Right from your childhood you had an eye for designing and spent most of the time with your colouring books. You even preferred doing your math homework with crayons even though it was not approved of or encouraged by your parents and teacher. You still tend to draw doodles when you are on a phone with someone. Designing is something you think is innate. A career in print graphic designing could be the perfect option for you. When one thinks about a job as a designer, one will right away think about designing websites and spending an awful lot of time in an IT firm designing websites with Adobe Photoshop. However, there are a lot of different types of job opportunities when it comes to designing. One such is print graphic designing, and top printing companies are always on the lookout of skilful print designers.
The intent of this guide is to help you understand all the different types of career options out there if you are considering print graphic designing as a career. Before we dive deep in, a brief description of what a print graphic designer does could be helpful.
A print graphic designer use their sophisticated creativity to create logos, illustration, designs for printed advertising material like banners, pull-ups, flyers, brochures, etc., along with their expertise in using professional designing tools. The work might need one to work as a team with copywriters, and marketing personals. Or one can become a freelancer and work from home for clients on the internet. A lot of printing companies (like Print2Day) accept previously made designs by someone else, so, freelancing could be a way to start.
- Assistant Print Designer/Entry-level designer
This is probably the most widely available opportunity for anyone who wants to pursue a career in print designing. You will be expected to have in-depth knowledge in print designing tools like Adobe Illustrator, Coral Draw, etc. You will be assigned tasks that are considered trivial by your senior designers. This might involve anything as simple as cropping and slicing images to retouching images, file conversions, etc. Basically, you are going to take directions from the creative print designer to help with their design and make it print ready. You are not going to spend a lot of time using your creativity (depends on the company, as well), but you are mostly in your learning phase. This is one of the most important phases in your print designing career where you learn everything from the tenured people in your field.
- Mac operator
A Mac operator is an entry-level print designer who is comfortable working on a Mac. One could mostly come across this opportunity only in print industry and not in web designing. The nature of job for a Mac operator and salary could be almost the same as any other assistant print designer jobs, but they will be expected to have expertise in software like Quark, InDesign, etc., with the basic understanding of the Unix file system. The title Mac operator might sound a bit fancy, but when you see a job listing for a Mac operator in your favorite career site, they might be simply looking for an entry-level designer who knows the ins and outs of OSX.
- Creative Print Designer / Mid-level print designer
This is the position that assistant print designers and Mac operators look up to and aspire to soon become one. There is not black and white definition for a creative print designer or a mid-level print designer. The nature of job, responsibilities, and tasks purely depends on the company they work for. As the name implies a creative print designer will be provided with some serious responsibilities that are not given to entry-level designers. They will have to do some creative work, and will have to report to the senior designer. They will also have to do some trivial tasks and might even have to handle a small team of associate print designers. In many printing companies, a mid-level designer will be given more control over handling small projects and use their creativity to create brandings and design materials for normal clients and take charge of tasks that are delegated from senior designers of elite clients.
- Senior Print Designer
This is the seat that all the types of designers we have mentioned above would like to hold one day. The senior print designer is the true champion of all the type of designing works that could be needed in a printing company. He/she knows the nuts and bolts of all the professional tools on PCs and Macs, they are creative and have a lot of experience in the field. The senior print designer will also have to coordinate with clients and also report to the top-level management. He/she assigns tasks to the mid-level designer and sometime have to roll up the sleeves and do the work for elite/important clients.
There are thousands of job opportunities posted on freelancing sites like Elance, Freelancer, etc, looking for freelance print designers. If you want to be your own boss and work during your preferred hours from home or anywhere, you can become a freelancer. More than 20% of graphic designers in the world are freelancers. Once someone builds a good reputation in freelancing websites, they can make 2 or 3 folds the kind of money they would make working for a printing company.
Like I said earlier, "there are a lot of different types of job opportunities when it comes to designing". It’s up to you to balance the pros and cons of each role in print design and start an amazing career.