Hi, I’m a new poster here but I’ve lurked for ages. I saw a really good post with advice about graphic design a few weeks ago and it got me thinking about my current job and all the various reasons I don’t like it, which I won’t be detailing here except to say that both the work and the people leave something to be desired.
I want to go into graphic design and/or web design, but need some advice on how to get started. I have always been happiest when I have the opportunity to be creative. The bright spots at my current job are always the rare times when I get to create something like a template, a graphic, a newsletter, just anything where I get to make something look good.
I believe I have a reasonable dose of natural ability - I’m generally satisfied with the things I create (except when I have those unavoidable “everything I do SUCKS!” moments), people at work are always impressed when I create something for them, and people I’ve created websites for have been happy with them. I’m comfortable with HTML and CSS, I know a VERY tiny bit of PHP, and I feel relatively comfortable with Photoshop, learning more all the time.
I feel kind of odd asking here, as my sister is currently majoring in graphic design, and I have another relative who does that kind of work on the side, but they’re both younger than me and don’t have a very realistic perspective on life yet. I’m not exactly ancient myself at 30, but I’m old and crusty at heart.
Steps I plan to take are:
- Purchase some books and read up (recommendations very welcome)
- Talk to several coworkers, etc, who are already in the business
- Continue practicing and learning on my own
- Grab a domain and start building a portfolio
I also want to get some formal training as I’m completely self-taught, but I’m not sure of the best way to do it.
- Do I need to go back to school full time? (I’d prefer not to do this…)
- Should I take courses at the local community college?
- Or should I look into some sort of weeklong training/certification thing?
- Something else entirely?
- What software do I need to learn? Which topics would be most beneficial?
And the big question: how to get started? I don’t want to do freelance except as a side thing to a regular job with the usual benefits (insurance, etc). I don’t mind starting waaaaay at the bottom but I worry that I’m too old (30) to be an intern or something similar. I could suck it up without benefits for a while if needed as my health is good, but I’d be nervous doing that long-term.
As for samples… I have a few things I can share, all websites and site templates, but I would prefer to do so through private messages. I don’t want to post too much identifying information in a “public” area like this.
Questions, suggestions, thoughts, advice? Maybe what I’m interested in isn’t called graphic design at all? Tell me!