Norwich has a diverse and growing creative sector. Bobby Burrage, executive creative director of The Click Design Consultants, talks to Jobs24 about what it is like to be a graphic designer.

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Factfile: graphic designer

Training

Most professionals have a degree in graphic design or another art based subject. You will also need a working knowledge of computer design software and an up to date portfolio to show potential employers.

Competition for jobs is strong and not all jobs are advertised. Networking is crucial and unpaid work experience will give you the chance to develop your portfolio as well as making contacts.

Timescale

A BA (Hons) degree programme will take three years to complete

Local training

• Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA) http://www.nuca.ac.uk/

Offer a three-year BA (Hons) in graphic design and a two-year year foundation degree. They also offer the same awards in graphic communication, a wide range of other arts based degree programmes, an MA in communication design and bespoke professional development courses.

• City College Norwich 01603 773773/ www.ccn.ac.uk

Offer the BTEC Extended Diploma in graphic design

• College of West Anglia 01553 761144/ www.cwa.ac.uk

Offer the BTEC Extended Diploma in graphic design

• Norwich Arts Centre 01603 660352/ norwichartscentre.co.uk/education

Offer introductory courses in Photoshop and Illustrator

For further information check

• Creative Choices www.creative-choices.co.uk

Information on career choices in the creative and cultural industries

• British Design Innovation www.britishdesigninnovation.org

• Chartered Society of Designers www.csd.org.uk

• D&AD http://www.dandad.org/

Salary range

Salaries can start at around £15,000 per year and can rise to £50,000 per year for senior roles or creative directors.

Why is it a good profession to get into?

Graphic design is an exciting and fantastically rewarding profession. It is an amazing opportunity to be creative every single day.

On graduating from Norwich School of Art and Design (now NUCA), I was fortunate enough to land a job at a leading brand agency in London, working with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. I remember the first time I saw my work splashed across an enormous billboard. You can’t help but get a buzz from seeing your work, once a scribble on a sketchpad, produced for the world to see.

What does the work involve?

Above all else, a graphic designer must be able to communicate. This starts with your ability to work as part of a team, explaining and sharing ideas. You have to be able to communicate with clients, be it directly or via an account manager. Finally, you need to be able to help the client communicate with their customers. This is the bit you get paid for.

Your role will differ from one agency to another and, of course, relate to your career experience. For example, a junior designer will generally have less contact with clients than a creative director.

What are the positives/negatives of this profession?

Being a graphic designer brings with it diverse and interesting clients, each with a distinct audience to communicate with. To be able to satisfy the client, you must learn about their business, and it’s this part of the process I have found most stimulating.

Unfortunately, clients do not always agree or trust you to know best, and your initial idea may be distorted to suit the client. This is something that can be overcome with several years of experience, a portfolio of great work and a proven track record. Even then, proving the value of your expertise to a prospective client can be a challenging task.

Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?

Norwich has a diverse and growing creative sector. Demand for graphic designers is moderate and there tend to be fewer positions available at top agencies. The beauty of a career in design is that you and your skills can travel the world.

What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?

Creativity, enthusiasm and desire are essential in this industry. Competition for jobs is high and we receive hundreds of applications from designers looking for work. That said, standing out from the crowd is difficult but not impossible.

My tip would be to start as you mean to go on and make your first impression something to remember. Designing your CV and portfolio is arguably the most important design project of your entire career!

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