How to Become a Graphic Designer Without a Degree

In today’s job market, many professions require a degree. However, the graphic design industry is one where you can get hired without a degree. There are plenty of graphic designers out there whose portfolios never saw the inside of a classroom. Here are some tips on how to become a graphic designer without a degree to take you from beginner to designer in no time.

Learn from Your Peers

The best way to learn design is by watching and listening to people who know more than you do. Having a degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have better insight or judgment when designing decisions, so listen up when your coworkers give their opinions on how things should look.

See if they have any good arguments for why one piece of text should go here and not there, why this color scheme is better than another color scheme, etc. An experienced designer whose talent far outweighs your own can be a great teacher if you ask them to teach you what they know.

Be Positive, Hard Working, and Studious

No matter how passionate or talented you are, people won’t hire you for the job if they don’t think that you’re reliable, hard-working, and willing to learn. Therefore, you will want to lead with your best qualities in interviews but also be ready to work when required, because nobody likes an amateur with a bad attitude about doing things “the real way.”

Build Your Portfolio

If you’ve never had any design education at all, then having a top-notch portfolio is far more critical than it would have been for someone who has 100% self-taught themselves in graphic design.

This means that you will need to spend as much time building a solid body of work as possible. While it’s not necessary to have a degree if you’re going into graphic design, it is critical for showcasing your talent and skills in the best light possible.

Use Online Resources

One of the most accessible ways to learn how to become a graphic designer without a degree is to use online resources. The internet is the best resource out there for teaching yourself everything from web development to markdown coding.

Numerous online courses are available that can teach you how environment markdown works, which tools you should use to make certain kinds of websites or apps, or even how to program from scratch using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, etc. Take advantage of these free resources whenever you can, and they’ll keep your portfolio fresh with new ideas and designs.

Learn from the Best

Though it’s not necessary to have a degree in graphic design, there are still plenty of books and tutorials you can read to learn more about certain kinds of work. One way to do this is by observing what the best designers out there are doing.

Watch your favorite websites, apps, and YouTube channels to see how they’re designed, and ask yourself why you like them so much. The better you understand why some things look better than others, the more likely it is that those elements will find their way into your designs as time goes on, thus making them stronger as well.

Know the Major Design Software Tools

Though you don’t necessarily need a degree to become a graphic designer, you will still need to learn how to use the major design software tools such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. You can do this by watching tutorials and videos online for free or, if you prefer a more structured learning environment, paid courses are available, too.

Once you know how to use these programs, your design will probably improve ten-fold because having the software tools is one part of the equation, whereas knowing what to do with them is another thing altogether.

If you need a budget friendly equipment for  graphic design, check out our guides on the Best Laptops for Photoshop under $500 and Best Monitor for Graphic Design.

Keep Learning

The best way to become a graphic designer is to never stop learning. This doesn’t mean that you have to take formal classes or go to school. Instead, you can learn by reading design blogs, subscribing to newsletters, or signing up for online courses. The main thing is that you keep educating yourself as much as possible and watch your skills improve.

If you do this, then you’ll be far more likely to take an idea that catches your eye and run with it until it’s something amazing people can’t help but notice. Stay inspired by seeking out new work every day, ask questions if need be, and don’t look back. You will always have more to learn, but what separates the best from the rest is their drive to improve their craft continuously. Keep learning, keep designing, and never stop perfecting your work.

Choose a Specialty

One way to quickly improve your graphic design skills is by taking a specialty and making it yours. For example, if you focus on mobile apps, applying the knowledge you gain from your courses or online readings to designing mobile apps will increase your skill level immensely within that area relative to what others are capable of.

This doesn’t mean you have to stick with just one area, though. If your work catches on, other companies could be knocking down your door for designs to release their products before everyone else does.

If this happens, take advantage of the opportunity, even if it means working much longer hours than usual. You can use these opportunities as stepping stones towards building even more experience, making you more attractive to other potential clients. No matter what, keep learning and designing while having fun with it all.


There are many ways that you can become a graphic designer without actually needing to go through the formal education that one usually thinks of when they hear those words. Instead, if you want to know how to become a graphic designer without a degree, you can use the tools and resources at your disposal to learn as much as possible and put those skills into practice until they’re perfect.

As long as you never stop learning, keep pushing yourself to improve your work, and don’t shy away from tackling new challenges, then there’s no doubt that graphic design can be a great opportunity for you. If you do these things, then it’s just a matter of time before people start noticing your work, offering you more work than you could possibly handle.

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