In this article we discuss Keys to Entering New Industries as a Graphic Designer.
Although graphic designers have a big influence on whatever business they take part in, the marketing and advertising industries are home to many graphic designers — perhaps too many.
Because of this, it might be more advisable for you to look beyond these two primary industries. You can even find your place in almost any industry if you take the right steps.
Starting in an unfamiliar field, though, can be intimidating. But if you put your mind to it, you can successfully transition to a new industry by working with a company or as a freelance graphic designer with some of these tips.
Table of Contents
Identify Pros and Cons
Before entering a new industry as a graphic designer, you must ensure it’s the right choice for your career goals. A pro and con list is a good start. In addition, you’ll want to follow up with a more detailed exercise.
A SWOT analysis, for example, gives you a bit more detail to work with to make an informed decision. The four parts of a SWOT analysis are Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Here’s an example of how to fill this out as a graphic designer looking to break into a new industry:
- List your internal strengths first: What about you and your graphic design talent makes you a solid addition to this industry?
- List your weaknesses: What do you struggle with that could hurt your transition?
- List external opportunities that arise if you do enter this new industry: Use the strengths you listed earlier. If you’ve listed that you’re an expert logo designer, and you’ve noticed logo design is lacking in this industry, there’s an opportunity. You can use your skills to update logos and lead brand design for a company.
- List external threats that could arise in your transition: It could be that there is less of a demand for logo design because of unfavorable market trends, or something else that isn’t easily discovered without industry research.
Your SWOT analysis doesn’t stop after creation, either. Analyze any patterns, connections, conclusions, or insights you can draw about whether this transition makes sense.
Turn your insights into actionable steps to move forward with what’s next in your graphic design career. Sort your actionable steps into high and low priority columns and create deadlines for each.
Whether you decide to do a pro and con list or a SWOT analysis, ensure either list helps you make a clear decision on your transition.
Research Your Industry
Breaking into a new industry shouldn’t be based on a hunch. There should never be a time where your transition lacks purpose and intention.
You should have a clear understanding of the industry or industries you’re looking to break into.
When researching your industry, start looking into the industry from multiple angles. Analyze current market trends and the future of the industry.
Ask yourself how you could make a career out of the industry, or whether it’ll be difficult to break in as a graphic designer.
Look into the history of previous graphic designers in the industry and how they managed success. Most importantly, ask yourself why you’re drawn to this industry.
Although there doesn’t necessarily need to be a “why” to drive your desire to break into an industry, having a reason or passion to drive your career will ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life.
As you do your research, come up with as many targeted questions as you can. You need to be as knowledgeable as you can about the ins and outs of any industry you’re breaking into.
As you progress in your research, ensure you have an organized process to collect and maintain critical industry data.
Pinpoint Potential Clients
If you’re a freelance graphic designer wanting to get clients in new industries, you need to have an ideal client or clients in mind.
On the other hand, if you’re a graphic designer seeking to work for a new company, you need to have a running list of ideal companies in mind.
Do a thorough assessment of the professional opportunities available in your industry. If you’re looking for a company to work for:
- Make a list of what you want in a company and what you need to be happy there.
- Identify companies that fit this list of requirements.
- Explore their vacant positions and pinpoint companies on your list that have opportunities in graphic design.
- Ensure that your resume is up to date and your portfolio polished.
- Start applying for open jobs and prepare for potential interviews.
If you’re looking for new clients as freelancers:
- Create an ideal client persona for each type of person you’d like to work with.
- Identify which businesses they would own and how your skills fit.
- Start compiling a list of companies and their owners that match your ideal client.
- Ensure your portfolio is up to date and polished.
- Create a template for pitching.
- Begin pitching clients to your list.
- Keep track of all of your pitches and their progression.
- Ensure you’ve created an outline for client interviews with points to talk about their business goals, budget, relevant experience, and so forth.
Create a Solid Portfolio
Whether you’re looking for a home at a new company or searching for new clients as a freelancer, you need a portfolio to garner your success in a new industry.
With the graphic design world being as competitive as it is, your portfolio helps you stand out and showcase your graphic design chops.
According to research done by The Drum, your portfolio should be concise, original, and tell a story about your graphic design journey.
Additionally, your portfolio should exhibit your work in several different mediums and be extremely detailed. For whatever industry you plan on breaking into, your portfolio should be tailored towards that industry’s needs.
Determine Your Value
Throughout all your efforts of breaking into a new industry, however, you should know your value. This means skill-wise and money-wise.
You want to have a salary base in mind when going into interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
For freelancers, you want to ensure you’ve priced your services correctly. Choose a suitable pricing model and strategy based on what you do and what industry you’re in.
Here are just a couple that you can choose from:
- Cost-based pricing — Determined by manufacturing costs and a profit margin ratio.
- Market-oriented pricing — Compares competitor prices in the market.
- Dynamic pricing — Pricing fluctuates based on market trends.
- Premium pricing — Based on how your customers perceive the value of your service.
- Penetration pricing — Focused on customers who are looking more for the most affordable option versus the value.
- Economy pricing — Based on customers looking for the lowest price
- Skimming strategy — Starts with premium pricing, then lowers as time goes on or new products are released.
- Psychology pricing — Uses customer emotional triggers to get them to buy.
- Bundle pricing — Offers a set of products/services at a discounted price.
Graphic designers have an opportunity to break into any industry they want — however, it will take intention, planning, and commitment to land new clients or a new position.
Although making your way into a new industry can be intimidating, it’s one of the best ways to make a name for yourself, especially as a graphic designer.
Take these steps and create your path of success — no matter the industry.
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