Other designers' life stories (especially when told with the benefit of hindsight and some judicious biographical editing) often seem to suggest this is how things work. And we all want to emulate our design heroes and see our names and images appear in bookshelves and blogs like theirs.
Truth is, though, that life has a habit of not following neat narratives, and what worked for one person doesn't always work for another. However, that doesn't mean there aren't broad lessons to be learned. Some pieces of advice will almost always come in handy - whether you're a design student, recent graduate or simply starting out to get into the field.
In this article, I'll look at some common ways to turn your dream of a successful career in graphic design into reality. These aren't mutally exclusive: quite the opposite, in fact. Pursue as many of these avenues as possible, with vigour, passion and determination, and you stand a far greater chance of getting to where you want to be.
01. Join design organisations and/or volunteer to their eventsGetting involved in a respected design organisation like AIGA can really help to open doors
Take advantage of the discounts you get while still a student to join design organisations such as AIGA. The benefits of interacting with like-minded people and networking are extremely valuable. Participating in design organisations will provide a rich understanding of the field, who's who in our industry, and give you the chance to speak to inspiring people.
The opportunities for learning and growth are tremendous. It's important to soak up all the possible knowledge and advice on offer; to get noticed and respected by colleagues.