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How to get started as a graphic designer

Our most frequently-asked question by FAR is, “how did you get started in graphic design”? While there are many paths (design school, online courses, self-education, etc.) to becoming a designer, today we’re sharing what worked for us in a fool-proof formula of self-education.



-Take advantage of the resources available to you

Back in our (financially stressful) college days, UCSB offered a free subscription to lynda.com to all students and we jumped on that immediately. Tons of schools and organizations offer resources and learning tools to help get you acquainted with your trade. If you’re not affiliated with a school or larger organization, try using free trials of learning platforms like lynda.com or skillshare.


-Find a mentor

The deciding factor that pushed our Design Director, Meredith, away from her scheduled path to grad school (for interpersonal communication research) was meeting her mentor. This prestigious stylist from Manhattan took Meredith under her wing and helped her navigate what was a “comfortable path” from her true calling. After spending several meetings together going over a new resume design, client profiles, and internship opportunities, Meredith knew that she had to keep going down this road of uncertain excitement. It was in seeing someone else believe in her dream that Meredith was able to find her own confidence as a designer.


-Narrow down your options

The gigantic umbrella of tasks that fall under “graphic design” can feel a bit daunting to someone who is just starting out. After learning more about the different types of design (I.e. web, package, branding, animation, etc.), start to narrow down the scope of your path. It might seem advantageous to learn everything all at once, but mastering your skillset in one or two specific areas is going to be your ticket to attracting the right clients.


-Consider the day-to-day

A common perception of designers is that w