Design & Graphics Expert, Illustrator
Does your teacher ever catch you doodling in your notebook instead of working out the math problems that are on the whiteboard? Have friends and family told you in the past that you’re an excellent drawer or artist? If so, then maybe you should consider a paid internship working for a local graphic design company in your area.
There is an abundance of work to get done on a daily basis down at the local graphic design studio or print shop. These environments are fast-paced, meaning that you’ll be busy all day long working with customers while taking orders, delivering their products, and keeping all of the machines running. Don’t be surprised if you go all day without ever getting a chance to sit down.
An entry-level position at a graphic design shop is the perfect way for you to make a little bit of money while gaining a wealth of knowledge that you can’t put a price on. Working in a print shop will give you the opportunity to check out some of the latest graphic design software, learn how to run large printing presses and photocopy machines, and pick up on the basics of making a graphic design studio work.
Getting your foot in the door at a graphic design studio is a great way to make use of your talents, too. Odds are any entry-level position is going to require you to perform very basic functions around the shop before you’re allowed to handle designing a logo for a multi-million dollar account, but showing your boss that you’re dedicated to the business will keep you on his mind the next time he’s looking for design ideas from anyone working in-house.
You’ll also learn to sell products and services to customers, which can land you even better pay if you can convince your boss to pay you sales commissions. Common graphic design needs from customers include making business cards, sales flyers, brochures, pamphlets, company logos, labels, signs… the list goes on forever. If it involves a company trying to conduct business in the real world, then that business is going to have plenty of graphic design needs to make sure that their company is seen.
So do you think you’ve got what it takes to work for a graphic design studio or print shop? You’ll be on your feet all day, juggling responsibilities like providing outstanding customer service while making sure that the printers don’t run out of toner and paper, but if you stick with it then the possibilities are endless. Getting in good with your boss as well as fellow employees will open up the doors to the exciting world of graphic design, and may just land you a full-time designing gig in the near future.
Job Summary: Graphic design
- Suitable for age range: 16+ years old.
- Safety and security: Safety risks include working with machines that have many moving parts, electrical shock risks, and working with potential corrosive chemicals while in the studio or print shop.
- Can improve your: Multi-tasking, social skills, and ability to solve problems.
- Can continue as a career? Getting started with a graphic design studio or print shop is a great entry-level position that can lead to a fun and exciting career.
- Required soft skills: Ability to work with the general public, speak clearly, answer phones and perform basic tasks.
- Required hard skills: Ability to meet deadlines, to handle large printing machines, copiers, and scanners. May also be required to work a cash register and maintain a driver’s license (many print shops offer product deliveries).
- Resources and network:
o WikiHow – How to become a graphic designer
o About.com – Finding entry-level work in graphic design
o GraphicDesignDegreeHub – Top 20 Best Affordable Graphic Design Degrees
- Where & how to find one? Searching online for job postings, checking websites like Monster, indeed, and Craigslist for businesses that may be looking for entry-level help is a good start, but the best way to land a drop with a shop or studio is by stopping in and talking to the owner or manager. These are usually small, family-oriented businesses that employ just a few tight-knit people, so getting in good with them is a must.
- Estimated pay: $8 to $12 an hour, and rising. That’s because once you get a good feel for how the operation runs, you’ll become a valuable asset to the company. Try to get other employees to help you learn how to operate different design programs in your downtime. The knowledge you acquire will last a lifetime.