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Graphic Design/Logo designing as a career

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Question
Hi Saul,

My questions aren't technical at all, but, I hope you will answer them all the same.

I will graduate in Biotechnology this June and for the last 3 months I have tinkered around with Illustrator in my free time, learning from Youtube videos and WWW. I managed to sell a logo on StockLogos and won a competition on 99Logos to sell another (and came close a number of times).

My questions are:

1) Should I go for an MA or a short course in graphics design if I want to make this my career? Will I even be eligible for an MA, considering my different course roots?

2) Will a good portfolio get me through even if I don't have a degree in design?

3) If I am to build a portfolio containing only the designs I sold off in competitions/WWW, is it as good as a traditional portfolio containing past designs for particular brands?

Thank you for your time and efforts!

Answer
Why would anyone want to try to be a logo designer when they have a degree in biotechnology, which sounds like it would be the next big up and coming industry?

It may be different where you live, but I couldn't make a living on just designing logos. there just isn't enough money in it to make it a full time job.  But if you are set on being just a logo designer, I would probably take some courses in Illustrator and typography. Be advised that most graphic designers look down on the crowdsourced competitions and won't even participate because you are basically designing something for free in hopes of winning a contest. That's like taking a job for free and if they like you, you might get paid. Maybe.

Sorry to be so negative, but I have been a graphic designer for 30 years and although I love what I do, you need to get a lot of work to make a decent living, at least in the U.S.

That being said, you don't need a degree in design. It's all about your portfolio. That's all people look at. And a winning personality. You can present your design from the competitions, but you should enhance them with additional samples as well.

Good luck,
Saul

Graphic Design

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Saul Fineman

Expertise

As a freelance graphic designer/marketing consultant for over 25 years, I have extensive experience in branding, marketing, and the conceptualization and production of all types of printed materials. This would include everything from logo design, packaging, ads, collateral, exhibit booth design, and much more. I also work on web site design conceptualization (but not the technical implementation). I have been an avid user of all things Mac since 1985 and work with programs such as Photoshop, QuarkXPress, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, etc...

Experience

In the mid 1980's through the early 90's, I worked in the field of advertising, marketing, and graphic design as president of an advertising/graphic design boutique with 13 employees. For the past 17 years, I have been freelancing from my home and have a consortium of experts that I work with in a "virtual" advertising agency. I am basically the creative director within this agency which includes copy writers, marketing experts, photographers, web designers and coders, as well as videographers, musicians and recording engineers.

Organizations
guru.com, LinkedIn, Southern California Masonic Lodge No. 529, Lecturer-USC Annenberg School of Communications, El Segundo Chamber of Commerce

Publications
LinkedIn.com

Education/Credentials
BFA, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA 1978

Awards and Honors
2007 and 2008 Pollie Award-Gold Award for Direct Mail-American Association of Political Consultants, twice awarded designer of the month at guru.com

Past/Present Clients
MGM, 20th Century Fox, Democratic National Committee, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Hanjin Shipping, Leiner Pharmaceuticals, Ritter Natural Sciences, Los Angeles Public Library System, Full Circle Opera Project, Dead On Tools, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

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