My path to becoming a graphic designer, or not

I have recently taken part in a few challenges on Behance and Instagram, so I haven’t had the time to blog. The first one mentioned is an Adobe Illustrator challenge. The other is a typography challenge which is once a year and for 36 days. There is a letter (and number later on) every day. You can use any tool you like and any way you want. If anyone is interested, you can see my work over here. There is a lot of great work other people have done. You can use the tag #36daysoftype on Instagram. The one of Behance about Illustrator has been a lot of fun, and I’ve learned new things. It ended last Friday, but the videos are still there. I also tried the Photoshop one, but I didn’t have time to do that too. There is also a chat on Discord where you can get feedback. That’s very important because graphic design is a learning process. You are never ready. Not only graphic design but also other things in life.

It feels like I’m always late. It took me years to find what I was looking for. I’ve tried different occupations, but I have never found something I felt passionate about. I wanted to do something different. Money hasn’t been a motive for me. I rather do something that makes me feel good. I want enough money so I can afford to live. I don’t believe in that having a job that pays you well. I will rather be without a job than be in a job I don’t like. During those years where I thought about what I want to do for a living, most people already found their things. I feel like I’m only starting out even if I’ve done things for years. I don’t know what my working title is. I have never had a graphic design job where I get paid, so I don’t know if I can call myself a graphic designer. I have only had clients in web design, but that was part of the education. Having a portfolio is an important thing in creativity. Looking at other people’s portfolios, it feels like mine is plain. I don’t have much to show, only school work. If I started with graphic design earlier, I would have something to show. You can’t go back in time. It’s not too late to get something done. You only need enough confidence in yourself. You shouldn’t compare yourself to others, but it isn’t easy. You still feel you’re not up for it. It doesn’t help either when you don’t get hired anywhere. Not even an internship.

On Discord, there is a chat about creative careers where you can post your Behance portfolio. Then you can also get feedback. There are a lot of great work people have done, and then there is me. It’s a bit of an embarrassment because mine isn’t that great. I don’t even dare to introduce myself because I don’t feel like a graphic designer. Even if the first time I studied graphic design in 2009. But I wasn’t doing any of it after 2011 when it ended. The same goes with web design, but I don’t want to do that after all. Another thing is what kind of projects would I do. It seems that a lot of people have branding and visual identities. Trying to be different from other designers is difficult. My confidence in becoming one myself is soon gonna break into pieces like glass. I’m running out of options. I probably will never get a job. I hardly get any follows on social media, so getting those in the professional won’t be easy. I don’t think I will get “discovered” on Behance or any other portfolio places. My path to becoming a graphic designer started too late, and it’s only in my head that someone would hire me for my work. I shouldn’t give up, though. We all go through different paths, and there is no right or wrong way to become something you want to be.

Slow movement

movement
©Mia Salminen 2014

Sometimes I hate it when I’m too slow. Especially when it comes to making decisions. Even getting up early in the morning is slow. The bed feels so comfy, and of course, I go to bed so late. I don’t have any reason to get up early, so maybe that’s the reason why I sleep late too. I’m not a morning person anyway. The only fast movement I have is neither walking nor cycling. Other times it’s just slow.

Every day I think I’ll wake up early and do things. But when it comes to it, I don’t do any of it. I’ve thought about starting something on my own in my professional life, but I still haven’t done much. It’s been 4 years since my web design education. It’s been two years since the graphic design in Helsinki Design School, and about 3 years since the course about entrepreneurship. I bet all those former classmates had done something during these years. They have probably become even better at their job because they have had a chance to practice. Before I wake up, half the day has gone. I have no motivation to make up my own projects. I’m not even sure what kind of creative work I want to do. Every graphic designer does the same things. I mean, how many graphic designers do, e.g. branding and identity for small and big business? Looking at what graphic designer do, in the end, it’s all the same. They’re only much better than me. People probably would say this about my designs, “even I could do that” That’s what one said about my photography once. Why pay for the service when you can do it for free yourself. I don’t even know what my style is. Nothing special doesn’t sell. I feel like crap when I see people’s work on Instagram who studied or studying at Helsinki Design School. My ideas just aren’t good enough.

A slow movement is better than being rushed. If you’re doing things fast, the result might be bad. I don’t know why people must be in a hurry in the first place. You shouldn’t stress about things, because then no one enjoying themselves. I don’t like waiting, but you don’t need to be in a hurry either. If things happen or don’t happen, it shouldn’t be the end of the world. Maybe I’m just a laid-back person, and these things don’t stress me as much as it might be with someone else. It can worry me for a while, but I get over it after a moment. See, what I wrote earlier in this post, I’m already over it 😉

Long shadows following me

selfie shadow
©Mia Salminen 2021

I just can’t catch a break, can I? It’s nothing bad or anything like that. It only feels long shadows are following me whatever I do. Especially when it comes to education and job search. They say you should study, but what is the point when you’re not giving a change in the working world. You need job experience, but then internships are not one of them. Maybe that’s the problem, I only have them and that one part-time job. I can never find any jobs to apply to because they need people with experience. I haven’t had the time to do any job search since my dad still needs certain help. I have tried to look at jobs ads, but I haven’t found anything to apply to. Writing cover letters is not my favourite thing. LinkedIn is a weird place to look for a job. I get quite silly suggested from job alerts too. Jobs that I don’t even have training for. I wouldn’t search for a job there anyway. I did apply for one, but it was a bit strange. I didn’t even know if it was real.

I wrote about this in this post. It’s about Helsinki Design School, where I studied both photography and graphic design. They asked former students about what they have done after school. So far, none of my schoolmates has come up in the student’s stories. Most of the stories so far has been about interior designers and visual designers. There have been some photographers and graphic designers too. They write about, e.g. networking and about the pros who teach there. Well, I haven’t had any of that. Especially in the photography course in 2014-2015. Maybe it has become better after I went there. It was new at the time. There were a few students who were disappointed. They didn’t get what they were looking for. I didn’t either, but I didn’t expect anything special. I’ve probably forgotten all about what was taught there by now. The same probably goes with the graphic design one in 2018-2019. Former students who have studied in school have found their strengths during their education, but I haven’t. I’m still looking. So in that way, I am disappointed at the education. But also I got something out of it. It doesn’t get me a job, but still, I didn’t want to study something for 4 years when I already had for 2. Graphic design is not science, after all. I am a bit envy of the former students who have had the courage to become entrepreneurs. If you have clients already, it’s much easier to start.

I think I want to be my own president because then I can be my own boss. I wish I was brave enough to start something on my own because I wish I didn’t have to stress about the job search. I’m not an actor so I can’t be something the employers expect me to be. This month is ending soon but the year is long, so we’ll see what will happen.