How to start a graphic design career in Birmingham

Embarking on a graphic design career in Birmingham, a city brimming with creative energy and opportunities, can be an exciting journey for young aspiring designers. hether you’re a college student passionate about visual arts or someone curious about the dynamic world of graphic design, Birmingham offers a range of opportunities to kickstart your career.

In this blog, we explore what it takes to break into the ever-changing graphic design sector. Get ready to unlock your creative potential and make your mark in Birmingham’s growing digital community!


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What is a graphic designer?

Graphic Design student using their graphics tablet

Graphic designers create pictures and text to communicate messages to an audience. The work of graphic designers can be seen almost anywhere, from advertising, magazines, packaging and signage. Good graphic design is vital to effectively communicate all sorts of messages, such as what a brand or product is all about, or to instruct people on where to go and what to do through signage at events. Most graphic designers start by developing an interest in art and the creation of art using both traditional media (such as paint) and digital media (like graphics tablets and software).


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How long does it take to become a graphic designer?

It can take a long time to become a successful graphic designer. You need to develop skills in art and design, and master the use of different analogue and digital media to create effective images. As well as this technical skill and knowledge, you also need a firm understanding of graphic design principles which take in a wide range of disciplines, from maths and English to psychology. However, don’t be discouraged! These are all skills that you can learn on a graphic design course.


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How much is a graphic designer paid in Birmingham?

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Graphic designers typically earn between £20,000 and £40,000 a year depending on experience. However, freelance designers with a good portfolio can earn much more, and there are good prospects for career progression to attract higher salaries. 


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Becoming a Graphic Designer in Birmingham

There are lots of opportunities to work as a graphic designer in Birmingham. Not only are there specialist graphic design agencies based in the city, but most medium and large companies will employ their own team of graphic designers to create content for social media, advertising and branding. There are also lots of small businesses and freelancers who are looking to employ graphic designers on a freelance basis to make sure that the branding around their business looks as slick as possible.


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Study and earn qualifications

Graphic design student with tutor

Most graphic designers have studied specialist qualifications and built a portfolio of work to showcase their talents to prospective employers. The specialist Graphic Design course at Access Creative College in Birmingham is a great choice. This qualification allows you to build your skills and take part in exciting graphics projects which allow you to build a portfolio. After completing this course, many students go to University to study Graphic Design or a related discipline.


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Find work experience opportunities

Once you’ve amassed a portfolio of work, you’ll then be able to pitch for graphic design work experience opportunities. This will allow you to work with real clients on proper briefs to give you that vital industry experience. Here at Access Creative Birmingham we work with a range of industry partners to provide students with exciting opportunities to undertake design work for local businesses that enhance students’ portfolios, making them much more employable.


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Write an amazing CV

As a graphic designer, you should have an excellent grasp of images, text and communication, and this should come across on your CV. Make sure that it is informative, visually engaging, and reflects your brand as an individual. The layout and visual content of your CV is likely to be scrutinised more than in other professions, so it’s important to prioritise this. Here at Access Creative College, our students learn how to create effective CVs and spend time putting these skills into practice to impress employers.


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Create a detailed online portfolio

Having a portfolio of work is absolutely crucial, especially if you are looking to work as a freelance graphic designer. Make sure that your portfolio is easily accessible online, and that it is kept up to date with the latest projects you’ve been working on. Most importantly, the branding for your portfolio needs to reflect your graphic design skills and feature consistent branding. 


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Consider an apprenticeship

Two employers speaking to a candidate at an apprenticeship networking event (Access Industry).

Apprenticeships can be a great option for aspiring graphic designers. This is because nearly every company in every sector will need to employ the services of a graphic designer at some stage. Many companies employ a team of designers to create content for them, even if they don’t operate in the creative sector. Access Industry, the sister organisation of Access Creative College, can help young people find apprenticeship opportunities in Birmingham and beyond.


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Keep working to improve

Like any creative discipline, graphic design needs practice and dedication. There is no end to the number of different techniques you can learn, and you’ll also need to keep your finger on the pulse of different styles, formats, platforms and ideas that evolve over time. Make sure that you invest in yourself and your skills so that you are able to improve as a practitioner. Not only does this make you more employable as a designer, but it’s inspiring too!

If you want to take a big step towards becoming a graphic designer, then look no further! The specialist Graphic Design course here at Access Creative College in Birmingham gives you the skills and insider knowledge that you’ll need to build a career in graphic design. 

To start your graphic design career, apply online today!

Last updated on: 30th May 2024