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3 Comments Already

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Andreita Said,
July 9th, 2010 @10:14 am  

Very easy… just enroll into a technical school (3 years) and you’ll get really good jobs. Or take a distance course on line; these are very helpfull and practical if you are commited to study.

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t d Said,
July 9th, 2010 @11:04 am  

You can probably get away without doing a course: just buy an Applemac and set yourself a number of projects, say: a cd cover, a leaflet, a menu, a book; an annual report; a business card and a car manual (given your engineering backgroung thise sort of technical stuff might be a good area for you to specialise).

Compile these into a portfolio and treck tound the graphic design firms in St Louis.

Of course, doing a course will help you get ideas and critical feedback, but in the end it is what is in your portfolio that matters.

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kingsnake1650@sbcglobal.net Said,
July 9th, 2010 @11:55 am  

You are correct — it is mostly about talent and a good portfolio, but education is important because it develops that talent and that good portfolio. Since you’ve already been through college, all you need to develop is design expertise, so a good program at a community college or wherever should do the trick. You could try learning it on your own, but I wouldn’t recommend it, though it does work for some people. Not only do you have to learn the programs but you also have to learn how to do a good layout and keep current on design trends. School will teach you the programs and the layout principles (and hopefully you have a natural knack), plus you’ll rub shoulders with other designers and get input to improve.

On the flip side, I’ve spoken with colleagues often about how little we learned in school and how much more important experience is, but school is what introduces you to the field when you know nothing and shouldn’t necessarily be by-passed. You will graduate with a TON to learn, which can best be learned in the job environment. On-the-job experience with a good art director will get you a long way.

Depending on your market, don’t expect to make a lot … especially not compared to an engineer. In a larger market like St. Louis, you’ll probably do OK, but graphic design is not an easy, cool road to riches for most people.

One more thing — invest in some design books along the way — I like Rockport Publishing — just to page through for inspiration and to see what’s current. It will be awhile before you get to that level, but you’ll see what you’re aiming for and get there faster.

Good luck on your transition. As a left-brained graphic designer, I’ve idly wished I would have been an engineer at times!

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