So You Want to Be a Designer |

So You Want to Be a Designer?


Image of graphic designer, working from Shutterstock

I was recently having coffee with a friend who was trying to offer advice to an aspiring designer. “It’s really difficult,” they told me. “I can’t really give someone advice about being a designer unless I know what kind of designer they want to be.”

It had me thinking. At the age of ten, my best friend Elaine knew exactly what she wanted to be — an archaeologist. Fast forward twenty-something years, and she’s living her dream. As an adaptable writer, I’ve experienced a varied and exciting career from music journalism to producing children’s games. But imagine what I could have achieved if I’d set out with a career strategy.

“I can’t really give someone advice about being a designer unless I know what kind of designer they want to be.”

The great thing about setting career goals is the satisfaction you can feel in achieving them. With this in mind, “how do you be a designer?” The first step is to work out what flavour of designer you want to be.

Whether you’re at the beginning of your career, you’re looking for the next step up (or sideways), or you’re looking for a complete career change, the best thing to do is to research the goal you could set. Here are the top roles for designers:

User Experience/Interactive Designer

User Experience/Interface Designers are responsible for designing websites and other applications with user-centered design principles. This means they design sites to best support the end user through studying user research, testing and psychology principles. Learn more about the role

Web Designer

A Web Designer develops and creates the look, layout and features of websites and associated applications. This position requires a strong proficiency in graphic design and computer programming. Learn more about the role

Motion Graphics Designer

A Motion Graphics Designer creates complex graphics, animation and live video content for a diverse array of media, including smartphones, handheld electronic devices, the web and television, among others. Learn more about the role

Graphic Designer

As an graphic designer, a person will be an integral part of larger campaigns and will often take on smaller projects independently. Learn more about the role

The more you know about yourself, your aspirations, and the environment you thrive best in working, the better equipped you are to find the job of your dreams. As they say — “The more you know, the more you’ll grow.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring graphic designers? We’d love to hear from you. Have your say in the comments below.

  • Lucas Glenn

    Great summary!
    “Designer” is a tough job to summarize because it can cover so many industries. Interior design, furniture design, packaging design, and all of the things you mentioned… Every man-made thing that exists has to be designed by someone.