This is the ultimate guide on how to pursue a career in the design industry and how you should start to become a successful graphic designer.

You’ve been creative all your life. From a very young age, you enjoyed drawing, painting, tinkering, and your self-made cards and collages on the birthday of relatives and friends were really something special for your age and the joyful reactions of the recipients were not just faked in contrast to such otherwise hated gifts. If this was you and you still feel the passion of creative expression deep inside you, a career in the graphic design industry might be the right choice for you.

Nothing is better than an academic education to become a graphic designer.

If you already googled this topic, you probably found many articles on how to become a graphic designer without going to school. For sure, there are graphic designers out there who have not attended a university or at least have learned the knowledge of graphic designing themselves but to be honest, going to university is definitely the best way to pursue the creative career of your dreams. Even if you have an exceptionally creative mindset, an extensive and globally recognized education as a graphic designer will set you up with the right set of skills and qualifications.

Before you can become a graphic designer, you mostly have to prove that you are suitable for this education. To do this, you usually have to create a portfolio of your own work and submit it to the respective educational institution. Certain topics and contents for the creation of this design portfolio are often given by the educational institution. In addition, some schools and universities conduct one or more entrance exams. So you really have to show that you can do it if you want to be a graphic designer.

Photo by Studio Republic.
Photo © by Studio Republic.

Below you can find some of the best Graphic Design Schools in the world.

  • Pratt Institute (Location: New York City, USA; Degree type: BFA)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (Location: Providence, USA; Degree type: BFA)
  • Parsons School of Design – The New School (Location: New York City, USA; Degree type: BFA)
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Location: Chicago, USA; Degree type: BFA)
  • University of the Arts London (Location: London, UK; Degree type: BFA)
  • Royal College of Art (London, UK; Degree type: MA)
  • Politecnico di Milano (Location: Milan, Italy; Degree type: BSc)
  • Aalto University (Location: Helsinki, Finland; Degree type: BA)

This is just a small selection of some of the best schools you can attend to become a well-educated graphic designer. The annual tuition fees range from about $4,000 in Europe to almost $50,000 in the US. There are also significantly cheaper universities. As already mentioned, there is a very wide price range in different locations.

One of the main tasks of a graphic designer is to create graphic means of communication. These are, for example, company logos, websites or advertising. After completing your education as a graphic designer, you have many different business areas to choose from in which you can work—whether advertising agencies, branding studios, in the field of public relations or in the publishing industry, it’s totally up to you.

If you have decided to become a professional graphic designer, you can look forward to a great variety of creative tasks. You often have to collaborate with team members, clients, or creative directors. As a graphic designer, your work always has something to do with people. Your creations should awaken needs and be remembered.

Educate and inspire yourself and work with a setup that fits you perfectly.

In addition to going to school or university, you always should educate yourself—read the right books and all other types of publications. Sources of inspiration like blogs or social media are important to keep the fire aflame.

Having the right skills is nothing without the right setup including a computer with enough RAM, good graphics card, and the right screen. Furthermore, you need professional software. Adobe offers great deals for students—just have a look here. These are of course just a few basics that we have mentioned here. We can promise you that your equipment will grow according to your skills.

That was our go-to-guide on how to become a graphic designer. Please use the comments section for further information and questions or browse through our popular Graphic Design category for your daily source of creative inspiration. You can learn more about Graphic Design on Wikipedia or read our article about the different types of graphic design.

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