What is it like being a Graphic Designer?
Let me tell you first what it's like deciding to be a graphic designer.
You're a Junior in high school and the question is prompted, "What do you want to be?"
"I don't effing know," said you, a 17 year old genius on the art of being vague and impossible.
In all honesty, you really aren't sure. You love all of the arts: drawing, painting, crafting ceramic mugs, etc. Your friends all tell you to be an 'artist' but the only artists you know are dead guys who weren't famous until after they were dead—so where's the cash flow in that, my un-insightful friends?
So your art teacher plops a couple of Art School brochures in front of you and you see this term "Graphic Design" getting thrown around and you think to yourself, "That sounds cool, but like, what IS graphic design?"
Nobody honestly knows. It's a big jumbled up mixture of shit you see never and shit you see always. It really is just as confusing as that last sentence. However, it's the only viable option to both be artistic and make some dough, so you sign on the dotted line in your blood and await the endless confusion of being an art student but not that kind of art student.
Your first design professor in college will tell you, "graphic design is everywhere," as they stare off in an upward blank right stare and form an imaginary rainbow with their hands. You definitely don't glance into the distance as they say this... that would be weird (you do). Everyone who asks what you're studying either blankly stares at you and says, "oh so you like... draw stuff on a computer?" or tells you, "Awesome! That's a great field to get into." You are ecstatic at how often you hear it's a great field to get into—that means dolla dolla bills, yo. Doesn't it?
Let's fast forward to you, post grad, skimming the job market for Graphic Design jobs. You and the other thousands of new graduates are furiously applying to any position that has the word "designer" in it. You spent the last 4-5 years intensely studying Adobe CC software, building a personal style, and refining your eye to see what everyone wants to see before anyone even sees it—but you don't actually have any experience, according to employers. Your best bet is to get an underpaid internship or freelance for shit pay while you build your portfolio and moonlight as a bartender.
Perhaps one of the gracious companies accepting entry level designers has decided to employ you. You're making thirty-something-thousand (not the high end, because you "have no experience") to be assigned two week projects to be done EOD tomorrow. This is both laughable and cryable depending on who you are in the situation.
It's tough to understand the amount of time and effort that goes into graphic design. You're typically in a business setting, so all of your creativity that goes into your work is unrecognized or misunderstood. You very often need to find creative ways to tap into those creative juices, sometimes without even so much as a window view to lead to inspiration.
Don't let this grim humor deflect from the awesome parts of the world of graphic design. Designers are kind of super human. They can create from nothing to something extraordinary and do it in often very pressing time frames. Designers can see things differently from the common folk. Those muggles see an annoying popup ad, you see fine-tuned CSS that allows for elegant rounded corners and a perfectly placed "close" button with a tri-color gradient. It's magical to see beauty in an annoying pop-up ad. I think this creates a more positive lifestyle (I'm sure of it) for us designers.
Not to mention, in ten years our worth in the market quadruples and we're sitting pretty in a near six figure income.
Being a graphic designer rules.
About the Creator
Christina wears many hats, she is a health and fitness enthusiast, social media and marketing extraordinaire and graphics and web design powerhouse.
She writes on all topics as her heart desires! Enjoy!