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To think I can career change from physio to graphic designer

(35 Posts)
CradleCrapNap Sun 28-Dec-14 21:00:16

I have no design experience or art qualifications what so ever. I just have a burning desire to design beautiful invitation for weddings, christenings, etc.

I am a creative person and am very good at sugar craft work but making invitations will be totally new to me. I didn't even make my own wedding invites! I wanted to keep our workload to a minimum although we did make the inserts to the orders of service and the table plan to complement the invites and overall theme.

Does anyone have any advice? Am I crazy to think I can learn how to use publishing and design software when my current business is so different. And how long will it take to train? What is the best route?

Does anyone already do this as a job?

movingtoourwillow Sun 28-Dec-14 21:04:04

I'm glad you recognise you need training! Because frankly it's an insult to assume you can just become a designer with just a bit of enthusiasm and nada experience! So yeah look into college/uni courses and be prepared to be knocked back from them, afterall enthusiasm does not equal talent! But yeah good luck, it's never too late to try doing something you love...

Mrsmorton Sun 28-Dec-14 21:09:16

It depends what you want to do OP. No one needs formal training to make wedding invitations. It ain't rocket surgery. You need some ideas and some equipment. I work 6 days a week as a dentist and do this as a hobby to overpay the mortgage. Easy fucking peasy. I have amazing handwriting though which helps apparently smile

Other graphic stuff with computers programs and the like, no idea. So yes, depends what you're after!!

CradleCrapNap Sun 28-Dec-14 21:16:12

I love the contrast in those answers, thank you for those.

I guess I like the newer kind of typography style, choosing a great font and using the sizing variations and layout cleverly, along with high quality card, envelopes etc and ribbons. Not a bling lover so can't see me gluing and sticking although I'm sure lots will want that, so perhaps.

Apols if there's a delay in my reply, homeland just started, will keep my eyes on here though as I value any advice I can get. I really want to find something that inspires me, even if I don't make a fortune. Although I do need to make enough. Part time I currently take home just over £1000 a month. Not sure how many invites I'd need to sell to make that!

CambridgeBlue Sun 28-Dec-14 21:18:52

Speaking as a trained graphic designer who's worked in the industry for over 20 years I'd say that being creative is only one aspect of what's needed to be successful - you also have to know and keep up to date with several complex software programs, be familiar with printing techniques, know how to work within a budget, understand typography (it's more than just choosing a pretty font) and accept that your idea of a beautiful design may not be cost effective, practical to produce or to a paying customer's taste.

I'm a great believer in doing what you love but there's much more to being a designer than having a creative streak and it's both naive and a bit insulting to anyone who's trained for years to assume otherwise. However if you take all of the above on board and are still keen then I'd look into a decent foundation course as a starting point and take it from there - good luck.

CradleCrapNap Sun 28-Dec-14 21:32:21

As I said, I know I will need to train and learn to use software, so I am not being naive here or trying to insult anyone. I'm just looking for ADVICE. I was hoping to find someone who had done similar or could answer my questions above re routes of training and how long it would take.

Ujjayi Sun 28-Dec-14 22:40:23

You need to look at BTEC Art & Design courses with a bias towards graphic design. It will be a 2 year course, equivalent to 3 A-levels.

Be prepared to have to cover subjects you may think are not directly relevant. I studied photography, art, sculpture, photoshop & magazine production, history of art & fashion all as part of my fashion course

Agree with a PP who stated that design is not just about creativity. If you are offering a bespoke service, you will be doing exactly as your clients request (obviously with some input & guidance from you). It can mean producing stuff that is not to your taste but having to put your name to it. It can be boring, repetitive & end up feeling that it doesn't represent you or your brand.

BikeRunSki Sun 28-Dec-14 23:12:48

A friend of mine made wedding stationary as a hobby business. She was good, the stationary was attractive and unusual, but it was very, very time consuming.

emeline Sun 28-Dec-14 23:17:01

Would a Btec be enough to get you employed, ujjayi? don't you need a degree?

Chocolateteacake Sun 28-Dec-14 23:34:41

Art colleges are pouring out grads with degrees (me included). The market is awash with designers and 'I've learned PowerPoint and now I'm a designer' types.

I spent 5 years part time doing a degree, including a year on type alone, and half a year on print. You don't need a degree to be a designer, even my ten year old can put together some impressive work on the computer.

Doing invites involves design and the print production side (thank god not everything is electronic these days), and there's little money in it, unless you can handmake them to a very high standard to wealthy clients.

I'd do an access course and see if you take to it. Start with good old hands on - we weren't taught computer skills when I studied, it was all ink on paper/photography/print/3-d stuff etc. Packages are easy enough if that's your thing - I find them easy to pick up. Find out what your own style and preferred media is. You never know until you get your hands dirty where your skills lie.

Training is bloody expensive these days though.

asmallandnoisymonkey Sun 28-Dec-14 23:42:31

Please don't waste time on a degree. There are so many artists with degrees out there that can't paint, draw or show any sort of design instinct or natural talent. I was TOTALLY shocked at the lack of talent in the last degree show from a large and well renowned art school.

The best place to start is your local college - check out their visual communication courses and see if there's anything you think you'd like. If you're any good, your talent will shine through and all you need is practice. Learning any relevant software is something you can do in your own time as well as in a structured environment.

Depending on what you want to do (traditional or digital media), you will need to become proficient in the Adobe suite of software. CC is the current iteration of this and you can subscribe monthly (it's fairly pricey).

I'm a professional, full time illustrator and designer. I illustrate children's picture books, promotional material and educational books (just for some info so you can judge if you think I'm qualified to give advice! :D )

Ujjayi Mon 29-Dec-14 00:11:43

OP as I'm not in the arena of graphic design I cannot say for certain but, in some cases a BTEC would be sufficient. It really depends whether you are looking to be employed or start your own business. I chose not to do my degree (despite being offered a place at perhaps the most prestigious fashion school) because I felt I would rather invest the cash into my business, rather than study for a further 3 years (I already have a degree so didn't qualify for student loan etc). Uni allows you the time & experience to develop as an artist but I already had very clear ideas about exactly what I wanted to do & my lecturers were great at encouraging me to go for it. I still attend short courses run at this particular uni to build on my skill set but otherwise I have set up my own label & loving it.

Oblomov Mon 29-Dec-14 01:25:38

My best friend has just set up her own website, but I don't think she has had any orders yet.
She made a lot of cards and invites and sold them at a local craft fare.

It's all lovely. But I don't think it's provided any real income as such yet.
There are tonnes of videos she's watched, alot from America. And other websites and bloggers and communities offering ideas and support.
Don't quit your real job just yet. You may be being very naive as to how hard this is to make any real money from.

MrsMarcJacobs Mon 29-Dec-14 01:41:09

As someone who has worked in the creative industry for many years, I do not see making wedding invites as being a graphic designer - that profession encompasses many skills - bad design on a computer is still bad design and re is plenty of it out there. I think you should just practice, practice, practice. it would be practical to do computer courses if you have no idea how to use software that is necessary for doing this, and I would suggest working closely with a printer to see and understand the print techniques that are out there. you would need to deliver something that is far superior to an invitation that just looks home made as anyone can do that. you will need skill to set you apart to make a real income from it. Good luck smile

musicalendorphins2 Mon 29-Dec-14 04:50:50

Well, I wouldn't.

CradleCrapNap Mon 29-Dec-14 09:13:40

Thanks for your replies.

I would prefer not to have to study for another degree, local college would be my preferred method if it could provide me with the skill set that I need. I will get in touch with my local colleges and ask around. Part time study would be best as I have a toddler and a job already, although my husband is very supportive and I am lucky that he can support us in the short term if I really need to engage in full time study. I am also on two contracts at the place where I work, a 2 day a week one and a one day one doing a slightly different role so technically I could reduce my hours easily by dropping one or the other.

There is a printer place on my road. We looked there when looking for our own invites and they had books and books of awful wedding invites. But I would certainly enquire as to their print options. There's no way I would print them myself, I think for quality that should be done professionally.

For our wedding invites I chose a designer who ran her own business and made just a small selection (10-15) 'off the shelf' invites and also offered bespoke for extra and I think this is what I would like to do, except perhaps also offer other invites such as christening etc. I would like to create a website and get to wedding fairs/magazines but I know this is not going to happen easily and money won't be rolling in!

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Mon 29-Dec-14 09:19:26

My exp is currently working as a self employed graphic designer, reasonably successful after teaching himself. it took a couple of years to get going, he worked full time in an unrelated job then came home and worked all evening, reading and practicing. took a lot of saving to afford the computer and software package and then a fair sprinkle of luck in that we had a friend who used freelance graphic designers so she could throw some work his way. But he's making it work now, he does web design and corporate branding, so a bit different from what you are interested in.

Chocolateteacake Mon 29-Dec-14 09:27:06

Start making some. Make the kids birthday invites, cards, artwork for their rooms - when I had time I used to do lino and woodcuts to print my own thank you/birthday cards, using gorgeous paper from specialist stores (bloody expensive so there wouldn't be any money to be made).

Once people know that you make nice things they will ask you to do dome for them. That will get the ball rolling anyway.

The thing about computer based design/production is that there are so many sites offering free templates and illustrations, people do their own and get local prontoprint to make them up (not very well to my eye).

Maybe study typography or print? I can spot from 50 paces if a piece has been set by an amateur or printed cheaply and it can make a hell of a difference to a piece.

WizardOfToss Mon 29-Dec-14 09:36:39

My DD is a graphic designer. She did a BTEC and a degree. She has a good job, but it's a very competitive field and none of her classmates have gone onto design jobs (just wanted to share the reality of studying for 5 years to perhaps not get where you want to be).

Are you sure you want to be a graphic designer though? Not to be snidey, but designing invites is not the same thing. My guess is you could do a college course to get you started and perhaps do it part time. Good luck!

JustStirItUna Mon 29-Dec-14 09:42:00

There is a very very big difference between being a graphic designer and designing things graphically. I work in marketing but half of my job is design, of which I'm pretty much self taught bar a few refresher courses. I get by, but I am no where near as good as my DH who is a fully trained graphic designer with creative flair and an eye for detail that makes his stuff really stand out.

If you're serious about the wedding invite side of things, look at investing in the latest adobe suite which should include InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. This will set you back about £600. Then look at local courses to train in those areas, InDesign being the main one you will use. Then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

Create your own board on Pinterest, look what else is out there in your area, get a very good idea of print prices and margins (I'd recommend trying to find someone who does letterpress printing as this is very popular but can be incredibly expensive). Spend six months making things for free or as a gift to people for their weddings and christenings, build up a portfolio, look at a very simple Wordpress website, photograph what you produce and be prepared for a lot of shit when you DO design something and the bride doesn't like it!

Good luck!!!

JustStirItUna Mon 29-Dec-14 09:46:07

Also, look on sites like Not on the high street. The difference in artwork is massive. The font heavy designs you like might look very simple to make but you have to be very very careful with letter spacing, tracking, kerning etc.... (All things you should learn on your course) to make them look half decent. And watch the film Helvetica, just becausewink

JustStirItUna Mon 29-Dec-14 09:47:00

(And please please do not use Comic Sans or Monotype Corsiva ever!!!)

Chocolateteacake Mon 29-Dec-14 09:53:59

I'm pretty sure there are packages purely to produce wedding invites.

Handmade are more interesting but you'd need to be pretty creative and hands on to male them look good and not an art project.

The thing about having a shiney art degree is that few people in business give a shit as long as you can do what they, the client want.

Oh the hours spent producing some kick ass designs, then the client says 'oooh, I'm a bit of a designer myself. Can you change the text to Vivaldi? Its so classy...:. I had one client who hated the corporate court (which she had spent about a £ million signing off on during in the re branding project). 'Can we ditch the grey?' 'Er no, that's our corporate colour.' ' well I don't like it...'

I watch the apprentice solely to see the cteatives faces on the tasks when they have to do branding or ads!

Chocolateteacake Mon 29-Dec-14 09:55:37

Colour, not court...

cailindana Mon 29-Dec-14 11:33:37

I've sort of fallen into very basic graphic design as part of my job. It's very hard and I'm rubbish at it. My boss (also fell into it) is talented and just has a knack I don't have. But I'm better at the practical, marketing side of things. Together we make up one pretty good graphic designer smile Don't forget that if you intend to set up on your own you will need a huge range of skills - admin, accounting, organisation, marketing, customer service, basic law (in terms of contracts etc), as well as designing. It's in the details that companies succeed or fail.

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