How To Become A Graphic Designer Without A Degree

How To Become A Graphic Designer Without A Degree?

Graphic design is a unique, creative, and broad field. While a degree in graphic design may teach you all it needs to be a graphic designer, but in the end, it is only in your hands to make yourself worthy of it.

Not to mention that gaining a thorough understanding of a particular skill will offer you an advantage in any organization. They will prefer someone with an in-depth knowledge of a specific skill over someone with a degree but only a little understanding of the deeper aspects of graphic design.

Do You Need A Degree To Become A Graphic Designer?

While a few graphic designers use a college degree to break into the creative profession, many others decide to go on a self-learning path. Many organizations employ entry-level designers purely based on their portfolio and expertise, regardless of whether or not they have a degree.

However, as a graphic designer without a degree, you will need a certain level of raw creative productivity, the determination to acquire specific essential skills, and an attractive portfolio that will entice companies to consider you as their graphic designer. You must have a portfolio of work to exhibit your creative and design abilities so that potential employers can make an accurate hiring decision.

graphic designer degree chart. Graphic Designer Without A Degree

Companies are looking for talented and skilled designers and not just a sheet of paper. With this being said, the thing in which you must invest in your portfolio. This is where your skill and knowledge will reflect. Recognizing exceptional talent is now every company’s top priority.

Learning The Fundamentals Of Graphic Design

Graphic design basics are equivalent to building blocks. Each one builds on top of the other until you have the groundwork for developing something unique, whether it’s a logo, a website, or an amazing animation. Below are the fundamentals of graphic design everyone must know:


The most delicate designs aren’t those that attempt to include every design aspect in the frame into a single arrangement. They use free space to draw attention to the things that are important to the reader.


When it comes to graphic design, you can certainly be creative, but you must also maintain a sense of balance. Consider this: if you were arranging your living room, you would not try to stuff the sofa, reclining chair, coffee table, and end tables into a small corner, but you’d distribute the sections about the room to achieve balance and alignment. It is the same with graphic design.


Hierarchy refers to how the components of your design are organized. This focuses viewers’ attention on the relevant area. As a general rule, the larger the design component, the more noticeable it will be.

Lines And Shapes

Lines and shapes serve as the foundation of your designs, and how you utilize them may radically change how a design appears and feels. A design with entirely rounded edges will communicate a significantly different message than one with all sharp lines. Understanding the significance of lines and shapes is essential for developing consistent designs with your brand, vision, and purpose.


Colour is much more than just 7 parts of VIBGYOR. It has an impact and is a symbol of strength. Colour is what stimulates engagement, but only if you understand how to use it.

The colors you choose in your designs are essential not just for the overall beauty of your design but also for how effectively your plans connect with your customers.


The words and language you use in your designs are essential, but so are the fonts you choose to convey those thoughts. Typography focuses on all aspects of typeface design, from font selection to font arrangement. It expresses your main motive and conveys a lot about who you are and what you stand for. That is why it is critical to get a hand in typography.

basics of graphic design

Take Graphic Design Training Courses

If you are enthusiastic about design and want to master it independently, there are plenty of tutorials and graphic design courses available online. A solid foundation in visual design principles and application will allow you to kickstart your journey. Below are some of the best graphic design courses available online:

Graphic Design Specialization By CalArts On Coursera

CalArts’ Graphic Design Certification course is primarily for novice teaching them the essential skills necessary to create advanced graphic designs. Learners will get familiar with the formal and conceptual techniques used in the field of graphical design.

Well-known CalArts faculty members teach all modules in the course. CalArts is renowned across the world for its more than 70 comprehensive degree programs in the visual, performing, media, and literary arts.

Graphic Design Masterclass – Learn Great Design On Udemy

This Graphic Design Course is the most popular graphic design course on Udemy. It is intended for beginners who wish to become graphic designers, either part-time or full-time, and those who want to acquire design skills and methods to improve in their present jobs. At the same time, this course is thorough enough for intermediate and advanced students to benefit significantly from it.

This course successfully combines graphic design fundamentals and theory with real-world problems and applications.

Graphic Design Bootcamp On Udemy

Graphic Design Bootcamp on Udemy is one of the most highly-rated graphic design courses for newbies. This course is unquestionably the best for first-timers to develop a skill set that will make them attractive to employers in the creative sector as graphic designers. It is also beneficial for freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to establish their own companies. This course already has over 73,000 students registered and over 7000 five-star reviews.

This course aims to effectively provide learners with the necessary skills and software to develop attractive, high-quality designs.

Design Courses On Skillshare

Skillshare is an online training platform that offers numerous design, business, technology, and other fields. More than 21,000 lessons are created and taught by world-class professionals and educators. There are several classes available in the domain of Graphic Design that cover a wide range of topics. Several courses also cover the principles and fundamental concepts of graphic design. Students may study everything from basic design principles to the latest tools and strategies for producing stunning visual designs.

Adobe CC Masterclass: Photoshop, Illustrator, XD & InDesign

This course is intended for graphic design newbies and those who wish to master the whole suite of Adobe CC tools, including Illustrator, Photoshop, XD, and InDesign. You will learn basic graphic design concepts and principles and the most general graphic design applications, and how to utilize them effectively. There are several practical, real-world applications for students to follow and experiment with.

Become A Graphic Designer Without A Degree Courses Comparison

Submit Your Graphic Design For Awards

Graphic design contests, awards, and online features are excellent ways to earn recognition for your design work throughout the creative community and to catch the attention of potential clients and future employers. Furthermore, a list of achievements appears excellent on your CV and helps you stand out from the crowd. Below are some of the best award websites for graphic design:

D&AD Impact Awards

D&AD Impact appreciates innovative and revolutionary ideas. Across all areas, they accept projects that are already making a significant and valuable effect in the world. Every year, 200+ judges worldwide reward creative work in commercial design, advertising, production, and craft. Your work can range from simple static design to illustration, UX, animation, and typography.

AGDA Best Design Awards

AGDA is well-known for representing the Australian communication design field, with members ranging from telecommunications to technology. The entry categories for the annual AGDA Awards include identity, print, publishing, packaging, digital, and motion, intending to highlight top artists. The judging panel chooses the best work on its creative expression, concept execution, and its significance to the audience.

Indigo Awards

Indigo awards aim to encourage innovation, and top talent from all over the world in graphic design, digital, mobile, and game design, and are available to candidates from the world as long as the work is no more than five years old. The prizes are offered for your work in a wide range of categories, whether you are a student, college graduate, seasoned designer, or own a design studio.

ADC Annual Awards

Every year, the One Club for Creativity hosts the ADC awards open call, and entries are available to industry experts to showcase innovation. Branding, digital media, graphic design, package design, animation, interactive design, photography, illustration, and fine arts are among the many submission categories.

Build A Network Of Graphic Designers

Making a name for yourself as a successful graphic designer involves more than simply creating excellent work and building an outstanding design portfolio; you must also ensure that adequate people see it. Thus, building a network of graphic designers can help you with the go:

Show Interest

Networking is a highly organic process. If you have a real passion for design, you will naturally draw toward others who have the same interest and with whom you may wish to collaborate in the future. Take an interest in the designers, creative directors, and developers with whom you get into contact on a social level. You’ll automatically pick up suggestions and guidance about finding jobs and managing clients from your conversations.

Spot The Differences

It’s not about sticking to your zone; look for artists who create work on a slightly different subject than yours. Don’t be concerned; there will be things you do that they don’t. That implies you could be a good fit for future partnerships in projects.

graphic designer without a degree networking sitemap and infographic

Use Social Networks

If you’re not familiar with in-person networking, the internet can always help, which has various social networks that can get you in touch with other designers like you.

Keep Up With New Work

If you keep track of who the industry’s developers, creators, and movers are, you’ll never be at a loss. New projects must naturally excite you, and breaking out from a walled method of working by staying current with the industry around you will pay dividends in the long run. Keep going with your recent work; building a solid network takes time.

How To Get Graphic Design Clients

When it comes to finding clients, it is essential to consider the effort you need to put in. Below are some practical ways you can make into practice to get graphic design clients:

Improve Your Portfolio

Your graphic design portfolio is one of your most significant assets when it comes to attracting new clients. Make sure to highlight your most important work and take the time to describe each project. Discuss your involvement in the project, the design challenge, and how you solved it. Distribute your portfolio widely. Add new design projects to it regularly.

Ask For Referrals

If you have some satisfied customers, ask for them for referrals. Inform them that you are always willing to interact with potential clients and appreciate their referrals.

You may even put up an official referral or affiliate network, depending on the services you provide.

Keep Up To Date

Make sure your design portfolio is up to date with the latest and best design projects. Ensure that you are easy to reach out to and all your contact forms are functioning and up to date. Don’t make clients think it is challenging to get in touch with you.

Apply For Graphic Design Jobs

When you feel you’re ready to take off, start applying for graphic design jobs, submit your portfolios, attend interviews and be confident about your work.

Below are some online job application portals where you can apply for a role as a graphic designer in several companies.




Learn How To Market Your Graphic Designs

Marketing graphic design is all about graphically conveying and promoting a company’s products and services. Not only that, but all materials must correspond to the company’s aesthetic image.

Here’s how you can market your design:

  • Increase conversions: By offering a clear, straightforward path to transformation, beautiful marketing design can influence consumers to take action. The fundamental thing to remember is that you must consider how to engage your audience at every level of your marketing effort and then convert that involvement into the intended outcome.
  • Build trust: Great design can reduce people’s apprehension about converting into a client. This may be achieved by addressing any concerns or doubts people may have about the product or service you’re marketing and building trust among customers.
  • Provide an incentive: It helps to exhibit your design in context to encourage customers to use the product related to it. More precisely, your audience must perceive how you might assist them in resolving an issue or offer them delight. When a design is viewed in context, a person can understand much more quickly whether the product will work for them or not.


As we’ve discussed, a degree is not necessary to become a graphic designer. You should devote time to specializing in graphic design software and its tools, as well as knowing, learning, becoming accustomed to, and visualizing their features. Some people believe that being a graphic designer is challenging; however, they are mistaken. To become a graphic designer, all you need is a desire for the profession, proper attitude, inclination, and enthusiasm towards learning design.

– Written by Sonal Rawat (Blog writer at Sharcio)

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