Pickens Technical College’s Multimedia Graphic Design pathway offers students the chance to build a career out of their artistic ambitions. The course focuses on developing the design skills and competencies that will make you a must-hire and valuable addition to any business or organization that needs graphic design help. You’ll also learn how to market yourself as a freelancer and sell your skills to all kinds of clients.
This emphasis on business and creating designs that help sell products, services, and social causes is of course very useful to a young graphic designer, but when you ‘go pro’ as a designer, you can’t forget about the community around you.
Many creative professionals stay away from nonprofit and community organizations because they don’t want to work for free. But there are advantages to doing graphic design work and getting involved in these types of organizations other than money.
First, especially if you’re just starting out, you need a vibrant and multi-faceted portfolio. As your career evolves and you find yourself doing similar work for similar clients, you can carve out a niche for yourself and specialize. Or, if you’re on the staff of a company as a graphic designer, you can show some extra skill and improve the brand of your employer. Working with community organizations is a great way to build your skills, develop some new and different projects you can later show others, and prove yourself in situations or work you’re not used to, particularly if you fall in with a cause or organization you’re passionate about. Passion breeds good work.
Next, working in the community builds relationships that might help you out later in your career. Forming relationships with people you wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to meet can be the lifeblood of any freelancer’s career. Not only do the people you might meet working pro bono or volunteering have future opportunities for you, but they might also know others and spread the word of your good deeds and work, creating an opportunity to make more connections.
The Kelly Café in Colorado City, Texas
Yes, it’s hundreds of miles away, but Colorado City, Texas has a great example of how businesses and young workers just starting out can come together to do good. Colorado City is near Abilene, Texas (not the town in Arizona known for polygamists). It’s home to the Kelly Café, an American-style diner set up in an old school cafeteria. The key to the success of this place hasn’t been the American food it kicks out of the kitchen, it’s the sense of community owner Brenda Hammond has fostered.
Hammond says that the restaurant had served as a meeting place for all kinds of community clubs and organizations, and recently, businesses have set up offices in some of the old school’s classrooms, offering graphic design and other services.
The fact that local businesses and organizations have taken advantage of this unique public meeting space shows the importance that many of these business leaders place in working with the community and reaching out. Look for opportunities to help people with their graphic design work, and watch your connections and future opportunities expand.