If you’re a new graphic designer looking out at the world with hungry eyes, we can imagine you’re thinking one thing above all else: Where should I go to make my graphic and web design dreams a reality? Do I even need to move at all? Where should I go to be happy and satisfied with my work and my job?

If you’re feeling confused, and just want a little bit of professional advice, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got our whole thoughts on the matter spilled out below, ready for you to take advantage of.

  1. You’re A Real Achiever: Are you the sort of person that wants to do massive things with your life, and who detest the mere thought of living locally and catering to small businesses? Do you seriously want to design the next Coca-Cola logo? If that’s you, then move, baby, move! Head to New York and never look back. You may not actually want this as bad as you think you do, but either way, you’ll be miserable anywhere else. If, however, you’re more than content to remain in your home network, and don’t mind being a smaller shop on the map, stay where you are. A move might be too stressful for you, and the gains you’ll get from it are somewhat negligible.
  2. You’re Out of Options: Are you at a point where you simply don’t have any more names to pull out of the hat? What we mean is, are you at a point where there are no more local businesses or contacts you can call up to pursue new work? Is the design firm you’re working for catering to the same businesses over and over, and you’re feeling depressed about it? If so, then by all means: Pack your bags and head for the hills! There’s no point staying in a local job that’s going nowhere if you feel you have the potential to do so much more, as well as the means to give it a shot. Go, and never come back!
  3. You’re Willing to Compete: Do you have that sort of drive that makes it plausible for you to move to new territory, and immediately start competing with the firms and freelancers that already have a hold on the market? Do you have that ambition that says you can do anything, take on anybody, and wow absolute everyone with your designs? If so, then you’re at least prepared for a move to the big city with design in mind. If you’re thinking about a move to a city like New York or San Francisco, you really are going to have to fight these kinds of battles. If that’s not something you’re prepared for, then we suggest you stay elsewhere. It’s a hard, bloody battle up to the top, and you’re really going to have to want it.
  4. You’re Fresh out of Design School: Have you just emerged fresh from one of the nation’s biggest design schools? Did you earn your degree with honors, and now you’re eyeing the world with greedy eyes? If so, we might seriously suggest that you stay where you are and start planting roots. For instance, if you’ve just graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, you will have an entire list of contacts to use to hone your chops. However, moving away now will mean most of these followups are useless. Consider staying local to use the names your professors have given you, and making the most of the location you’re in. On that note:
  5. You Still Need to Hone Your Chops: Do you seriously need to work on your design skills? We aren’t just talking about learning the ropes, but do you really need a little extra time to work on the business side of things, to hone your ability to have intense conversations, and to produce work on a tight, stressful schedule? If the answer is “Yes, I’m still new at this!” then you’re really going to want to stay where you are. Use the smaller location you’re in now to really hone what you can do with a computer and a tablet. Get to the point where there’s absolutely nothing that can be thrown at you in your local scene that will phase you, and then start eyeing the bigger markets. If you don’t give yourself the chance to develop that framework, diving right into the deep end without the ability to swim will definitely end poorly: We’re talking about drowning here, guys.