Career Advice for a Failed Print Designer

16 Oct 2011 - 3:46pm
4 years ago
4 replies
1147 reads

I graduated from college in 2009 with a dual Degree in Art and Communications with an emphasis in Graphic Design. After school, I moved back to my hometown and couldn't find a job. Looking back now it actually makes me laugh that I thought those skills would actually land me a job.

My graphic design education was almost entirely in print. I LOVED doing magazine and book layouts and was obsessed with putting everything on a grid. Because web design was essential to getting any job in design, I started taking web design classes and the local community college. During my first semester I discovered that I was actually really good at programming and decided to enroll full-time. It's honestly kind of baffling and a little embarrassing to have a four-year degree and go back to get an associates, but I got an internship through the school working remotely for a major company in the area. My responsibilities include redesigning their internal HR website. The pages all have a basic template and it's mostly html editing. It's not nearly as artistically fulfilling or creative as anything I would like to do.

My programming skills are a following:

  • Java
  • Javascript
  • HTML / HTML5 / XML
  • CSS
  • C++
  • PHP
  • VB

So now I'm really wondering what I should do next? I thought about possibly going for a master's in Computer Science, but I absolutely DO NOT want to spend the rest of my life analyzing databases or anything that doesn't have a creative bent. I want to do User Interface design or making print content available for devices but I don't feel like I have enough skills.



17 Oct 2011 - 10:39am

As your skills go around PRINT design and  WEB DEVELOPMENT, I believe you can target joining Marketing teams / UI development teams in  small companies / startups. Typically such startups will be happy to find someone who can work on their websites,marketing collaterals such as print banners, brochures, and real product development (front end for web apps) as well.  

Dont worry.  :-)


- Rajesh

17 Oct 2011 - 10:53am
Matt Nish-Lapidus


Where are you located? With a solid graphic design foundation and the ability to code for the web you sound like a dream designer a lot of companies in major cities... We look for people like that all the time and can't find them.

Also, if you want to do design I strongly recommend against a CS degree.. if you want to go back to school go for a real design masters. If you tend to enjoy the programming end of things more, then that could shape the direction of your career and schooling. However, with your current education and skill set I'm not sure more school is and answer if you just want to start working... 


17 Oct 2011 - 7:46pm

You might be right about the CS degree. Although the money factor intrigues me, a lot of the programs I've looked at have graduates working in banks, government, all good jobs I don't want to do. I love school and would generally like to go back, but a lot of the IUX programs have tuition fees that I cannot handle on top of my undergraduate debt. 

My big setback right now is that I have a very limited portfolio and no website. Anything I would put up would likely need to be self-motivation projects.

Right now I'm located in Upstate NY, for a while I had dreams of relocating to NYC, but the reality is, I can't stand New York City. I'm really hoping I could find someplace that would want a remote worker who maybe comes in a few days a month. The closest I can see myself living is in the Hudson area. Ideally, I want a cabin deep in the Vermont wilderness with a really great internet connection.

18 Oct 2011 - 10:29am

With your degree and experience you should be able to find a Graphic Design/Web Design position that would allow you to tap into your creative side.

I would suggest looking for work under Graphic Design, Website Design, GUI Design and UI/UX Design. There may be other terms you can use but these should typically help you find work. Consider other locations for work.

There are a number of great sites to look on (including this one powered by Coroflot), such as Authentic Jobs, Coroflot, Behance.

Coroflot and Behance allow you to create portfolio's that you can send to potential employers. Including samples from your college portfolio should be enough to get you started.


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