- 1st March 2018
At Gloss Recruitment, we find candidates for a great swathe of creative jobs. One of the most glamorous (and sought after) positions is that of the graphic designer.
They’re responsible for creating beautiful work in a wide range of industries. But what does it mean to be a graphic designer today? If you’re thinking of going into graphic design, as a graduate or a career change, you’ll need plenty of key skills to succeed. We’ll take a look at the basic requirements you need, skills for today’s design roles, and some insight if you’re after graphic design jobs in Leeds.
What basic skills do I need?
Graphic design jobs in Leeds (or anywhere else) involve creating different visual materials, both online and offline. You can expect to design adverts, brochures, point-of-sale materials, websites, digital content, branding, graphic assets and much more.
A creative personality is a vital starting point for any designer. Employers will look for candidates with a degree in a relevant field (although this isn’t mandatory), as well as a portfolio of work to demonstrate your creativity. (Take a closer look at our 10 tips for creative portfolios article)
Since digital technology forms the backbone of modern design work, you must learn how to use software like Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator).
A good understanding of Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) can help you to stay organised, while an understanding of CSS and HTML are useful during web design projects. As website speed is key for a positive user-experience, understanding the best image sizing and formatting for digital is also an important skill for the modern day graphic designer to have.
However, non-design skills are just as important to the modern graphic designer. You must be able to work in a team, liaise with clients and other departments, and manage your time properly. Good communication skills and a great grasp of language are also very useful. These allow you to complete jobs more quickly, and spot any spelling or grammatical errors if they arise in your work.
Whether you plan to work in a marketing agency or an agency that specializes in design, modern day graphic designers benefit from a working knowledge of a client’s sector. Whether it’s home improvement or haulage, getting to understand a long-term project more thoroughly can make your job go much smoother.
If I already have a job, what is the easiest background to come from?
Art and design roles will ensure the smoothest transition into a graphic design job, but anything with a strong creative element can stand you in good stead. If you’re going into the graphic design industry from university, creative degrees help but aren’t vital. Adjacent degrees in subjects like marketing are an option, but you must be prepared to do plenty of creative work alongside this to succeed.
If you’re looking for graphic design jobs in Leeds, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from! We’ll talk about Leeds graphic design job opportunities later in the article.
How are graphic design jobs changing?
Like any career, graphic design is constantly evolving in line with business and technological demands. The ongoing digital revolution means designers must get to grips with both established and emerging technologies.
In general terms, the rise of email and faster internet speeds means jobs move much faster than they did 20 years ago. Clients communicate with designers over email more frequently and printed materials can be ready in a matter of hours. This results in a frenetic workday, and designers may have to juggle several tasks at once.
Social media has changed both how we communicate and the way we consume visual content. For a start, we see a lot more of it; photos, infographics and other images drive engagement online in a way simple text does not. It also means graphic designers must design products in entirely new ways.
Forbes explains how brands have far more exposure nowadays thanks to social networks and the associated analytics. Business can closely track how customers are responding to their branding and use this data to inform future designs. Meanwhile, websites have evolved from simple utilities to enticing, visually engaging marketing tools – something graphic design plays a huge part in.
For modern day graphic designers, this means that their skills must be as sharp as possible. They must be able to create graphics that are easy to consume, social platform-appropriate and in line with customer feedback.
They also need to work as efficiently as possible so businesses can jump on the latest trend sooner rather than later. This holds true for graphic design jobs in Leeds and the surrounding area.
What else should I be thinking about?
Animation is not a new technology, but we’re beginning to see it used more and more on websites. Learning how it works can help you stand out when looking for graphic design jobs in Leeds. Even simpler skills like making GIFs can be a big help, especially if you create content for social media.
3D and Virtual reality
Social media isn’t the only technology worming its way into our lives. Virtual reality is a rising star, with products like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and Google Cardboard now readily available for the end user. 3D visualizations and walkthroughs are the latest trends within construction, architecture, products, retail and more so definitely an extra string to your bow.
Augmented reality is another consideration. Like VR, it began as a relatively niche product before the likes of Pokemon GO helped to popularise it. Now, it’s available to anybody with a smartphone. Toymakers are even using it in everything from picture books to stuffed animals, and using it to augment old favourites. Hot Wheels has launched Augmoto, which gives racers the chance to add augmented reality obstacles to their traditional racetracks. An innovative approach to augmented reality and an exciting project for graphic designers, who want to indulge in a bit of nostalgia.
Meanwhile, 3D printing continues to gain ground in areas like reconstructive surgery and product prototyping, with further forays into the home market more than likely. Clothing and even food being 3D printable in our own homes is a prediction many printing experts are backing. This, in turn, needs technological designs, as well as graphic design support.
These technologies are all in their infancy at the moment. However, we expect them to grow more popular as costs come down and the technology becomes more sophisticated. Graphic designers should be aware of these technologies and familiarise themselves with them. Each technological innovation will depend on well-designed, accessible websites and interfaces to market them successfully.
How easy is it to find graphic design jobs in Leeds?
Leeds is an excellent place for people wanting to work in design, digital and marketing jobs. Candidates after graphic design jobs in Leeds have plenty of options!
Leeds is home to hundreds of agencies, which are hungry for new creative talent. The city is not only known as a digital hub, but a digital community. Business is thriving with creative roles connected to digital up by 7%, and new investment into office spaces (like the upcoming tech hub just above the train station) attracting more agencies and start-ups to the city.
Our clients always place experience above theory as commercial know-how, brand awareness and end user thinking is what you will be applying on a daily basis. Make sure your portfolio demonstrates commercially orientated work as well as the ability to be flexible, innovative and creative. The beauty of the creative sector is that you can always improve yourself in your own time, so if you have any gaps in your CV then proactively create it yourself (or get in touch with us if you don’t know how)!
With some hard work and forward thinking, a graphic design job is well within your grasp. And we at Gloss Recruitment have the skills and connections to help you find your dream job.
We know the creative and digital industry inside out, and represent the best creative talent that Yorkshire has to offer. We can draw on our extensive network of contacts to find you the next role in your graphic design career.
Take your first step towards an exciting new job, and get in touch with us via our Contact Us page. You can also click here to see our current listings for graphic design jobs in Leeds and the surrounding area.