11 signs you should become a graphic designer

in Tips / Career

Some people are destined to be designers. They have a knack for aesthetics, notice the finer details and love to learn new things. These people just move through the world differently. At Shillington, our students—most without any previous design training—recognise their eye for design and decide to turn their passion into a career.

Should you become a graphic designer? The following 11 signs will reveal whether you should become a graphic designer—echoed by stories from our own teachers at Shillington:

1. You buy things just for the packaging

Does the bottle of wine with the most unique label always find its way into your shopping basket? Have you found yourself admiring the takeout bag your food came in while scarfing down lunch? If so, you have a serious appreciation for packaging design and know what it takes to stand out on the shelf.

Shillington New York's Holly Karlsson can relate: "While working my first job at a grocery store, I requested to work in the wine and spirits department just so I could appreciate all the beautiful packaging!"

2. You recognise fonts have different personalities

You know font choice matters. With so many different typefaces available, it's essential to find the right typeface pairings to complement the design. Designers can quickly tell what works and what doesn't, so if Comic Sans and Papyrus make you cringe – you're well on your way to becoming a designer!

Shillington London's Corrie Anderson loves typography too: "At school I would spend so much more time drawing out the headings on my homework, or choosing a typeface, or even choosing what paper it was on rather than writing out the actual work. Oops."

3. You know the difference between maroon and marsala

Who knew there were so many colours in the rainbow? You! Do you know what the latest colour trends are? Are your bookshelves coordinated by colour? Colour choice is a big part of design, and it takes a keen eye to perfect. Simply seeing the spectrum is a powerful place to start.

Shillington Manchester's Laura Weldon understands: "I nearly had a breakdown while choosing a paint colour for my living room. My husband couldn't believe there were so many options for 'off-white'."

4. You spend hours on Pinterest and Instagram

We all know how addictive social media can be. Designers love creating mood boards because visual research can inspire and spark creativity in unpredictable ways. You should definitely consider becoming a graphic designer if you find yourself lusting over stationery on Pinterest or in a deep spiral of #typography tags on Instagram.

Shillington Brisbane's Shanti Sparrow knows the joy of Pinterest. Check out her epic collection of design boards.

5. You download apps just to check out the design

As our everyday life catapults into the innovative future, designers play a big role in creating well-designed digital products. If your phone is full of apps you hardly use but can't bear to delete—you have a head start in understanding the world of UX aka User Experience design.

Shillington Melbourne's John Fry knows how you feel: "I have stacks of weather apps on my phone, not because I'm particularly interested in the weather, but just to check out the interface design."

6. You care about aesthetics in everyday life

Are the cushions on your sofa organised by size or colour? Are your picture frames perfectly aligned? If so, you understand the importance of visual clarity. Balance, Repetition, Contrast, Alignment, Hierarchy. The five design principles that create the foundation of design education are already forming in your brain.

Shillington Sydney's Jason Cooper knows your obsession: "When I'm plating up dinner, I'm always looking at the aesthetic quality and perfecting the colour, balance, etc. The design principles are always at work!"

7. You understand the power of branding

Branding is more than just a logo—it's the spirit and idea behind a product or service that consumers connect with. Successful brands create an instant reaction. If you recognise and understand brand loyalty, your inner designer is well at work.

Shillington New York's Enza Lettieri gets it: "I know branding plays a big part in my everyday life. It's all about the tiny details—I love that fragrant smell when I enter a T2 store. The brand puts effort into the whole customer experience."

8. You have a knack for craft and handmade

Do you like to get your hands dirty? Do you enjoy the process of crafting as much as the end product? You're a creative at heart if you spend your weekend undertaking home DIY projects, or even unwinding with an adult colouring book.

Shillington London's Alyson Pearson loves to get crafty too: "Rather than buying birthday cards, I make them."

9. You know design is more than meets the eye

You see what others don't, and love wowing friends with the hidden meaning in popular logos. Your favourite party trick? Uncovering the the secret arrow in the FedEx logo, pointing out the bear in Toblerone, or identifying the a --> z in Amazon.

Shillington Sydney's Sara Mazzoni knows what you're talking about: "My jaw dropped when I realised that the Roxy logo was an extension of the Rip Curl logo!"

10. You collect designs that inspire

If you save your favourite cards and invitations, have a bowl filled with cool old matchbooks, or can't bear to throw out an empty but beautiful perfume bottle ... signs are you're a creative! Designers love to collect examples that inspire because when something works, it works.

Shillington London's Ali Neilly is a fan of collecting too: "I'm a serial collector. I once acquired an elderly woman's stamp collection from a charity shop and since then have continued to add to it as they're the perfect addition to a moodboard with their unique patterns and colours."

11. You love to learn

Have you ever watched a YouTube tutorial to help you perfect a new skill? Our field is ever-evolving, and as designers there's always more to learn! At Shillington, we know that our creative journey is a life-long one, which is why we're always finding ways to stay ahead of the curve.

Shillington New York's Stephanie Munoz has always been a self-educator: "In high school I would stay up until 5:00 am watching endless Photoshop tutorials through our free school Lynda account."


If you're nodding along to this list, maybe you should become a designer! Kickstart your creative career in just three months full-time or nine months part-time at Shillington – www.shillingtoneducation.com.

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