How To Get Graphic Design Work Experience

Work experience bridges the gap between academic learning and real-world experience and is essential for personal and career development. Here are some ideas on how to secure graphic design work experience.


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Where can I find graphic design work experience?

If you’re looking to stand out, you should consider creating a portfolio to showcase your creative skills. It’s valuable to have a portfolio before looking for work experience as it shows potential employers what you can do. 

Next, you’ll need to think about showing off your work. Using social media to engage and network with brands and small businesses is a good way to encourage engagement. You’ll need to put time into searching for vacancies or internships on different job sites. 

You could also reach out to local charities or contact graphic design studios directly to see if they are looking to take on any interns . If you’re struggling with this, there’s a lot of help out there. For example, Youth Employment, lists specific youth friendly employers and there is also an early careers opportunity finder. There are freelance websites, such as Upwork and Fiverr, out there which can help you gain experience and build a client base.


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Graphic design students on work experience with designs in front of them

How to build a professional Graphic Design portfolio

If you’re struggling on where to begin, have a read of this past blog post on how to build a professional portfolio. Essentially, the starting point of building a portfolio is to choose your best work to showcase. Aim for quality over quantity and provide a short description for each project to give it some context. If you have any positive client feedback from projects you’ve worked on, this should be included too. It’s also important to understand who your target audience is and to tailor your portfolio to them, e.g. an employer. Hubspot have listed their favourite graphic design portfolios, with some tips on making your portfolio stand out. 


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Is Graphic Design a good career?

Graphic design is a diverse career and is in high demand in most industries, such as advertising, marketing, publishing, web design etc. Working in graphic design can give you the freedom of being a freelance or working for an organisation. This allows for a more flexible working schedule and the ability to choose the projects you want to work on.

At ACC, we have two in-house designers who have shared some graphic design tips and advice. As you can see, graphic design is an exciting industry to be part of, there are new technologies and trends constantly emerging. This keeps the work interesting and provides opportunities for continuous learning and skill development.


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Graphic design students in class together

What do you learn on a Graphic Design course?

At ACC, we offer two different routes to go down. The first is our Level 3 Graphic and Digital Design course which explores graphic design through both traditional and digital mediums, with access to industry standard software. 

On this course you will gain real-world experience by working with live briefs, and explore photography techniques, time management and promotional material development. One of our Alumni, Joseph Smith, agreed that ACC ‘provides a good framework in the form of live briefs. This allows students to develop and learn through creative restraints, time restrictions and industry like experience, so at the end of my time at college I had built up a solid portfolio of work that got me into all five of the universities I applied for!’

We also offer a Level 2 Video Photography and Design course. This is a 1 year course for those who don’t quite have the qualifications to jump straight to the Level 3 course. 

You will leave ACC with your own style which will set you apart from everyone else! 


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Graphic Design course qualification

If you study our Graphic and Digital Design course you’ll gain a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma which is the equivalent to three A Levels. This will give you the ability to go straight into employment or to progress to higher education.


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How much does a graphic design course cost?

Our courses are free for 16-18 year olds. If you’re 19+, the cost of the courses is £2,882. Take a look at our further guidance on fees and funding.


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Graphic design students using mouse for laptop

What’s the next step?

Remaining persistent and having a proactive approach are key to gaining graphic design work experience. It’s important to be open to new opportunities and continuously seek ways to improve your skills and expand your portfolio. Our courses will provide you with all the tools you need to succeed in this industry. Apply online today!

Last updated on: 16th February 2024