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.

Don’t cramp my style or the lack of it

cramp my style
Made in Canva

So another education passed. Eleven months went by like a breeze. Like I posted yesterday (Sunday) I passed the graphic design education in Helsinki Design School. The portfolio presentation was awful though. I had written on a paper on what to say and had it with me in front of the class. But then I panicked and it went like this. “Here’s what I’ve done and that’s thank you” I didn’t say anything about the projects so I didn’t get any feedback. Only what kind of graphic design I would want to do and that I should make more projects to my portfolio. The others were much better at their presentations. Even them who felt nervous before. I just don’t know what happened to me. I wanted to get out of the situation as quickly as possible like many times before. I was so nervous and felt uncomfortable because people were looking at me. I was so disappointed by my presentation but the other student’s work was so much better than mine so I felt ashamed for mine. It felt I had no skills whatsoever. Some of the students hadn’t done any graphic design before school. Since I didn’t get any decent feedback I don’t know what my strength is in design. I don’t know what they are and I guess no one else knows either. Maybe my style is boring and amateurish. What was the most disappointing thing in Helsinki Design School was not finding my style. I don’t know if I have potential or should I quit with design altogether. I will regret my portfolio presentation forever.

Maybe finding a style doesn’t happen in 11 months for everyone. I develope slowly in everything and might get old before I find anything. Or even worse, never. My goals for this education didn’t actually come true. I learned new things but if I can use that knowledge in a job is a different matter. There were times when I felt really excited to be in this school but now not so much. I knew I wouldn’t become friends with anyone and also that I wouldn’t get connections. Honestly, I think the whole school flatter themselves too much. Don’t get me wrong. The school is good to learn new things and the atmosphere in the class is good. But it doesn’t get you discovered by employers. One of my classmates did get an internship through a teacher who taught there but she was the lucky one. I didn’t get a job after I studied photography in the same school and I’m sure I won’t get one this time either. You won’t find any magic beans there. It only makes you feel abandoned.

This experience shouldn’t discourage me but it does. Why should I even need a certain style? I like to do different things or I would be bored. I know what my style isn’t. That’s the easy part. The problem with the assignment was we only got feedback and after that nothing else. If you work with a client, you get several comments and that way you can make your design better. But with a teacher, you don’t get that. In the end, it doesn’t matter what feedback you got during an education because that’s only one opinion. It’s really about what kind of work you want to do. I know one day what my style will be and it will change many times. I work with what I’ve got. You never really graduate in this life because there’s always something new to learn. Knowing that Helsinki Design School was just one journey that now has come to an end. What will happened next is a mystery.

Taking a break from my busy schedule

Helsinki Design School assignment 2018, Single cover. Got 3/5 from this ‘Colours’ project

I have 9 days to finish my school assignments so I haven’t written the next bit about my holiday in Playa del Ingles. But it will come. It will take just some time. I’m just taking a break from my busy schedule to write this post. Busy in a way that I also have other things to do and places to go.

I finally reached 600 followers on this blog so thank you so much. I never thought I would get that many but 4-5 years later here it is. Time goes so fast I lost count how long I have blogged. According to the stats, this is the 6th year. At least I gained some experience from something.

Besides school work in Helsinki Design School is to make a portfolio. It’s part of the education. I asked my classmates on Facebook if anyone has started theirs but no one had. So I’m not the only one. It’s nice to know there are others in the same boat so you don’t need to feel alone. We have 4 more meetings in school before the portfolio presentations. The school ends on June 15. There is still time. Until the deadline is coming sooner than you think and then you’re screwed. I hope it won’t come to that. I already thought about in what format it’s gonna be so that’s better than nothing.

So there is the update. I’m mostly busy with thinking about design so my mind is not in writing about my holiday. As soon as my assignments are finished, then I can write about that. Until then I’m a busy bee. Mentally.