Whether you’re fresh out of art school and ready to rumble, or just left a less than ideal day job to pursue a career as a design freelancer, beginning a career as a graphic arts professional can be every bit as intimidating as it can be rewarding. Becoming adjusted to the various daily challenges of the post can be difficult at best, and we feel your pain. No matter what you’re specializing in, the following tips aimed at newbie graphic designers will help you quickly learn the ropes, get clients, and develop a reputation as a solid content creator. Starting with:

  1. Practice Dilligently: We mean it: Do every tutorial you aren’t already familiar with, and even a few others you just happen to come across. If you lack any formal education in the field of graphic design, we especially recommend you partake in this step. A lot of what’s taught in colleges and universities can be learned at home with minimal expenses. Take the time to do the research, and your job will be much easier once you start to sign clients.
  2. Master Photoshop: On a similar note, if you aren’t a certified Photoshop wizard, get that way. We cannot emphasize this enough, but if you haven’t got a solid handle on the application—your primary money making utility—you’re only setting yourself up for headaches further down the road.
  3. Be Organized: If you’re like us, you frequently encounter free brushes, textures, or patterns that absolutely snag your interest. If you’re even more like us—God help you—you download everything that crosses your path. This is an effective resource building habit, but only if you do it correctly. Be sure to keep a systematic and organized file system on hand to store all of your design resources. Doing this housecleaning now ensures that you don’t lost time when you actually need to draw from the pool. Losing that all important texture will only aggravate the system, so store your items carefully on the front end to save time.
  4. Be Critical: If you encounter any materials that look like good design to your eye, stop to analyze why exactly it strikes you that way. What about the content, site, or print media makes you halt in your tracks? If you can pinpoint individual elements, you are then capable of reproducing those points in your own work, improving your projects from the ground up.