Working as a Graphic Designer

I like to think that my website contains all the answers to questions that visitors and prospective clients might have about me and my work, but seeing that I anticipate that the first contact for many people will be via my blog, it makes sense to provide some information about myself here. I’ve been inspired by a great idea recently suggested over at Creative Curio to address six questions about being a Graphic Designer. Here are my responses:

Just for reference, when and how did you get your start in the industry?

I began my design studies a few years ago, after working for several years as a television and radio journalist. I was looking for a new direction, something more creative and from the outset I wanted to work for myself, for flexibility and greater control over my career path. I studied design and multimedia, and began freelancing while I was studying. In 2007 and early 2008 I also worked as an animator with Blue Rocket Productions.

How do you define graphic design?

I remember having to answer this question for the selection interview to get into my design course. While I don’t remember exactly what I said then, it would have been along the lines of: graphic design uses all aspects of visual media – layout, typography, colour, illustration, photography, written language (and video should be added to the list) to effectively communicate a message. It’s not necessary to be fashionable, or beautiful, or stylish, but frequently incorporates at least one of these.

What was the hardest thing to learn about the industry?

Marketing: developing the confidence to network and promote yourself have been the greatest learning curves. Fortunately my design course included a unit on business studies which has been of great value.

What is the best part about your job?

The variety of the work, and the fact that each new project is a fresh slate. Taking a design from initial concept to completed artwork is also deeply satisfying, especially when the client is excited by what I’ve produced. Also, the design field is moving so quickly that I feel like I am constantly learning and absorbing new ideas, which I find exciting and stimulating.

What is the number one thing you would like to tell new designers?

Decide what aspect of design you are happiest doing, and use that as the focus of your career. Research employers, get in contact with the people you would most like to work for, ask if they have internships or if you can do a short stint of work experience (if the answer is yes, then do your best work and be reliable). You are most likely to land a full time job with the company you want to work for, if they already know who you are and like you.

What is something you wish other designers would understand?

This is a difficult question because I don’t feel that I can dictate to other designers. Something which I think is important, and the industry by and large realises this already, is to acknowledge the value of your own work. Don’t undersell yourself by offering $50 logos or $100 websites simply because someone has asked you for them, or you’ve heard that another designer is doing it. No one can produce good quality work under those conditions, and it devalues the industry.

Be sure to take a look at the great responses others have made:


  • inspirationbit

    June 12, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Hi Tracey. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS with the launch of your new site. It looks fabulous! You did an amazing job styling the Revolution theme. I didn’t even recognize until I read your credits.

    Looks like it’s going to be the first comment on your blog πŸ™‚
    And what a lucky coincidence that Lauren started this graphic designer’s meme, which is a perfect fit for your very first post here.

    I looked at your portfolio – some great work you’ve done there, in such a short period of your designing career. Btw, television and radio journalist sounds very exciting to me too πŸ™‚ I bet that past experience will help you a lot with writing for your blog! All the best!

  • LaurenMarie – Creative Curio

    June 12, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Awesome! Thanks for participating, Tracey! I liked reading your answers πŸ™‚ Feel free to tag other design/creative bloggers, too!

    LaurenMarie – Creative Curios last blog post..Six Questions on Being a Graphic Designer

  • Tracey

    June 12, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you, and congratulations on being the very first commenter! Yes, I worked hard to customise Revolution to make the design something I felt was mine and not borrowed (or, in this case, purchased). It’s a great theme.

    I’m glad you enjoyed reading my responses to your questions – your replies were great too. I especially liked reading about your “aha” moments – so true. I’ve actually been planning my own meme-style post for this blog, around the question of “what do you enjoy most about what you do?” but not restricting it to designers – very soon.

  • kristarella

    June 12, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Wow, interview to get into your course?

    Excellent first post!

    kristarellas last blog post..Multiple WordPress Blogs

  • Tracey

    June 13, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Yes, it was a course which had a very limited intake (15 students per year) so there was some competition to get in.
    I’m glad you liked my first post – I have lots of ideas lined up for future posts so keep checking by, or even better – subscribe to the feed.

  • David Airey

    June 16, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Great work styling the Revolution theme! Like Vivien, I also didn’t recognise it until I read it mentioned. Off to subscribe. πŸ™‚

    David Airey’s last blog post … Logo of the month #8

  • Tracey

    June 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you! I’ve been getting some really positive feedback on the site redesign, which is an enormous boost. I hope you enjoy the future posts I’ll be rolling out, starting in the next day or so.

  • Eric

    June 18, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Hi Tracy nice site, and great answer on not underselling your work. It does devalue the industry as a whole. – Eric

    Eric’s last blog post … MTV reality show for graphic designers

  • Tracey

    June 20, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    It’s so tricky to know where to draw the line in the sand when pricing your work – too low? too high? Good industry research and taking pride in your work count for a great deal. Thanks for your feedback.

  • Rob Cubbon

    June 22, 2008 at 5:22 am

    I really like the look of your website as, unlike a lot of others in this area, it doesn’t really look like a blog on the home page and therefore looks much more professional. I hope you get loads of work as a result of your efforts.

    Interesting to hear about your background and what you like about the job. Looks like we all like the variety!

    Rob Cubbon’s last blog post … Six questions to a graphic designer

  • Tracey

    June 24, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Thank you for such encouraging comments about the site – high praise especially from someone with such an extensive background in graphic design.

  • Six questions to a graphic designer | Blog | Graphic and Web Designer London UK

    April 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

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