Graphic design is a tremendous amount of fun. I love creating new things for people, logos, packaging designs, brochures, and see the excitment and love for the design on their faces! If you are thinking about becoming a designer, I push you to work towards your dreams and be patient. Here are four things that will help you on your journey.
There are people who do not recommend formal graphic design education, but I HIGHLY disagree with that statement. If you want to be a true professional in the field, you will need some kind of training and/or formal education. There is a lot more to design than making a pretty picture. You will not learn typography, color theory, hierarchy, print standards, brand standards and more from opening Adobe Illustrator and giving it your best shot and selling your design for $5 of Fiverr. (I don't recommend Fiverr by the way).
I chose a formal education at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. I have my bachelor's degree in multimedia with a graphic design concentration. I've also considered taking some business or marketing classes in the near future, but I have not taken any steps towards that yet. *There are also more cost effective online training options like Udemy.com or Lynda.com. Becoming a true professional takes time and I would never suggest cutting corners in your career journey.
The Right Program
If you want to be a professional designer, you should not be using canva or publisher. Those are both programs that may work in some instances, but NEVER for a professional designer. I personally recommend Adobe products as they are industry standard. It is a more pricey part of your freelancing journey, but it's one that is worth the purchase.
Laptop & Extras
A laptop is necessary for starting your own design business. There are a lot of good options and I recommend finding the right laptop for you. I recently purchased the HP Envy x360 and I have been LOVING it! Some extras that you will want to consider is a stylus pen, drawing tablet, camera and printer/scanner. I currently have the Bamboo stylus pen. I purchased both the stylus pen and laptop at Best Buy. My next big investment will probably be the scanner so that I can upload my drawings at a more crisp resolution. I may also try and find some business classes at the local community college.
Find your resources! The first being a good printer that you can count on, not only for you, but for your customers as well. I found a printer that I go to for my personal marketing materials, business cards for my customers, samples and more. You can get stuff printed online, but you are not going to get the same personal touch and attention to detail that a traditional printer brings. Other resources to consider include a marketer, supply resources, shipping center, and online freelancing sites. You also can't forget our go to coffee shop with free wifi that can double as your office from time to time!
*I have used Lynda.com in college but have never used Udemy.com. I have not used Lynda enough to make a suggestion on it as an education/training tool.