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Barriers to Entry in the Graphic Designing Industry


    • Some graphic designers enter the industry with little to no formal education, but the vast majority need certification or a degree. In many cases, designers at least need to attend a two-year program that earns an associate's degree in graphic design. To receive more complex, in-depth projects and positions, most designers need to attend a four-year school and earn a bachelor's degree.


    • An effective portfolio makes a huge difference for people entering the graphic design industry. A portfolio should be as diverse as possible, yet the quality of each work sample must remain consistently high, which can often trip up aspiring designers with little experience.

    Practical Experience

    • Experience in general presents a formidable barrier to the graphic design industry. Many studios hire designers with some level of practical work experience, meaning experience gained outside of college classes or outside of personal enjoyment. Getting this experience proves difficult because so few places of employment hire entry-level designers.


    • The competition within the graphic designing industry often seems fierce. According to the Princeton Review, nearly 25,000 people attempt to enter the field each year. While only 30 percent of that number remain in the field for five years or longer, the amount of experienced competitors already in the graphic design industry makes standing out above the crowd difficult to accomplish.


    • Most graphic designers do freelance work. Freelance work allows designers more freedom of choice when it comes to accepting assignments and determining working conditions, but freelance designers also face increased difficulties when it comes to "selling" their skills to a prospective employer, especially in the case of entry-level workers who have not yet earned a reputation.

    Knowing Where to Look

    • Finding work can be a trying task for inexperienced designers without connections. Knowing where to look comes with experience, but many companies need graphic designers. Magazines and other periodicals employ designers most consistently, but any company needing website design, logo design, fliers, letterheads, brochures, flash animations or other graphics search out graphic designers.


    • For prospective graphic designers just coming out of a college program, knowing about trends poses no immediate difficulty. Designers who have been out of the market even for a few months, however, have a significantly tougher time keeping updated on trends. Software trends and market trends influence the graphic design world.


    • Having the necessary tools to break into the graphic design industry while staying current and competitive often proves to be an expensive matter. Some of the necessary software costs a pretty penny, and having the latest versions of software and the newest technology available gets pricey.

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