Every graphic designer wants to get their name out there and land a job, but in such a competitive field how do you rise above the rest? Let’s take a look at five ways graphic design students and professionals alike can build awareness and be recognized.
1. Create an online portfolio
Every graphic designer should have an online presence if they plan to take themselves seriously. Putting up your work is not only easy, but in most cases free. There are a number of online portfolio websites that offer users the ability to upload and customize digital portfolios such as: Cargo Collective, Behance Network, Deviantart, and Carbonmade. Posting design samples online gives prospective employers and clients the opportunity to quickly browse through your art and get an understanding of your skills and abilities.
2. Brand yourself
As a graphic designer, your name is your brand. Take the time to develop and design business cards, a stellar resume, and put together a physical portfolio for interviews. Speaking of appearances, remember to dress appropriately and always follow up interviews with a thank you note. The employer will not only appreciate your attention to detail but your brand will too. Remember to edit your Facebook profile of unwanted photos and to Tweet responsibly.
3. Get involved
One of the best ways for graphic designers to build awareness is to get involved with like-minded individuals. Attend your local ADDY Awards, join an AIGA chapter, go to regional portfolio reviews, and get involved in design workshops, events and gallery shows. This will give you exposure to what’s new and fresh in graphic design, and opportunities to develop relationships with industry professionals, which leads us to the next tip.
4. Network, network, network
I can’t stress this one enough. It’s who you know that gets you the job, and what you know that keeps you there. Networking is a critical part of graphic design and to building awareness. When someone gets to know who you are, what you can do, and vouch for your work, it will go miles in terms of credibility and name recognition. Further, develop a 60-second self-promotion pitch with three key messages like your background, career interests and future endeavors. Practice this until it can be spoken off-the-cuff to potential employers, business partners and connections. You never know who might be looking to fill a position, or more importantly, who knows someone else who is.
5. Design from the heart
Nothing says more about who you are than the work you stand behind. Take on projects that challenge you as a designer and help you grow as a person. Maintain an inspiration file by collecting works of art that inspire and interest you. Love every second of what you create, and talk about it, to everyone. Not only will you come across passionate and connected, but authentic—something every employer is looking for.
What are some ways you think graphic designers can stand out?