How to become a… Graphic Designer

Next up, as part of our “how to become a” series, we are going to share with you how to get ahead and continue your journey in the creative profession to become a graphic designer.

If you’re eager to learn what the progression from junior to middleweight entails and how to really stay on top of your game, here you can find some knowledgeable insight from Nick Sztymiak, Global Graphic Designer at PADI.

Nick started his graphic design career as a freelance illustrator, 8 years later, he is now a fundamental part of the creative team at PADI. He works closely with and supports the creative director to undertake innovative projects in order to meet and exceed client expectations. Other responsibilities include leading on campaign creative, designing and creating exhibition graphics, web/email graphics and managing outsourced design tasks.

So, Nick, what 5 pieces of advice can you share that could help those who are keen to take a leap into a midweight design role, what path did you take to get you to where you are today as a creative professional?

Nick says:

Keep things simple

When starting out it was all too easy to get carried away and overwork design jobs. I learnt fairly early on that the strongest design jobs are often simpler designs.

Create a standout portfolio

Try and get as much experience in different areas of graphic design as possible. Most design jobs don’t just want someone that can design a poster; they want someone that can work across a range of formats and channels. A broad portfolio will show that you are capable of learning new things and demonstrate a good level of competence.

Manage your time

The role of a middleweight designer is often fast-paced with jobs flying in from all directions. If the company you are working for doesn’t have a project management system in place it is best to familiarise yourself with one that you could use. It is invaluable for keeping track of jobs and means you can communicate with your colleagues more effectively.


Explore the design scene and other art forms – you never know what will influence or inspire your next design job. It will also keep you up to date on the latest design trends, something that a lot of employers look for in a portfolio.

Build good relationships

Communication is an essential skill, not only with your own team but also with external businesses. Build up a good relationship with your printer, the first stage of any job is the design work and the second part is ensuring the printer meets your expectations.

Thank you for sharing, Nick!

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