becoming a graphic artist

Hello all. I've been in advertising for about seven years, most of which have been in online. I have always been on the account management/client services side, but in the last year and a half I realized that I want to be involved in the creative aspect of the industry.

Since I have very little design experience, it's going to be hard to make the move without either prior experience or some formal education that's directly related to design. Any suggestions in regards what route to take? I was thinking attending school like The Art Institute or some other local college in the Denver area, or maybe just take some courses that can get me familiarized with the current software that designers mostly use.

Would love to hear any advice from veterans or those that have made a switch form another career into the creative field.

Thanks in advance.


Getting familiarized with the software is a good place to start, but look at it as a means to an end and not all the skill you'll need. As a junior just starting out you'll more than likely be assembling things and the conceptualization will be mostly out of your hands.

After working like this for a while you'll start to pick up the terms and concepts that are being thrown around, and you'll probably start developing your own process. The best thing to do at this stage is to read your ass off. Read about design as much as you can. Read about designers that do work you like. Read blogs, read books, watch documentaries. Live it, love it, do it. You'll start to look at design differently, and start designing differently as well. You'll learn to love the discovery phase, and the actual production phase that you spent the majority of your time as a junior in will shorten. Good luck!

Definitely learn the software. As someone with friends/family who either attended or worked for one art institute or another, I'd say you're safer with Denver Metro. They have some amazing student work coming out of there. (Then you can get the software super cheap with your education discount!). If you can't take formal classes, there are countless tutorials with everything from basics to little-known tricks. If you're looking to go into print at all, take a tour of a print shop and ask how things work. It will help when you design if you know how it's going to be produced.

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