Graphic designers create types of work that, for the most part, are for print, screen devices, billboards, and many other formats where technology allows. Graphic designers create vector graphics that may include fonts or custom lettering and may also be used in combination with digital images.
Work Depends on a Graphic Designer’s Education and Experience
Some graphic designers, like myself, can even create animated graphics and graphic designs that rely heavily on programming code, such as a web design. Generally speaking, freelance graphic designers have a wider and deeper skill set than those employed and working for one company. That is because, companies usually hire a web designer and a graphic artist as two separate positions. The reason being is web design coding requires extra education and advanced skills generally not included in a typical graphic design curriculum.
Learning to write code to create a website is not usually something most graphic designers want to do. I’m guessing it’s because most designers like to focus on the visual aspect of graphics and most companies are fine with that and don’t expect designers to have that knowledge and expertise. I’m very left and right brained so I enjoy doing both. I also learned to write code for web design because I want the ability to create the perfect web design and not be hindered by anything or anyone. Everyone that works in design has their own vision of a perfect style and if you work with someone else that means you will probably have to compromise your individual style. That works for some people and some people even do better in that type of environment. Personally, I enjoy being the sole creator of a web design and working with a client to get him or her what they want without the red tape and hurdles I would have to go through when there are more heads that have to agree.
As you can see, the type of work that a graphic designer creates, whether freelance or employed, is restrained by their skill set and the tools available to each individual designer.
Graphic Design Work Depends on Use of Software and Expertise
A common thread that most graphic designers share in creating their work is the type of software they use. Most use Adobe software products but not all designers know how to use all of the different software programs offered by Adobe.
Adobe software is not easy to use out of the box; it takes years to become an expert in using them and knowing which software program is best to use in creating a design. I have over 20 years’ experience in Adobe and I know from experience that knowing how to use the software makes a huge difference in two aspects. The first aspect is being an expert in using The Adobe Master Collection is a huge time-saving advantage because as a freelance graphic designer if you can create a design in less time that means you can pass that time-cost savings to your client. The second aspect is knowing how to use the software gives the ability to be more creative and also create designs the way they are envisioned without being inhibited by the software itself.
In Los Angeles, Freelance Graphic Designers Have Greater Varied Skillset
In Los Angeles, freelance graphic designers typically have a greater varied skillset. This is partly due to the fact that Los Angeles is a hub for the entertainment industry and branding agencies. An experienced designer will be exposed to numerous types of companies and will have worked with many agencies, like myself. I feel that this experience has contributed to my growth as a freelance graphic designer in Los Angeles.
Over the years, I have become much faster not just in using the software but also in being comfortable, daring and confident in my own creative skill and intuition. However, the latter is a talent as an artist. On a side note, as an artist, I’ve noticed that my artistic style changes over time and I feel more creative freedom today than I have ever felt. This applies not just to my graphic designs but also to the art I create with traditional mediums such as pencil drawings and paintings. However, interestingly enough the time aspect of being faster does not translate into traditional mediums as much. Probably because I don’t care how much time I take in drawing or painting; I just want to create whatever I want and not care about anyone or anything else.
Back to the issue at hand…
As you can see, knowing and using Adobe’s individual software products or similar tools and which ones can affect and dictate what kind of work a freelance or employed graphic designer is capable of doing.
Below are the types of work an experienced graphic designer does, especially as a freelancer:
- logo design
- brochure design
- web design
- business cards
- packaging design
- vehicle wrap design
- event banners
- marketing postcards
- direct mail design
- billboard design
- email signature design
- restaurant menu design
- mobile app design
- ad design
- animated headers for website
- graphics intensive videos for web
- corporate communications
- branded company stationery
- branding style guide
The list above is not by any means exhaustive. Sometimes, I’ve gotten off-beat design requests which, thankfully, I’ve been able to fulfill. For instance, I was once commissioned to design a glass installation for a casino’s restaurant. The project involved designing the graphics that would be applied to the glass entrance, doors, and surrounding glass panels.