So you want to be a graphic designer in Vancouver…

… but you have no idea where to start. Here’s a copy of an email conversation I had with someone I did some work for last month.

The Question:

Hi Sarah, how are you?

I was wondering how you got started in the graphic design industry.  Do you have a website or a bio?  I want to know what its like and if there should be additional studies that I should take (i.e. dreamweaver or programming).

Your help is much appreciated.  Thanks.

My Response:

Hi Anna,

I’m good! How are things in your world?
You don’t want to take the same route I did. LOL It took me over 20 years to get here. I’m sure you can get to where I am in much less time.
If it’s advice you’re looking for I have plenty to give. It sounds like you already have some experience in graphics. What have you done so far?
Regardless of your experience, I highly recommend signing up for integrated programs that inform and build your conceptual thinking in relationship to using the software. It’s one thing to know where the tools and special filters are in Photoshop but in order to create great design you need to learn how to choose the best tool for the job at hand.
Find a program, not just a course. Here’s a couple I recommend:
  1. The IDEA program at Capilano College – it’s 3 years and it’s worth it
  2. UBC Certificate in Multimedia and Web Development – this is a series of part-time courses that aren’t as integrated as the idea program. What’s great about this program is it encourages you to think from a broad vs. narrow view
The IDEA Grad Show is in a couple of weeks, opening on Monday, April 18, at Harbour Centre. Go down and check it out!
I can meet you there and introduce you to one of the teachers if you’re interested.

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