Beginning designers definitely don’t have it easy in this day and age. The competition is fierce and it’s easy to get discouraged at square one. Here are some tips to get yourself out of the opening gate and move forward with confidence.

1. Get your hands on the programs


The first tip is for many is the most challenging simply due to how expensive the Adobe design software is. Luckily there are some options for getting your hands on the software without spending too much.

One option is taking a class. This not only often lands you in a classroom with preinstalled software, it also gives you a chance to see if graphic design speaks to you. Another option for those in college is to explore the campus for labs with preinstalled software. It may even be possible to use these labs as a guest a friend’s campus.

The final option is to use the trial software. While you won’t be able to get far in the realm of design contests with this, it does still provide the opportunity to get your hands “dirty”.

2. Get interested and light a fire


The people who stick around in the graphic design trade aren’t the ones who choose the profession for it’s perks, pay, or work-from-home aspects. They are the ones who actually find a passion for getting extremely good at graphic design.

A good tip for beginning graphic designers is to really dig in, experiment, and see if that fire can be lit. Try looking at winning designs and see if there is a gut instinct to do better. Try looking at portfolios from great designers from the past – is it inspiring?

3. Try emulating different styles


A fast track to learning the skills is to chart out the distance from your current skill set to the skill set of those who are well regarded. Many of them use the Adobe programs to arrive at their design work. If you have that same software, what’s stopping you from absorbing their skills?

Try emulating some of their designs, effects, and techniques for your own practice. It can be quite eye opening to the ways in which these programs can be taken advantage of.

4. Enter as many contests as possible


If you’re trying to rise up from the bottom in the graphic design world one of the best ways to start is to enter as many contests as possible. Chances are your work isn’t deserving of payment just yet so jump into the fire! For one thing it will help you to build a portfolio and for another it will develop some skills.

5. Get used to criticism


Some of the early feedback you will receive from clients as a designer will be crushing. If you don’t like it, it doesn’t get better. It’s important for beginning designers to recognize this feedback as an opportunity to develop communication skills with clients. Also sometimes they might just have a good idea that you didn’t see!

Have any other tips for a beginning designer? Comment below!