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What does a day in the life of a graphic designer-originator entail?
My work entails using electronic page layout and graphic computer software and encompasses creating and designing a variety of products printed on paper - from inception to proofing.
It ranges from ad campaigns, school yearbooks, holiday brochures, magazines, business cards, creating corporate identities, logos, boxes, corporate stationery, annual reports, CD covers, and corporate calendars.
An average day can entail creative meetings and brain storming, photo editing and colour correcting, selecting stock photos, page layout, design, typing, scanning, digital imaging, assisting clients to ensure their artwork is print-ready, and proofing.
My work day is unpredictable and deadline-driven.
What career opportunities exist for a graphic designer?
Career prospects in the origination sector are available in several industries - traditional lithographic printing and publishing, advertising agencies, graphic design and web design to name but a few.
Why did you decide on this career?
I have worked in a family-owned business gaining valuable skills and training, motivated by the knowledge that I could choose whatever career I aspired to after I qualified in the trade.
Further motivation is the fact that the certification is internationally recognised, making future opportunities abroad a feasible prospect.
What's most challenging about this career?
Clients always expect fast turn-around times. Being "creative in a hurry" is one major challenge and keeps me on my toes. Meeting and exceeding client expectations with regard to high levels of service and quality is another huge challenge.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
When I'm inspired, my brain sometimes outpaces my hands. No two days are the same. What I love is that most of my clients have the confidence to allow me total freedom with originating their artwork. Their evident satisfaction on the completed assignments makes my job worth it.
What type of person will make it in the print industry?
Creative people with "learn-ability". Endurance, drive, positive human relations, team playing, a knack for problem solving, technical savvy and a zest for competitiveness are also key characteristics.
What subjects do you need to pass at school?
A good command of English is mandatory to facilitate proofreading and communication with people you interact with on a daily basis. Mathematics would also be advantageous.
Matric exemption is compulsory for university acceptance.
What does one need to study at tertiary level to be able to get into this career?
The originator requires formal graphic communications training in various types of computer software used in pre-press digital imaging.
There are a variety of programmes available in this field, including two-year associate degree programmes offered by community and junior colleges and technical schools, and four-year bachelor's degree syllabus offered by universities.
These programmes will teach you the latest in pre-press technology and skills through practice and application. You will also gain an understanding of how printing plants operate and become familiar with the basic pre-press functions.
One could also do research, take courses and study tutorials available on the market. Strive to be inspired . The sky is the limit but the key is to keep abreast of technological advancements.
What is the starting salary?
Apprenticeship does not concede a high median salary and averages about R30000 a year. An accomplished and skilled originator can earn as much as R400000 a year.
What growth prospects are there for this career?
Within a company there are levels of career progression. Considering demand for graphics, I want to own a design agency.