6 Newbie Graphic Designer Mistakes to Avoid

written by Georgia Schumacher 8 April 2015

Like any skilled profession, graphic design has a learning curve that can result in several common beginners’ mistakes. These gaffes may range from how you approach your design to the relationships you form with your clients. Here are 6 of the top major mistakes prevalent among young graphic designers, and how to avoid them.

6 Newbie Graphic Designer Mistakes to Avoid

1. Messy Design Elements

New graphic designers often go above and beyond to please new clients and showcase their talents. However, left unchecked, this eagerness can lead to overdesign and even a bit of chaos. So keep your focus on implementing a simple and clean design, unless your client specifies otherwise.

2. Failing to Sign a Contract

Unfortunately, graphic designers don’t always protect themselves with client contracts. Be aware that, without a contract, unscrupulous clients could short you or take your work without proper compensation. Although you may think that asking a client for a more formal agreement involving a contract might scare them away, it’s important to get one signed anyway.

3. Stock Image Overuse

As a web designer, it’s tempting to use simple stock photos. Unfortunately, the best stock photos are already being used across the web, which can detract from the originality of your web design. If possible, include your own images. Take them yourself, if feasible, or, if your budget allows, partner with a photographer you know and trust. Let your client know that you’re putting extra time and effort to deliver them personalized images, and they'll notice the difference.

4. Stale Designs

As a graphic designer, you may have a great sense of aesthetics, but it's also important to stay on top of the latest trends to make sure you offer something fresh. Creating a design that stands out from the competition can be one of the single best ways to keep clients happy.

5. Not Understanding a Client’s Needs

Always check and double-check that you fully understand your client’s needs before producing a design. Build a roadmap of your graphic or web design plan and make sure your client is on board. This will help you please the client the first time around and help you avoid costly redesigns.

6. Not Knowing Your Limits

You may want to take on a lot of work, but it’s important to set deadlines you can meet and tackle projects that are within your skill set. Over time, your knowledge of graphic design will grow and you’ll be more comfortable tackling more complex projects. Until then, know your limits.

Conclusion

Remember, everyone makes mistakes. It's an unavoidable and essential part of learning something new, but you can always learn from the mistakes of those who come before you! To really up your design game, consider earning a degree in the area of Graphic & Web Design. Explore our programs today!

The Beginner’s Guide to Hospitality and Culinary Management Careers

written by Georgia Schumacher 24 March 2015

If you are a natural leader, enjoy helping others, and want to work in an energetic, upbeat environment, a career in hotel, culinary, or event management might be the perfect fit for your personality and skill set! Hospitality and culinary management careers can give you a chance to meet new people, travel extensively, and improve other people's lives.

Hotel photo

A degree or certificate program in the area of culinary or hospitality management can prepare you for a variety of jobs managing events, overseeing restaurants, or moving all the way up to managing a top-tier hotel. It all depends on what you want and what you’re willing to work toward! Here are three common career areas in which you may decide to take your future!

1. Hotel management

As one might expect, many hotel management graduates opt for careers in the hotel industry. As a hotel manager, you'll interact frequently with guests and employees and be responsible for ensuring that the hotel service, appearance, and revenue meets expectations. New graduates may start as management trainees, eventually moving into supervisory and management positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for lodging managers was $46,810 in 2012.

2. Culinary management

Culinary management is a fast-paced industry in which you will have a chance to work with employees and the public as you plan and manage a business in the culinary field. Your responsibilities can range from purchasing and cost control, to training and supervising workers, to overseeing quality standards in food preparation. According to the BLS, management occupations in restaurants and other eating places had a median annual salary of $58,640 in 2013.

3. Event management

Event managers are responsible for planning and creating successful events such as weddings, conventions, and trade shows. As an event manager, you should be ready to juggle multiple responsibilities! You'll set up schedules, approve event marketing strategies, supervise decorations, book entertainment acts, and finalize catering menus. The BLS estimates that jobs in this field will grow 33% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average 11% growth for all occupations.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we offer 4 programs in the field of Culinary Management, including the Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management and Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management. Our Certificate programs include Event Management and Food & Beverage Operations. Explore our programs, or request more information today!

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The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division does not guarantee employment or any particular level of compensation following graduation. See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

7 Tips for Getting Started in the Creative Arts

written by Georgia Schumacher 5 January 2015

ImageryThe New Year has officially arrived! There’s no better time to evaluate your current situation and set goals for the year ahead. If you’ve been dreaming about a career in the creative arts, make 2015 the year you turn your vision into a reality.

Use the following 7 tips to jumpstart your future in the creative arts this year.

1. Volunteer Your Time

Gain valuable experience and help out a great cause by volunteering your services to a charitable organization. Use the work you do for the charity to build your profile and establish a name for yourself. This is also a great way to make valuable connections that could help to advance your career.

2. Join Relevant Professional Associations

Many professional organizations offer discounted memberships to students, so this is your chance to start networking! Join as many relevant organizations as you can and attend their networking mixers, workshops, and other events to build your professional network.

3. Seek Internship Opportunities

An internship is a great way to gain on-the-job experience in your field. Some companies may pay you for your time, while others will not, but the chance to gain real-world experience that you can put on your resume is invaluable. Many companies even extend full-time job offers to interns that make a great impression! Current students can use our Career Resources to get started.

4. Find a Mentor

Is there a seasoned professional in your field that you really admire? If so, ask them to be your mentor. Meet with the person every opportunity you can learn more about becoming successful in the industry and gain useful insights on your work that can help to boost your career. Your mentor can also serve as a valuable connection during your job search.

5. Create a Robust Online Presence

Position yourself as an up-and-coming professional by maintaining a strong online presence. Create a personal website or online portfolio showcasing your work and your unique skillset. Make sure to include your contact information so it’s easy to get in touch with you. Use popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to market yourself and connect with other industry professionals. Students at any of The Art Institutes schools can use Behance to share their work – learn more here.

6. Tailor Applications to Fit Each Specific Job

Go the extra mile when applying for jobs or internships and customize your application to fit each specific position. Try to find the name of the hiring manager to personally address your cover letter, include the exact job title, and explain why your creative skills would be an asset to the organization.

7. Stay True to Yourself

It takes a lot of time and energy to build your personal brand, so don’t be afraid to turn down work that doesn’t align with your values. When you’re just starting out, it can be tempting to take on any project you can get your hands on, but that isn’t necessarily the best approach. It may take a little longer to build the right client base, but patience is a virtue when your professional reputation is at stake.

9 Interview Questions You Can’t Afford to Answer Incorrectly

written by Georgia Schumacher 10 December 2014

Answering questions

In studying the creative arts, you may not have thought much about formal interviews. However, if you want to earn a living creating and working in your field, you'll need to be just as prepared as you would for any other career.

Know what common questions to expect and how best to answer them so that your personality and talent shines through. With a bit of preparation, you can look like a superstar in any interview and find the right organization for your artistic career goals.

1. Tell us about yourself.

With this likely being the most common interview question, your answer isn't the time for a full recounting of your life history. Focus on your craft, as that’s what the interviewer is interested in learning about. Briefly explain how long you’ve been an artist and share any artistic achievements relevant to the position.

2. What do you know about us?

This question is checking to see how much you prepared for the interview. You aren't expected to know every detail about the company or organization, but a basic understanding is necessary.

3. Why do you want to work here?

Answering "because I need a job" isn't what the interviewer is looking for. This question often follows the previous question. Convey your genuine interest in the company and explain why you believe your artistic skills would be a great fit for the organization. Explain your excitement at the thought of putting your creative talents to work for a company you truly believe in.

4. What are your strengths?

The interviewer wants to know your work-related strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared to back up your strengths. If you call yourself a problem-solver, make sure you have an example in mind of a time you solved a important problem and how this impacted your project.

5. What are your weaknesses?

Be honest with your weaknesses, but also explain how you overcome them. If you explain that you're a perfectionist, explain how you don't let that keep you from meeting deadlines or performing your job.

6. Describe your creative process.

This behavioral interview question allows the interviewer to gain an understanding of your work style and to determine whether you would be a good fit for the company culture. Practice articulating your creative process so you can describe it in a brief, easy-to-understand manner. Remember, the company isn’t just interviewing you ─ you’re interviewing them to see if you would want to work there. Be honest about your true creative process, rather than saying what you think they want to hear, because you want a job where you have the freedom to express yourself.

7. What media or methodologies have you used or do you use?

You may be asked as a general question: What methodologies do you prefer to use? Or, you may be asked while looking at a piece from your portfolio: What medium did you use? Either way, keep your explanation simple and refrain from using technical jargon unless the person interviewing you is using it. This is often a way to assess your skills and understanding of specific techniques.

8. Describe your creative inspiration.

This is another commonly asked question that allows the interviewer to gain a deeper sense of your personal values, personality traits, and genuine passion for the job. You’ll make a great impression if you can explain with confidence exactly what inspires you to do your best work. However, if you appear stuck when trying to identify a solid reason you enjoy your craft, the interviewer may question your dedication.

9. What type of work have you done in the past?

An interviewer wants to know that you have the creative skills needed to produce top-quality work for the organization. For this line of work, it’s not enough to simply discuss your past achievements ─ you need to showcase your talents by bringing your portfolio along. If possible, include pieces in your portfolio that are relevant to the specific job, to prove you have what it takes to shine in the position.

Discover Career Opportunities in Interior Design

written by Georgia Schumacher 8 August 2014

Interior lighting choicesSo you're interested in crafting and selecting window treatments, lighting fixtures, materials, and room designs? You're in luck: if you pursue a career in interior design and are looking at interior design schools, you're headed for one of the most versatile career paths there is. When you pursue a career in the interior design field, you can choose from all sorts of specialties. What you choose will depend on your passion. Here are a few careers to consider.

Go green

Did you know that over 70% of consumers consider the environment when making a purchasing decision? That may be the reason that careers in sustainable and green interior design are taking off in a big way. As a green designer, you'll translate your appreciation for the Earth into a career, selecting fabrications from more sustainable materials and working with professionals who are passionate about green building techniques.

Stomach appeal

Love the kitchen? Maybe you should pursue a career as an interior designer specializing in kitchens. It is common knowledge that kitchens sell houses, and with interest in cooking and food higher than ever, everyone is looking for a kitchen that warms their heart, fills their bellies, and adds to their home. Why not specialize in this challenging but growing field?

Home away from home

Hospitality is big business—in fact, the global hotel industry is projected to rake in $550 billion by 2016. Hospitality projects are not only about designing gorgeous hotel rooms. Hotels and other tourist attractions need designers with sweeping, grandiose visions and a creative touch to turn common spaces, restaurants, and living spaces into areas worth visiting.

Center stage

As residential real estate recovers and first-time homebuyers prepare to enter the market, home staging is taking center stage in interior design. Buyers and sellers alike are looking for homes that are prepped for sale with attractive designs that play up a home's benefits and minimize its flaws. Best of all, as the market picks up, interior decorators looking to stage will find lots of opportunity and plenty of ways to flex their design muscle.

You decide

Whether your passion lies in commercial spaces, cozy homes, or anything in between, there's an interior design school and career for you. Follow your passion and you're sure to find a career that plays off your personal interests and takes advantage of your design education.