Land Graphic Design Job: No Experience Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 12 min read


  1. Learn the basics of graphic design
  2. Create an impressive portfolio
  3. Find the right graphic design tools
  4. Network with industry professionals
  5. Understand the job market
  6. Apply for internships and freelance projects
  7. Learn how to present your work
  8. Prepare for job interviews
  9. Stay up-to-date with industry trends
  10. Never stop learning

Graphic design is a dynamic field, bursting with opportunities for those with the right skills. But what if you're just starting out, with no experience to speak of? How do you go about landing a graphic design job? Don't worry, we've got you covered. This guide will walk you through the steps you need to take to get a job in graphic design, even if you're starting from square one. So, ready to kickstart your journey into the world of graphic design? Great! Let's get started.

Learn the basics of graphic design

Before you can even think about applying for jobs, you need to have a solid grasp of the basics of graphic design. This is the foundation upon which you'll build all your future skills and knowledge. You don't need to be a Picasso or a Da Vinci, but you do need to understand certain fundamental principles.

Color Theory: This is all about how colors interact with each other and the emotions they evoke. Red, for example, can symbolize passion or danger, while blue often represents calm and tranquility.

Typography: This involves understanding how different fonts and text styles can enhance or detract from a design. For example, a playful, rounded font might not be the best choice for a serious business report.

Layout and Composition: This is about how elements are arranged on a page. Good layout and composition can guide the viewer's eye and make your design more effective and engaging.

Once you've got these basics down, you can start exploring more advanced concepts. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your graphic design skills. It's a process, and every bit of knowledge you gain will bring you one step closer to landing that graphic design job, even without any prior experience.

There are countless resources available to help you learn these basics. Online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Khan Academy offer courses in graphic design. You can also find a wealth of information in design books, such as "The Elements of Graphic Design" by Alex W. White or "Graphic Design: The New Basics" by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips.

So, don't wait around. Dive into these resources, soak up all the knowledge you can, and start building your graphic design skill set. Remember, every journey begins with a single step!

Create an impressive portfolio

Now that you've got the basics of graphic design down, it's time to get your hands dirty and start creating! This is where you'll put all that theory into practice and start building a portfolio that showcases your skills. A well-crafted portfolio is your ticket to getting noticed in the graphic design world, even if you don't have any formal experience.

So, where do you start? Simple: create, create, create! The more designs you create, the better you'll get, and the more impressive your portfolio will be. Try your hand at different types of projects: logos, brochures, posters, websites, etc. This will not only help you develop a versatile skill set, but it will also show potential employers that you can handle a variety of tasks.

When putting together your portfolio, remember to include a mix of both personal and client-based projects. Personal projects are a chance for you to showcase your creativity and innovation, while client-based projects (even if they're hypothetical) demonstrate your ability to meet specific requirements and work within certain constraints.

Quality over Quantity: It's better to have a handful of stellar pieces than a truckload of mediocre ones. So, take your time and put your best foot forward.

Showcase your process: Don't just show the final product; show how you got there. This could include sketches, mood boards, or even a brief description of your thought process. This gives potential employers insight into how you work, and it shows them that you have a solid design process.

Finally, make sure your portfolio is easily accessible. You can create a website for it or use portfolio platforms like Behance or Dribbble. This way, when someone asks "How can I see your work?", all you need to do is share a link. Easy, right?

So, what are you waiting for? Start creating and put together a portfolio that will make potential employers sit up and take notice. Remember, your portfolio is your calling card in the graphic design world, so make it count!

Find the right graphic design tools

Alright, you've got your fundamental graphic design skills down, and you're working on building that killer portfolio. Now let's talk about tools. But, what tools do graphic designers use? Well, that's a question with a not-so-simple answer. The truth is, the tools you choose will depend largely on what type of design work you're doing. But don't worry, I'm here to help you navigate these waters!

For starters, there's Adobe Creative Suite—the holy grail of design tools. You've probably heard of Photoshop, but there's also Illustrator for vector art and InDesign for page layout. These three are the backbone of most graphic design work and are worth getting familiar with.

Then, there's specialized software for certain tasks. Sketch and Figma are fast becoming favorites for UI/UX design. Canva is a handy tool for quick and easy designs, especially for social media posts. And let's not forget about CorelDRAW—a veteran in the field that's still going strong.

But tools don't stop at software. A quality sketchbook can be your best friend for jotting down ideas and sketching out concepts. A good scanner or camera can help you digitize hand-drawn elements. And a graphics tablet can take your digital drawing and painting to the next level.

Is it starting to feel a bit overwhelming? Don't worry, you don't need to master every single tool right away. Start with one or two that resonate with the type of design work you want to do. As you gain confidence and experience, you can start exploring more tools and expanding your toolbox.

One final note: don't forget to invest in learning these tools. Whether it's through online tutorials, classes, or just good old-fashioned trial and error, take the time to really get to know your tools. They're your allies on this journey to becoming a graphic designer.

In a nutshell, finding the right tools and learning how to use them effectively can significantly boost your productivity and creativity. So, take the plunge and start exploring!

Network with industry professionals

So, you're mastering the tools of the trade—fantastic! But let's get real for a moment: knowing how to use Photoshop like a pro won't land you a job in graphic design by itself. So, what's the secret sauce, you ask? Well, let me introduce you to the power of networking.

Networking—yes, the word might sound a bit intimidating, especially if you're an introvert like me. But trust me, it doesn't have to be painful. You see, networking is just about making connections, and in our field, those connections can be a game-changer when it comes to getting a job in graphic design with no experience.

Start by joining local and online graphic design communities. Websites like Behance and Dribbble are full of talented designers sharing their work. You can learn a lot just by browsing, and don't be shy about leaving a thoughtful comment or two. You never know where a conversation might lead!

Attending design conferences or meetups is another great way to connect with industry professionals. Sure, you might have to break out of your comfort zone to strike up a conversation, but the potential payoff is well worth the effort.

And hey, don't underestimate the power of social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram can be excellent platforms for networking. Follow designers you admire, join discussions, and share your own work. Just remember to keep it professional—you're not just sharing cat videos with friends anymore!

Finally, consider finding a mentor. Having someone experienced who can guide you, give feedback on your work, and maybe even introduce you to potential employers can be invaluable.

So, ready to start networking? Remember, it's not about schmoozing or selling yourself—it's about building genuine relationships. And who knows? Your next job could be just a connection away.

Understand the job market

Alright, you've got your tools, and you're starting to get your name out there. Now, let's talk about the job market. I know, it's not as exciting as a fresh sketchpad or a new set of Photoshop brushes, but trust me, understanding the job market is key to landing a job in graphic design with no experience.

First off, let's be real: the graphic design field is pretty competitive. But don't let that scare you. Instead, use it to motivate you to stand out. And how do you do that? By understanding what employers are looking for.

Start by researching job listings. Look for the skills and qualifications most employers are asking for. And remember, it's not just about technical skills—soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are just as important. Plus, every job posting you look at is a potential opportunity, so keep an eye out!

Next, try to get a sense of the industry trends. Are there any particular areas of design that are in high demand? Maybe it's UX/UI design, or perhaps it's motion graphics. By identifying these trends, you can focus your learning and portfolio projects to match what employers are looking for.

And one more thing: don't forget about the freelance market. Freelancing can be a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio. Plus, it can offer flexibility and variety that you might not find in a traditional job.

So, ready to dive into the job market? Just remember, understanding the market is just the first step—the real work comes in making yourself stand out. But you've got this—I believe in you!

Apply for internships and freelance projects

Alright, you're getting the hang of this, aren't you? Now that you've got a good grasp of the job market, it's time to roll up your sleeves and actually apply for some jobs. But not just any jobs—we're talking internships and freelance projects.

Why internships and freelance projects, you ask? Well, these are great ways to gain real-world experience. Remember, we're figuring out how to get a job in graphic design with no experience, right? So, let's go get some!

Internships are a fantastic way to learn the ropes. You'll get to work with experienced designers, learn about the industry, and—here's the best part—get some work to show off in your portfolio. Don't worry about making money just yet. The experience and connections you'll gain from an internship are invaluable.

Now, what about freelance projects? Well, freelancing is a bit different. You'll be your own boss, which means you'll get to choose the projects you work on. It's a good way to specialize in the areas you're most interested in. Plus, freelance projects often pay, which is always a bonus.

There are plenty of websites where you can find freelance projects. Some popular ones are Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. Just create a profile, showcase your portfolio, and start bidding on projects.

So, ready to start applying? Just remember, the goal here is to gain experience and build your portfolio. Don't worry too much about the pay or the prestige of the projects. What matters most is that you're learning and growing as a designer. Good luck!

Learn how to present your work

So, you've got some projects under your belt—great job! But remember, in the world of graphic design, it's not just about what you create, but how you show it off. That's right, we're going to talk about how to present your work.

First off, you need to understand that your work doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's going to be used in specific contexts—like on a website, in a magazine, or on a billboard. So, when you're showing off your work, make sure to present it in the context it was designed for. This gives potential employers a better idea of your thought process and the purpose behind your designs.

Secondly, don't just show the final product—show the journey. Walk your audience through your creative process. Let them see your initial sketches, your color choices, your font selections, and how they all came together in the final design. This shows that you understand the steps involved in creating a design and that you can explain your decisions.

Lastly, don't forget to tell the story of each project. What was the brief? What problems did you encounter, and how did you overcome them? What was the outcome? This helps to show your problem-solving skills and your ability to work to a brief—two things that are highly valued in the graphic design industry.

Presenting your work effectively is a crucial step in getting a job in graphic design with no experience. It showcases not only your design skills but also your communication and storytelling abilities. So, take the time to present your work in the best light possible—it could be what sets you apart from the crowd.

Prepare for job interviews

Alright, you've got your foot in the door and you've landed a job interview—congratulations! Now, let's make sure you're ready to shine.

First thing's first: do your homework. Look up the company you're interviewing with and get a feel for their style and values. Find out what kind of design work they do and familiarize yourself with some of their recent projects. This shows that you're interested and eager, and it'll also help you tailor your responses to match what they're looking for.

Next, be ready to talk about your work and your process. As we discussed earlier, it's important to be able to explain why you made certain design choices and how you solved problems. Practice talking about your portfolio out loud—yes, it might feel a little weird, but it'll help you feel more confident when the big day comes.

Remember, a job interview is a two-way street. It's not just about them deciding if you're a good fit for the company, but also about you deciding if the company is a good fit for you. So, make sure to prepare some questions of your own. This could be about the company culture, the typical workday, or the opportunities for growth within the company. This shows that you're serious about your career and that you're looking for a place where you can grow and develop your skills.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially when you're trying to get a job in graphic design with no experience. But with a little preparation, you can walk in feeling confident and ready to impress.

Let's talk trends. Now, you might be wondering, "Why should I care about trends when I'm just starting out?" Well, understanding and staying updated with the latest graphic design trends is vital if you want to get a job in graphic design with no experience.

See, trends are a reflection of what's happening in the world. They show us what people are interested in, what they respond to, and what they're tired of. So, by keeping an eye on trends, you can make sure your designs are fresh and relevant.

So, how do you stay up-to-date with trends? Well, there are plenty of resources out there. You could check out design blogs or magazines, follow influential designers on social media, or even attend design conferences or webinars. The key is to expose yourself to as much design work as possible and to always be on the lookout for new ideas and inspiration.

But remember, while it's important to know what's in style, it's equally important to develop your own unique voice as a designer. So, don't just blindly follow trends—use them as a starting point to create something that's truly you.

Staying current with industry trends is one of the ways to show potential employers that you're serious about your career in graphic design, and it can give you an edge when you're trying to get a job with no experience.

Never stop learning

Let's face it: the world of graphic design is always changing. Just when you think you've mastered one tool, another one comes along. New techniques, new ideas, new trends—they're all part of the game. So, if you want to know how to get a job in graphic design with no experience, the answer is simple: never stop learning.

But how can you keep learning when you're just starting out? Well, there are actually plenty of ways. Online courses, for example, are a great way to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. There are plenty of them out there—some are free, some are paid, but all of them are packed with valuable information.

Books are another great resource. Yes, you heard it right—books! Even in this digital age, there are still plenty of books out there that can teach you a lot about design. So, head to your local library or bookstore and see what you can find.

Finally, don't forget about the power of practice. The more you design, the better you'll get. So, take on personal projects, volunteer your skills, or just play around with different tools and techniques. Whatever you do, just keep designing.

Remember, every designer was once a beginner. It's the ones who never stopped learning who made it to the top. So, keep that in mind as you start your journey into the world of graphic design. You're just at the beginning, and there's so much more to learn!

If you're looking to land a graphic design job with no experience, the workshop 'Getting Started and Taking Off as a Creative' by Adrian Valencia is an excellent resource. This workshop offers valuable insights and practical tips on how to break into the creative industry, build a strong portfolio, and ultimately land your dream graphic design job.