Ayush Kumar On Thursday, July 8, 2010

I have always had an inclination towards art and creativity since I was a kid. I used to go for art classes for many years. When I grew up, I used to sketch on my own. I was very fond of sketching and shading (you can see some of my sketches here). But something was missing. I was not able to express myself through traditional art the way I wanted to. Something more was needed. Painting was not an option because I was horrible at it.

So one day, while I was checking some cool wallpapers I got as a mail, I got curious and visited the site from where the wallpapers came from. This site was Abduzeedo.com. And this is where I was introduced to the world of digital art and design. It was amazing! Graphic design could be used to create anything. This was the thing missing. I sometimes think that I started a bit late at 18 and made some wrong career choices just because I was unaware of this field. But atleast I am on track now.

Therefore, in this post, I'm stating 35 reasons as to why you should start out as a graphic designer today, if you have that creative blood in your veins and are not afraid of computers. I hope this post will help you decide what to do. If you are already a graphic designer, this might help you know what openings you have as a graphic designer. Lets start with some general reasons and then move on to career related and personality development related reasons.

General and technical reasons
Being a graphic designer is awesome!
1. Its an unconventional career

Atleast it is, in India. People still think of art and design as a 'hobby' and mainly go for a career in engineering, medicine, law etc. But change is here. People are starting to consider this as a career too. More and more youngsters are going into design related careers these days.  

2. A lot of scope

Earlier, while launching a product, advertising used to find a place in the bottom of their to-do lists. They used to think customers would come on their own because the competition was very less. But now, with increasing competitions from rivals, companies are turning to innovative advertising because it is the only chance to showcase their product to people before they buy. Same is for websites and product products. More and more emphasis is being laid on visually appealing advertising and packaging. As a result, the demand for designers and artists is increasing. These are just two examples. There are many more examples out there. 

3. Help beautify the world

This reason may sound a weird to some, I think. But we all know how this world is filled with ugly things. On the net (ugly websites and ads), as well as the real life (bad product packaging, boring looking houses and buildings etc.). Don't you wish a particular thing looked the way you wanted or was a little more beautiful? Beautiful things make us happy. Ugly things only spoil our mood. You'll only make this world a better place to live in.

4. You get to know the web better

The internet is a big place. Being a graphic designer, initially you have to struggle to find good resources, people and tools on the net. In this process, you learn a lot about about the way the internet works and what to find where. The same happened with me. And the same has happened with all the designers out there. You wouldn't find a designer who doesn't know the 'secrets' of the web. It will help you greatly because most of your work later will be web related.

5. This is as good as (or even better) than traditional art

You (probably) read my story above explaining this point. You can achieve similar results with softwares like photoshop etc. that you achieve with oil paints and all. And there are some things that can just be done with computers only. Like print work, advertisements etc. Atleast I will say that I find digital art and design better than traditional art because I can express myself better with this medium.

 6. A helpful community to guide you

There are SO many websites, articles, freebies and forums to guide and help you if you are new to the world of design. From beginner to advanced level, you can find tutorials and articles on almost everything imaginable. Some of the good ones out there include Smashing Magazine, Abduzeedo, Tuts+ network, DeviantArt etc.
Some useful links: Where to Find Free Design Feedback | Design Shack

Career related reasons
Working as a freelancer
Please note - The following are the benefits if you are both a designer and a freelancer. But most of these work for part-time designers too.

7. Lots of career openings

This is one of the MAIN reasons why graphic design is so good. There are so many things you can do or become to increase your skills or earn some extra income. 

A. Blogging: Everybody should have a blog, I think. And graphic designers have more reasons to have one. One's own website can serve as a portfolio as well as you can use it as a blog side by side. And you can always earn some extra income by advertisements on your blog! You should know that some people earn their living by blogging only. One example is of the famous blogger Darren Rowse

B. Web-designing: Website designing is another full time career. If you can design graphics and all, designing websites is easy. A lot of graphic designers are also web-designers. Webdesign also has a lot of potential as people are realizing how important it is to have a good looking website to attract future customers and build an impression. Therefore, web-designers are in demand these days. And this field pays well too. 

C. Developing: If you can design graphics, why not design interfaces of software and apps too? You can always team up with a coder or can learn coding yourself to make high-quality software and apps (web-apps, iPhone apps etc.). This is another well paying career advancement option. 

D. Photography: All these options are related. You can even become a photographer if you are interested in photography. I have seen a lot of designers who pursue photography as a hobby along with design business. As a creative, your photography sense eventually develops. 

E. Join a company: You can also join a company as a creative and can become the creative head, art director  or something like that once you gain some experience. The salaries are very good as there is a growing demand for professionals in this field. If you check out the job portals, you will see what I mean. 

8. Become a freelancer

The benefits of becoming a freelancer outweigh its downsides. Many famous graphic and web-designers such as Fabio Sasso, Chuck Anderson and James white are freelancers. Become self-employed. Choose whom to work with. Work from your home. You are your own boss. This is life! And yes, there are a lot of sites like FreelanceFolder and FreelanceSwitch to help you out.

Lets talk about the benefits of being a freelance graphic and/or web designer, developer etc. First, some useful links:

9. Choose your clients and boss

You don't like your present client? There's always an option to let go of him. Because you'll soon find others. Though you might lose one income stream, you will have others (income from advertisements on your blog, income from selling graphic leftovers etc.) to support you. And finding a new client won't be difficult if you are good at your work and can sell your services good. Whereas in a 12-hour regular job, you cannot change or challenge your boss easily and you have to do all that your boss wants to do. Can't leave that job too because its the only source of your income.

10. LOTS of income streams

Who says graphic and web-designers can't earn as much as regular job-goers? As a graphic designer, you can build multiple sources of income. All these income streams add up to give a good amount of income per month. There are people doing it. They are supporting their families too. So, it can be done. Here are some articles that show you how you can build you income streams:

11. Earn while sleeping

In a regular job, as long as you continue going to the office, you continue getting your salary. Wouldn't it be nice to earn even while you wern't working?Wouldn't it be nice to sleep peacefully and still be earning overnight? Yep. It is. And the fact is, many people are doing it. They are generating Passive Income streams. I have already shared with you in the previous point some links to earn passive income. Links for you:

12. More savings

You save a lot of money by working at home. Transportation costs, food costs etc. Plus, in a regular job, incomes is taxed and distributed at various levels before it reaches you.. So you get less than what you actually toil for. But when self-employed, you get what you deserve and pay the tax on one level only. Thus the money saved can be used for better things. Some open-source software and cool links for you to save even more money:

13.You keep learning new things

Technology changes fast. Very fast. As a designer, you constantly need to update your knowledge about different softwares, tools and skills. You learn how to learn. The excitement and eagerness keeps you on your toes, always. This doesn't happen in a regular job, where you have to work for several years on the same technologies. After some time, boredom creeps in and you lose all interest in your job. Also when you work on your own, you apply the things you have learnt which most of the times isn't possible when working under someone.  

14. You don't get a fan following in office

True. People don't go crazy over your work if you can fix a computer or make business deals with clients. OK, some people like your boss may be 'impressed', but its nowhere near the way designers are worshiped by their fans. You do get a fan following if you can make awesome posters, cool websites, produce amazing content on your blog etc. Get my point? People can't wait for your next creation. They want to know you, what you do, how you do it and everything about you. You gather followers over time. This surely doesn't happen in a regular job unless you are an actor or something like that. 

15. You love your work

It happens. You do engineering in electronics (assuming you wanted to do it) but are made to transfer files from one table to another, when you finally get a job after graduation. I believe over half the people in this world are stuck in the wrong job, just because of parental pressure, peer pressure and wrong advice. Half the people really don't love their jobs. But no one can really force you to become a graphic designer. If you are into it, you are because of you wanted to. And in this, you choose the work. So there isn't any scope of doing unwanted and hated work. As a result of it, your productivity is increased because as they say - the work you like to do, isn't 'work' anymore at all.

16. Business sense develops

This is one of the benefits of dealing with clients on your own and earning income. Being a freelancer, a lot of records about your income and transactions need to be kept for taxes and all. Also, you learn how to convince clients to continue using your services in the future and also convince new clients why they should hire you. This, afterall, is business. Just as you would in a regular job, you learn the 'business thing' on your own.

17. Freedom is yours

Being a freelancer, you work from your home. You are free to set your own rules and working hours and can maximize productivity by working in the time and way that suits you. No more being confined to a small cubicle anymore. You can do whatever you like, wear whatever you want. You are free.

18. More time for family and home

One day, you will grow up, get married and support a family. In a regular job, you will have go to work at 8 a.m, return at 8 p.m, and work 6 days a week. As a result, you will be too tired on Sundays and will hardly get any time to spend with your loved ones. If you were a freelancer artist, you would be working from home and so you can spend more time with your family. This will greatly help in building relationships with your loved ones.

19. Development in soft skills

For work, you have to interact with clients. As you can even work for overseas clients, you have to interact with them too. Plus, its necessary for a designer to meet and tell people of what he/she does so that potential clients can contact them. In all these processes of interaction with people, the soft skills such as speaking abilities, manners etc. develop. And we all know how important soft skills are, apart from from technical skills, to win over a new client or an employer.

Personality development related

Stand out from the herd!
20. Your brain develops

Being creative helps develop your brain. This is because you have to use your grey matter to come up with new ideas for making something. Something that is innovative, fresh and useful. Something that woos the audience. All this just helps in the development of your brain.

21. Your personality develops

Meeting with clients, connecting with people and innovative thinking help in developing your overall personality. You get the required exposure and gradually overcome your shyness too (for introverts). And yes, the speaking abilities also develop, as I have mentioned above. 

22. Learn to stand up for yourself

Clients from Hell is a very good site that shows how sometimes your clients can spoil your mood. Instead of the negative aspects of these clients, see the positive aspects of dealing with such people - you get stronger from within, more experienced and wise. They are indirectly teaching you to stand up for yourself when you get cheated and explore different methods by which you can force them to 'behave' (this includes contracts and legal help etc.). Some links:

23. Time management

Thinking that working from home and on your own means less work is very, very wrong. Since there is no job security like in a regular job, you have to work equally hard (or maybe even more) here. And since there are multiple income streams, it means the amount of work is more, even though it might be less in load. From all these processes, you learn time management. Checking your mails, tweets, facebook, interacting with people, doing client's work, time with family... all this requires time management. You might be comfortable at home, but it doesn't mean you have to work less than others. Some links:

24. Its like a survival training

Except that you HAVE to survive in this one. While this might seem one of the downsides of being a freelance creative, look at it in a positive way. Think of it as a survival training like the ones the army provides to its soldiers. You are left alone in a jungle. And you have to survive there for 2 days. There is nothing with you except your skills and your brain. Initially, you are slow. But once you get the hang of it, you learn to survive easily. What does the soldier become after this training? Tough. And yeah, remember the story of Robinson Crusoe? Place yourself in this situation. It'll only help you become tough.

Oh yes.. one silly reason too..

25. Graphic designers are cool

Yup. There sure is an awesomeness surrounding them! Or atleast I think so! ;-) :p

These are just my views from what I have learnt till now. If you have better suggestions or want to correct me somewhere, why not comment below? Or send me a message on twitter at @aharmonyofhues :)


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