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Graphic design is one of those fields where you will meet people so passionate about their work that they would never consider doing anything else. Here you will meet one of those diehard artists:

Q: What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field?

A: I am an entrepreneur and freelance graphic designer, and I’ve been working on individual graphic design jobs since I was about eight or nine years old. Ever since that time, I fell in love with the world of graphic design and I’ve been making advertisements, motion graphics, and website layouts alike ever since.

Q: How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

A: As a graphic designer, I work with illustrators, typographers, animators, and people of varied talents from around the world on collaborative projects. Most of my time is spent finding new leads and clients, as well as assembling teams of top talent to meet the needs of my clients. Interestingly enough, I’ve met a lot of people who confuse graphic designers with illustrators, and while a graphic designer may also be an illustrator or a talented typographer, he does not have to be. Graphic designers pull together the individual pieces of a project into a new, cohesive work. Graphic designers have a way of making the original work of art even prettier.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

A: I’d give my job a solid 8 or 9. This varies depending on the month, and some months are more barren than others. Nevertheless, I usually find a good job or two each month to collect enough money for the following month to pay bills and cover leisurely and essential goods. That being said, there are few other jobs in the world that I would find as satisfactory as this job. The only thing that I’d change about my experience so far was a lack of a consistent work. Graphic design is an extremely competitive field, and I had to struggle for months before I was able to get my name out in the open. Once that happened, clients began pouring in.

Q: If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

A: I definitely cannot see myself holding any other position or entering any other field. From the moment I picked up my first Wacom tablet, I knew I was in the right place. While the money does get tight sometimes, it’s an amazing job. Working with corporations and small businesses alike to deliver their message creatively is rewarding and enlightening. The pursuit of discovering new mediums to convey ideas across the Internet is intriguing to say the least, and as a graphic designer, I’m at the forefront of the ever-changing landscape of E-marketing and web design and development. This is the place for me!

Q: Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

A: For awhile, I worked alone as a freelance from my bedroom on a computer that was several years outdated. My parents didn’t believe I’d ever make a living “playing around with Photoshop and spraypaint”. Eventually, I upgraded my computer to machine capable of rendering the highest quality of motion graphic on the fly, and I spent most of my time in Barnes and Noble sneaking a peek at the pages of graphic design and color scheme theory books, along with visiting a number of art galleries on my free time during the summer for inspiration. I taught myself everything I know today about this industry.

Q: How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

A: A couple of kids from school really got into the graphic design scene. We spent a lot of our time coming up with new designs for anything from websites to tattoos. Instead of filling out notebooks with notes for the next algebra test, our books were crammed with a diverse collection of different abandoned projects lost to the void of time. While these guys did get me started in the field, I wish I could have spent my introductory years hitting the books. The books helped me understand the principles behind color schemes, themes, integrated motion graphics, Flash, and other common web design concepts employed on almost every website on Earth. The books were what truly connected me to the field, and I thank public libraries and book stores for letting me read on their comfortable seats even into the late hours of night.

Q: What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this hard-learned lesson?

A: I learnt quickly to never count chickens before they’re hatched, and to never let friends employ your graphic design services. I’ve had a lot of clients make big orders then flake out on me halfway through the deal, only to steal a number of the paired logos designed by illustrators, which I paid for with my own budget. Friends who employed my services were unwilling to pay even close to the full price, so I figured it wouldn’t be cost-effective to work with them for the most part. In addition, humankind’s nature tends to tell us to go above and beyond for our friends. Graphic design is a field in which time really is money, and so time management is extremely important. In addition, be immediately skeptical of new clients and ask about their preferred payment methods early on during the prospective partnership.

Q: What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?

A: To always keep a clear head and a healthy attention to detail. I couldn’t afford to lose clients, so I made sure to study their needs ahead of time so I wouldn’t have to go back and re-work their brand into my designs later on. Communicate with clients and save trouble later.

Q: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

A: A shady individual heard about my services from another one of my clients. He proposed a deal to me to design the full layout of his website, although he never told me what the contents would be. As I found out more and more about his business, I distanced myself. It turned out he was making an illegal website that sold controlled substances and narcotics to people in my local area. Naturally, I bailed on this job the moment I understoof the client’s expectations and background.

Q: Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?

A: When I wake up in the morning, I often go back and revisit the websites that I’ve worked on. It makes me feel good to see users interacting with an efficient and stunning interface, and it’s also good to see my clients walk away happy with the results. When I’m feeling down or discouraged, I always try and remember how far I’ve come from that nine year old on his mother’s old junker of a work computer.

Q: What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you really want to pull your hair out?

A: I cannot stand clients who make it impossible to get in contact. I love to have multiple lines of communication, but I’ve had a number of clients who make themselves unavailable or difficult to reach, which is frustrating.

Q: How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?

A: I admit that I've gained a bit of weight over the last few years, although it isn't something that can't be quickly amended with diet and exercise. Other than that, I'm able to manage my life and my work effectively.

Q: What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

A: I make anything between $49,000-$51,000 dollars a year, which is more than enough for that I like to do in my life.

Q: How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

A: I rarely ever take any vacations, and I could probably start going on day trips to the beach or to the forests. It would be a healthy idea.

Q: What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

A: In this field, I needed to get an excellent grasp on E-commerce and E-marketing, web development, graphic design, typography, and persuasive writing skills. Degrees from educational institutions are always a plus, although not always required.

Q: What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

A: I would tell them to think carefully about whether or not they really like to work with images and graphics all day. I've had a number of friends who tried to get into the field before under the impression that it would be easy money. Graphic design is hard, honest work and not an easy way out by any means.

Q: If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

A: I'd like to be cruising along Europe with my lovely girlfriend, Samantha.