiculous requests.
Invest in Gaining Leadership Skills
Leadership skill is crucial even if you are not working in a design firm or as an in-house designer for a brand. If you are working as an employee, you’d eventually climb the ladder and lead your own team (or even the entire company). Now, imagine the chaos that would ensue if you do not possess the skill to hold said position. That’s why investing some time to hone your leadership skills will help you in your work and in gaining your colleagues’ trust.
Learn How to Reduce Your Stress Load
We are not going to sugarcoat this: being a graphic designer could put you under a lot of stress. Tight deadlines, hardware malfunctions, software not responding, not to mention sometimes you have to deal with unpleasant clients—all of these things are stress hazards. And when the stress accumulates, you won’t get anything done. That’s why stress management is a valuable skill.
Try making a list of what can and will stress you out and how to cope with it. Taking a short break every now and then also helps with reducing your stress load. Make sure you get enough sleep, ideally 6-8 hours, and mind what you are consuming; try to maintain a balanced diet. Exercising at least twice a week also provides a way to blow off some pent-up emotions, as well as keeping you healthy.
Keep on Learning
Do not pretend like you know everything—instead, try thinking that you know nothing, so you have a reason to learn something new. Learning new skills, trying out new methods, or even trying a different art style counts as learning. As you improve your skills and knowledge, the value you can give to your work also improves. With improved value, you can set your price higher, improving your overall design career.
Mind Your Surroundings
By surroundings, we meant the people you spent your time with, colleagues or clients alike. Working with toxic people would badly affect your work, whether you realize it or not. On the contrary, being surrounded by colleagues that properly appreciate you and your work will help you improve yourself.
Always Prepare a Backup
This is especially crucial if you work as a digital artist. You never know when your computer fails you, or lightning strikes your power lines and toast all your electronics, or if someone breaks into your home and takes your assets. All these uncertainties highlight the importance of keeping a backup of your work. Regularly storing a copy of your works in separate drives or uploading them to a cloud service will do the trick.