There are endless careers in this vast world from which many people choose. The options are limitless. However, many people at some point or another decide to venture down the path of design, and find themselves involved in graphic design. Most people have their own opinions on the profession. At some point in their lives many people wonder, “Is graphic design for me?”

Many people have no idea what graphic design is even though it stares us all in our faces every day. According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), graphic design is, “the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content”. Essentially, graphic design is the conveying of a message through words and images.

Many believe that graphic designers are artists. While it is true that many artists choose to go into the field of graphic design, not all graphic designers are artists. However, creativity is a must. Many professionals will say that designers aren’t simply artists, they’re problem solvers. Therefore, I believe that a graphic designer is a person who constantly strives to strike the balance between creativity and problem solving in order to visually display a message through the use of images and text.

You should consider being a graphic designer if:

  • You really enjoy unpredictability and the excitement of creating new things every day
  • You enjoy being creative, being in creative environments and being among creative persons
  • You are open minded seeing things from various perspectives
  • You enjoy learning about a variety of aspects of the world
  • You love art

As a graphic designer you sell ideas. Your job is to make your thoughts visual and tangible. Your work will be admired by many and denounced by many. Criticism comes as part of the job. If you believe that these things will bring happiness and exhilaration to your life, then you should think about graphic design as a career.

You have to be able to accept criticism, both constructive and irrelevant. You will receive valid criticism from those more experienced than you. You have to remind yourself that you have yet to know everything. You will receive criticism from those who are unable to do better than you. You have to remind yourself that not all criticism is pertinent. And of course, you need to be able to critique yourself. Not everything you do will be perfect on the first try. I’m sure many designers can relate to the harsh reality of having to let go of an idea which they once believed to be the best thing in the world. Sometimes we fall so deeply in love with our ideas we can see no fault in them. You will always receive criticism. You need to remember that there is no aesthetic supreme. You will eventually learn to discern the good critiques from the bad.

You may ponder walking the path of a graphic designer and wonder if you can be successful as a graphic designer. There have been many successful graphic designers, famous and unknown. Your definition of success is one of the factors that defines if you can be “successful” as a graphic designer.  As with all careers, your work ethic will really be the most important factor. If you are content working regular hours doing basic graphic design, then by all means. However, if you can discipline yourself enough to know that graphic design can be an extremely long and arduous road, full of turmoil, but with very rewarding results, and push on through it all, then maybe you should consider a career in graphic design. Again, this applies to nearly all professions, not just graphic design.

Personally, I find myself dealing with the most extreme graphic design trials every couple of years or so. These become so intense I question whether I chose the correct career path for myself. Nevertheless, I press on and the trials always pass. They make good stories after though. Moments like those make me realise that graphic design is the right path for me. This may not apply to everyone however, and that’s perfectly fine. Not every person that began a career in graphic design stuck with it forever. There’s no shame in leaving the path behind if you know you gave it your all. Some things just aren’t for some people. You have to know yourself.

I’m sure I speak on behalf of many others when I recommend graphic design as one of the most invigorating things you can do. Long days and longer nights, insanely stimulating results, mental break downs and the satisfaction of doing what you love and getting paid for it are all a part of graphic design. When you find yourself faced with the wonderful, ubiquitous question of a career choice and stumble upon the world of graphic design, I hope that this article helps you come closer to your decision.