Networking in the Field of Graphic Design

Whether you are fresh out of design school, just starting college, or about to embark on your freelance design career, networking is crucial in the field of graphic design. Here are some tips and ideas to make a good name for yourself.

Why Network?

The graphic design field is very competitive. In order to succeed, you need to set yourself apart from other designers. This can be difficult when you have just graduated from design school and only have a degree to rely on for experience. If you're starting to freelance, you will need a way to build a client base. Give yourself an edge by being social. The old adage is true: the more people who know you, the better. Networking is the key to finding new projects and clients, learning tips from other designers, and promoting yourself and your business.

Brand Yourself

Think of yourself as a brand. Publicize yourself by talking to as many as possible and mentioning your career in graphic design. Think about how you would want your business - yourself - to be viewed and give off that vibe. Be friendly and courteous, never pushy or rude. Act professionally and create a positive image for yourself.

Basics of Networking

Networking is simple - talk to everyone you know - and those you don't know very well - and let them know of your career choice. Create your own business cards showcasing your graphic design abilities and hand them out to as many people as possible. It can he helpful to ask that person for his or her business card first - then you'll have an opportunity to give your card out. Attend local professional groups and get to know other entrepreneurs or job-seekers. Even if the group isn't related to graphic design, you may meet other professionals in need of quality graphic design. Create an address book of professional contacts and send them an occasional email or a postcard. If you're in college, develop a positive rapport with your professors and attend as many design seminars as possible.

Creative Ways to Network

Social networking sites, like Myspace and Facebook, are traditionally used to make new friends and track old contacts but these sites are also a useful marketing tool. Use them to your benefit. Create a profile that is personal yet professional - give away a few of your hobbies but don't post any pictures that capture you in a negative light - and keep it up to date. Post samples of your design work, contact information for your business, and list any accomplishments. You can also get the word out by speaking at a local school, keeping in touch with fellow students or alumni, and giving our freebies - flying discs, mouse pads, buttons - with your contact information.

Getting to Know Other Graphic Designers

Besides for meeting prospective clients, networking can be used to meet fellow graphic designers and to maintain a sense of camaraderie. Yes, these designers are your competition, but don't treat them with hostility. You can learn many tips, job leads, and gain worthwhile advice by joining a graphic design community, whether it's online or in your community. There now are many social networking sites built exclusively for graphic designers. Never underestimate the opportunity to vent, bounce ideas, and chat with other people knowledgeable in your area of expertise.

Now is not the time to be shy. Your networking efforts will introduce you to people who can help your career grow. If you return favors, continue to meet people, and keep in contact with people you've already met, you're sure to see your business bloom.

Schools Offering Training Programs in Graphic Design

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            ABCO Technology , Inglewood
            Good for Working Adults
            • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
            • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
            • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
            • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
            • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
            • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
            • Military friendly school.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
            • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
            • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
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            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
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            Graphic Arts (AAS)
            • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
            • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
            • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
            • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

            Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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            Graphic & Web Design (BS)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
            • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
            • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
            • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
            • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
            • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
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            • Online Courses

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            Graphic designers and artists are now able to enter the annual Artist Series Wine Label Design contest for The Capital Grille, and can submit their creations until October 7, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

            Graphic designers fighting against new design opportunity at Huffington Post
            The Huffington Post has recently issued a contest, asking graphic designers to create a new logo. However, the winning individual will not be paid for their design - they will only be recognized by name, rather than compensation, according to AdWeek.

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