So, you’ve graduated—you’re officially a graphic designer. You’ve learnt the software, mastered meeting briefs and deadlines and have a beautiful portfolio to prove it. Now what? It’s time to go forth with fanfare. If you’re a fresh graduate or novice designer, you can’t assume jobs and clients will find you. You need to get ready and get social.
It’s important to make yourself Google-able.
Do your research to figure out the best online platforms to show off your work and connect with industry. You don’t have to do it all! It’s best to select a few channels to master—sharing and interacting on a consistent basis. And remember, whichever social media channels you choose, make sure they’re clearly linked from your website.
Read on for more specific tips for Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and portfolio websites.
Instagram Tips for Graphic Designers
Good for: showcasing your work/process, finding/documenting creative inspiration, stalking your competition/future employers, low-pressure interacting with the industry
Remember: Make your photos nice and crisp at 1080x1080px. Interact with designers who inspire you—commenting and replying to Instagram stories is a great way to casually connect with industry and get on their radar. Use hashtags (2-4 max) to reach a wider audience. Make sure your profile has a clear description and link to your website. Consider your grid layout and strategy—that’s the “first glance” impression people will see.
Teacher tip: “Be consistent. Don’t share personal photos on your work Instagram. Make a separate account for pictures of your brunch.” —Spencer, Shillington Teacher
Behance, Dribbble, The Loop, The Dots and Other Portfolio Platforms for Graphic Designers
Good for: showcasing your work/process, finding creative inspiration, stalking the competition/potential employers
Remember: These portfolio platforms are perfect to show more than just the perfect outcome. Document and share the creative process behind the picture-perfect portfolio piece.
Teacher tip: “Post regularly, ‘appreciate’ projects you like and let the designer know why.” —Saxon, Shillington Teacher
Twitter Tips for Graphic Designers
Good for: interacting with industry, finding networking opportunities, design debates, industry news and job alerts
Remember: Tag who/what you’re tweeting about—it’s the only way you people will discover your tweet, and it only takes a bit of Googling to find the handles and/or designated hashtags. Sharing an image with your tweet will give it more “real estate” in the feed.
Teacher tip: “If you’re talking about yourself, make sure you balance that with your interaction with others. A like or a retweet doesn’t cost you anything, and it’s good to support your cyber-friends and design idols who are only a click away!” —Ed, Shillington Teacher
Pinterest Tips for Graphic Designers
Good for: showcasing your work/process, finding/documenting inspiration, creating mood boards
Remember: If Pinterest is the only place you search for design inspiration, it’ll show! Avoid relying on it for 100% of your research.
Teacher tip: “Make your work easily pin-a-ble. Curate the mock-ups and photography of your project into a long jpeg. Add a footer to this jpeg with your details so that potential clients can track you down. Don’t forget to tag categories in your pin description to make your work more discoverable.” —Shanti, Shillington Teacher
LinkedIn Tips for Graphic Designers
Good for: researching/connecting with industry, job hunting, joining the Shillington alumni directory by linking in your education section
Remember: Keep your profile updated! Even though LinkedIn isn’t too “designer-y”, don’t underestimate its power to connect you with potential clients and be a platform for potential clients to research you.
Teacher tip: “To connect with potential clients on LinkedIn, you can make presentation decks of your work through Slideshare and integrate it into your profile.” —Amy, Shillington Teacher
Facebook Tips for Graphic Designers
Good for: finding creative inspiration/resources, watching videos and networking/pitching new clients
Remember: When looking for freelance work, your own network can be a great jumping-off point. Be sure to list that you’re a designer in your profile, share your website link, mention design-related things you’re up to, and you’d be surprised how many friends and friends-of-friends can open up new work opportunities.
Teacher tip: “I don’t have a professional Facebook page, but my personal Facebook has gotten me work! Friends realise I’m a designer and connect me with clients. It’s just digital word of mouth.” —Olivia, Shillington Teacher
Step Into the Real World
And finally, you know what they say: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, we’d argue both are equally important, but getting in the right circles has the potential to foster great opportunities for you and your design career. At a certain point, you need to get offline and hustle to make face-to-face connections.
Remember—there’s a lot going on away from your screen!
Do some research and find the regular design meet-ups in your city (e.g. CreativeMornings, TDK Tuesdays, Glug Talks, and many more) and mark your calendar for annual creative conferences and one off-events. There’s a whole design world out there to explore!
Our Shillington team is wishing you the best of luck. Let us know if you have any extra suggestions we should add to this list.