How Long Does It Take to Be a Graphic Designer?

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Want to become a professional graphic designer? It might not take as long as you think. Here's what you need to do—with actionable advice!

You may have dreamt about becoming a graphic designer after seeing awesome graphic designs scattered all over the Internet. But there’s this one thought that always stops you— it takes too long to be one.

But is it really that long?

Well, you clicked the right article because we got everything covered for you!

What Is A Graphic Designer?

Graphic designers are artists that communicate visually through creating concepts and designs either by hand or by using editing software. They integrate technology and art to create designs that cater the needs of their clients. This includes visually incorporating texts, images, graphics, and other design elements into one artwork. It’s just like painting on a plain canvas, but using your desktop or mobile!

A post about the daily life of a graphic designer.

Still confused whether you want to be a graphic designer or not? Take this short assessment we found online!

How Long Will It Take You To Be One?

Today, we will be sharing three ways in becoming a graphic designer and discuss the time it takes for each method.

Going to a Univeristy4-5 Years
Taking Online "Bootcamp" Courses3 months-1 year
Self TeachingDepends on the resources you will be needing and the time you will allot (generally about 6 months to 5 years)

First is going to a university. This method will take you the longest time with about four to five years of attending classes.

If you don’t want to stress about becoming a graphic designer in years, we give you the second and third option that we will further tackle in this article— taking online courses and self-teaching.

Online Bootcamp Style of Becoming A Graphic Designer

One way of becoming a graphic designer is through taking online courses. Normally, it takes three to nine months of learning depending on the available program of your chosen course. The time it takes also depends on the level of your graphic designing basic skills. 

Here, we listed few of the online courses that you can take if you want to be a graphic designer:

1. Calarts

The display page of Calarts website.

First on our list is the Calarts course on graphic designing. It includes a total of five courses:

  • The fundamentals of graphic designing
  • Lessons on typography
  • Introduction to Imagemaking
  • Ideas from the History of Graphic design; and
  • Branding new brand

Calarts is very helpful when you are starting in the field of graphic designing. It helps you improve the basics of designing that you already have. It also includes hands-on exercises to include in your portfolio. As a bonus, it gives you a certificate of completion after accomplishing the five courses which you can add to your resume. 

Interested? You can check it out here.

2. Udemy Logo Design Fundamentals

The display page of Udemy Academy website.

One would think that learning to create a logo is hard and time consuming because of all the elements you need to know. But with Udemy’s Logo Design Fundamentals, logo creation will be as simple and short as their video lessons! The course includes 15 lessons with videos only as short as 49 minutes! You will learn everything about designing a logo from the fundamentals to finalizing the design.

3. Canva Design School

The display page of Canva Design School website.

You might have used Canva to make your life easier, but did you know that it also offers courses to help you in graphic designing? Canva has different tutorials, articles, and guides regarding the basics of graphic designing such as color theory, designing icons, and tools you can use for better outputs. So if you want to focus on your basics, Canva Design School is best for you.

Self-Taught Graphic Designing

The third method is self-teaching. In this method, the time it will take you to be a graphic designer depends on the processes and techniques you want to learn. Some are fast learners while some are, you know, getting there.

Paul Rand is said to be one of the most popular self-taught graphic designers. He created logos for several multinational companies such as IBM,  Enron, ABC, Ford, and more. Though he attended Pratt University, he always mentions that he learned not even a little from there, and if there’s a little, he learned it by himself. Since then, Rand passionately ventures into the field of graphic designing.

Know more about some of the most popular self-taught graphic designers here.

An illustration of a graphic designer working.

Just a reminder that teaching yourself might be a lot of work and research but it’s less costly. We recommend you to follow these 6 easy steps in teaching yourself to be a good graphic designer:

  1. Learn the basics. There are tons of articles online that are free to read regarding the fundamentals of graphic designing. The reading is left to you!
  2. Choose the right tools. There are also a big number of software and editing tools available today, you just have to select which applies the best to you and your skillset.
  3. Build a simple portfolio. Creating a body of work is a critical step in your journey as a graphic designer. It can be a set of your simple designs first and then update it with your new learnings!
  4. Make it visible. Once you have your portfolio, you can start uploading your designs on different platforms. You can also search for business websites that let you upload your work for better marketing!
  5. Strengthen your network. Collaborate with other graphic designers, teaching yourself is fun but it’s a lot more of an adventure if you learn from other people’s mastery.
  6. Step into the business world. After gaining some knowledge and enough network, you may now start venturing into the real world. You can try to apply for a job that’s suited for your skillset or sell your designs online!

And of course, we want to give you a bonus! Here are some of famous Youtube accounts that share knowledge with graphic designing:

Career Options for Beginning Graphic Designers 

As much as we want to believe that graphic designing is as simple as it sounds, it’s really not. But lucky you, we have listed down three of the most popular graphic designer careers to narrow down the options for you, including their job requirements and average salary!

1. Photo Editor

Photo Editing could be as simple as adjusting the brightness or saturation of a real-life image, a piece of a cake right? You may be also tasked to alter different elements of a photo like colors, objects, or adding the company’s logo. In order for you to excel in this career, you must have extensive knowledge of photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. 

The interface of Adobe Photoshop.

Average salary per hour: $20.16.

2. Logo Designer

A logo designer is a graphic artist that researches on the specific design elements a company’s logo must incorporate. They study different areas of the company’s marketing demographics. They then choose which colors, texts, graphics, and elements are most suited to create the best representation for a company. Yes, logos are not as simple as they look!

A picture about logo creation.

Average salary per hour: $29.17

3. Webpage Designer

Companies are now investing in their websites. Hence, more graphic designers are hired for developing web pages. A graphic designer’s job is mainly to layout the design of the website according to the type and nature of the company they’re working in. It can also include coding and programming skills, but don’t worry it’s very easy to learn!

A picture that presents a webpage design applicable for multiple devices.

Average salary per hour: $28.94

Learn more about different career opportunities for graphic designers here.

Are You Ready?

Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, you might have known the real secret in becoming a graphic designer— dedication to learning.

Whether you learn from experts in the field or by yourself, the time it will take you to be a graphic designer depends on your willingness to be one.

So, will you take a step on improving your graphic design skills, or will you remain dreaming you could be one?

Let us know in the comment section below!

Read On!

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