My Career in… Graphic Design

mat pic 1What do you do now?

I’m a Graphic artist and e-learning designer for a government agency.

What are you working on at the moment?

I design 2d and 3d illustration, video, photography, infographics, web and learning content for a variety of internal clients. Plus I train people in new project systems and software. 

So how did you get to this point in your career?

I originally trained as an architect, I did an MA that was more design orientated, got interested in computer graphics, worked in pc games for a while, freelanced and then by chance this permanent in-house job came up. 

What are the highs & lows?

The job is continuously evolving from making videos to animating 3d  buildings.

I have to be a creative jack-of-all-trades and whilst the  pay of a civil servant isn’t great, the flexible working, holidays and pension are, as well as the fact I have a great deal of direct artistic input into the nature and end results of my various projects. 

What training or experience are essential to get in?

  •  A degree helps lay the foundations of design, but an attitude of getting stuck into everything also helps.
  • Work is hectic though and there is rarely time to learn new skills which is less beneficial.
  • Be prepared to work on projects both high brow and simple, from rapidly designing pdf help sheets in an afternoon through to complex interactive web experiences with input from many layers of clients.

What about attitude, personality or interests? 

Clearly a love for all things creative must be in your blood, combined with a lot of initiative and a thick skin for personal criticism helps too!

How have you found opportunities in this field?

The web drives everything, as does self promotion. 

Traditional media is slowly fading, I have friends in publishing who say that big volume print is essentially dead. People very quickly learn that their radical student designs are tempered by real world sensibilities and competing demands.

What advice would you give someone considering a similar career?

  • Get as much diverse experience as possible in a variety of mediums and Markets.
  • Be aware that potentially boring employers like government agencies and so on may in fact deliver more direct creative control than a big name global agency or cutting edge brand.
  •  Oh, and design may only be part of your day to day job, along with numerous meetings, project management, negotiation and delivery.
  • Plus, look after your body, drawing for eight hours a day can impact on your health!
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