Salary guide for a Graphic Designer in 2019

Guide to Graphic Designer Salary 2019

Graphic designing is one of the rapidly growing professions that has penetrated its roots not only in the information technology and in sciences, but ensured its application in a massive list of industries.  

However, the designers have lucrative jobs and highest salaries, but those are not meant for all. Various factors define the salary range of an individual or a group of people with a specific skill set. A common perception of a graphic designer is that they are confined to the animations and games industry, but, in fact, they have an expanded utilization of their skills.

In this post, I am sharing some of the prerequisites of becoming an in-demand graphic designing, the career prospects, and the salary you may expect to withdraw. Keeping reading for a quick review of the different aspects you may come across soon in your career.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Graphic Designer

Getting a certificate or higher national diploma may not be as necessary for a graphic designer as it is for a doctor, accountant, fitness trainer, or business consultant. It is the field that tests your aesthetics, subject matter understanding, and skills. However, you may learn the basics of graduation or online courses.

Artistic Sense

Graphic designing demands a sense of love, affection, and deep understanding of art. Designs, done for a website, mobile application, or social media marketing; appears on the front.

It represents the business or its idea to the people at large, so it has to include the aesthetics of appealing, intriguing, and captivating users. An artist may never find it difficult in crafting and sketching ideas on a paper or screen.

Analytical and Sharp Mind

A designer may require analyzing his or her production with the perception of the end user or a client. If an image, post, banner, or logo is not worthy of pursuing further if it does not seem to be the right fit at first glance. Their sharp mindedness can also help them easily understand the scope and requirements of the design they intend to create for a certain cause or purpose.

Flawless Communication

In addition to verbal and written communication, the designers are also evaluated on how they can convey a message through creative images, shapes, icons, and other designs. Graphic designing is more concerned with the visual context so that a user or potential buyer gets the message before reading the actual text.

Usage of expert design tools

This is something obvious that a designer will have to get expertise in the software, applications, and online tools that may aid him in producing exemplary designs. They must acquire hands-on experience using applications such as Photoshop, ProofHub, Canva, DesignBold, Illustrator, Marvel, Sketch 3, and Pixelmator.

Time and Project Management

Working on multiple projects is a norm for any graphic designer that may demand timekeeping and tracking the progress of each project. Like any other project in the IT industry, designs do have deadlines and has to be prepared in urgency as well. So professionals are required to be the project managers.

What are the Available Career Options for Graphic Designers?

There are endless opportunities for any graphic designer to explore. It all depends on their interest, knowledge, and skills. Following are some of the career prospects in considerations.

Web Designer

A web designer job is among the highest paid gigs because they have a significant role in planning and developing an entire website. The job may demand a designer to create graphics, pages, layout, and suggest and implement design changes for improving the user experience.

Specifically, there is a surge in eCommerce web design as more and more online stores are entering the web to have a fair share of profit and make their business a success. For the web stores, the web design and development proves to be foundation stones as it has to potential to erect their venture from scratch and skyrocket it in prominent search engines.   

Creative Director

A creative director is not an entry-level job as it is a position to manage an entire team of creative minds such as photographers, artists, graphic designs, copywriters, and video editors. Creative directors usually oversee activities of the artwork produced for the billboard, magazines, television, and the web.

Photo Editor

The job title of photo editor may seem to be quite a basic one, but has a significant demand these days with the increasing number of online stores and the need to refine product images. The product photographers may use a high-resolution camera to extract real-like images of the products, but a photo editor makes it worth publishing and presentable with his or her sharp editing skills.

Architecture & Engineering Drafter

Quite an interesting and fascinating job option for a designer lies in the architecture and construction industry. Planning a completely new home, office, building, or a multi-story commercial hub all may demand drafting for the start with a versatile approach.

Other countless job opportunities may include:

  • Art Director
  • Video & Film Editor
  • Flash Designer
  • UX designer
  • Product Designer
  • Gaming and Animation/Animator

How much a graphic designer should expect to earn?

The way a salary package of a professional depends on various factors, the remuneration of a graphic designer also relies on multiple factors such as experience, city or state, and industry-specific expertise.

Experience and Portfolio

The experience and portfolio of a graphic designer play a major role in defining his or her salary range. The beginners or starters are surely paid the least, whereas it increases as soon as they get exposure and work for renowned brands and companies. According to average salary limits,

PayScale repots an average salary of a designer to be $43,251 per annum in the USA, in general, whereas the salary range differs in cities and states with prosperous economies. The salary range starts with as low as $31,069 and escalates to $61,473, whereas bonuses and commissions are awarded accordingly.

The PayScale further describes the starting salary of an entry level designer to be around $30,218, which increases to $34,015 and $35,549 for a mid-level and senior resource respectively.

City and State of work

The city or state where you live matters the most when it comes to salary limits. It is the economic differences that affect the salary of professionals like graphic designers and others. These are calculated in line with inflation and gross domestic product.

Designers may not base the selection of a city or state based on slight salary differences, because a city providing lucrative jobs does have an expensive lifestyle.

For example, if you search for an average salary of a graphic designer on Glassdoor, you will get a figure around $67,198 per year in San Francisco that is about 33% above the average national salary. On the other hand, the website reports as low as $46,209 a year salary for the same job in Houston, which is even below the national average.

I have searched for different cities and came up with a conclusion that their lies slightest differences between cities, whereas a huge salary gap if compared to towns or small cities.


To most of the creatives and artists, a slight difference in different positions and roles may not matter, as they are inclined to produce the best they can. The thing they really care about is meeting the expenses and saving enough in a retirement plan.

It is obvious that the salary in every profession increases with the passage of time, experience, and expertise. However, moving to a big metropolitan in pursuit of higher salaries may not always be a viable solution.

Conversely, the graphic designers shall work on their skills and refine it enough to master a specific trade that no one else in the niche possesses, and, that’s where you get a competitive edge in asking for a higher salary or a significant raise.

Expanding Your Brand Presence

5 Ways to Further Your Reach

6 Tips When Using Graphics and Boosting Engagement

Using Visuals and Boosting Engagement on your Site

Getting your site visitors to engage with your website often means the difference between developing a loyal customer and losing that person to a competitor. There are many factors to consider when boosting engagement, but one area you can directly control is how and where you utilize graphics on your website.

About 63 percent of marketers state that improving customer engagement equals customer retention and repeat purchases. It costs more to gain a new customer than to retain a customer you already have, so boosting engagement through strategic use of graphics is a smart way to grow your revenue. Keeping the customers you have allows you to focus on developing stellar customer service and refining processes. Below are six tips to get the most from the graphics you add to your page:

1. Where to Place

There are many schools of thought about the best placement for graphics, how many you should have on a page (too many can reduce page speeds) and even what size those graphics should be. One place to consider putting a graphic is across the top of your post in place of a headline. It’s been said that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and apparently, this is true because using a graphic above or below a headline can be quite effective.

Mashable is a good example of using a big graphic under the headline to help tell the reader what the story is about. In the screenshot above, the article is about Amazon’s new ability to deliver Whole Foods groceries to some customers. The image makes it clear that the article is about Whole Foods. Providing a quick graphic that helps the user process what the piece is about is particularly useful to mobile users who are likely to skim through articles.

2. What Graphic to Use

Figuring out what type of graphic to use is just as important as including graphics to break up some of the text. When it comes to using graphics, you have several options. You can include an infographic, a smaller data visualization that shows just one key statistic or fact, a photograph or a drawing.

Your best bet as you learn your audience’s preferences is to try different types of graphics and do some split testing to see which performs best for your particular industry.

3. Provide Information

A good graphic choice enhances the content on your page. It provides additional information or presents the information in an easy-to-understand way. Researchers have discovered that the brain processes an image in as little as 13 milliseconds. If you want to get a message across fast and effectively, then using an image to provide information is your best course of action.

Take a look at the way The Exterior Company uses a graphic to provide information to the user. The user can quickly check the area they are interested in learning more about and then find the matching key on the list to gather more information. This is helpful because the user can enhance their knowledge visually.

4. Reduce Load Times

It is important to remember that when you use graphics, you don’t want to allow them to slow down the load times on your page. The time it takes your page to load impacts everything from conversions to bounce rates. For example, mobile users indicate they’ll wait six to 10 seconds for a page to load and then abandon a site. You can help your images load more quickly with image resizing, compression and using CDN technology.

5. Use Unique Images

One of the trends for 2018 is using custom images instead of stock or generic photos. A custom image fits the topic perfectly, rather than being a general image. Since people form an impression of your site within the first 10 to 20 seconds of landing on your page, you can see why every single element must work seamlessly to draw the user in and engage them. Using custom images shows the user immediately that you’ve put thought and care into which images will have the most impact.

An example of a site utilizing custom images is Square. When you go to their landing page, you see a very specific image in the background of the header showing a point of sale system that works with a smartphone. However, if you change the options for the type of business, then the image changes. If you choose food, the image changes to a cashier and customer. Choose service, and the image changes to a person in home construction. This engages the exact target audience that lands on the page.

6. Optimizing for Mobile

Ninety-five percent of adults in the United States own a cellphone, and 77 percent of them own smartphones. More and more people are using those smartphones to access the Internet. However, the way a mobile browser looks at your site is a bit different than the way a desktop user does. The screen is smaller, so they typically aren’t doing in-depth reading but are skimming through material. You have an opportunity to present condensed material in a graphic form.

Make sure those graphics resize appropriately for mobile devices. You don’t want an image to take over the entire screen, but you also want the user to be able to decipher what the image is. You can use options such as only loading select images on mobile or resizing images so they load more quickly.

Visuals Tell a Story

Remember that people process visual elements much faster than text. Making sure the images on your site are highly relevant and optimized for all types of users will create stronger engagement. The right graphic can add to the message you are trying to convey and draw the user into your site. Visuals tell your site’s story much faster and better than even words can.

Cleveland Design Firm Go Media launches Forest City Shuffleboard brand

Branding Cleveland’s Own Forest City Shuffleboard

Design Conference 2017

Today in Exciting News: the Weapons of Mass Creation Fest Speaker Line-Up

We are thrilled to announce that we are throwing our annual art, design and music conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, at Mahall’s in Lakewood, Ohio, this year. The party goes from Friday, August 18 through Sunday, August 20th, with speakers on the main stage on Saturday and Sunday. A few cool things about our new venue:

  1. Doors to this historic bowling alley/concert venue opened in 1924.
  2. It’s got that hip, DIY Cleveland vibe you won’t to miss and is in a city ranked top 10 most exciting suburbs in the United States.
  3. Menu highlights include fried chicken, housemade cornbread and curry popcorn to name a few.

Even cooler are the folks that will fill our venue, including the speakers we’d like to introduce you to today. Before we start, we’d like to remind you that our new venue is pretty cozy and will fill up fast, so we encourage you to purchase your tickets now!

Purchase tickets to WMC Fest

Let’s go!

Saturday Speakers

Jamal Collins, a Boys and Girls Club Art Instructor will be speaking about his experiences influencing the lives of the children he teaches at the club. His talk, “Design for Social Change,” will be focused on using design for social change through mentorship, promoting entrepreneurship skills, and guiding youth into becoming smart creatives.

Dustin Lee, graphic designer and founder of Retro Supply Co., was one of the first designers on Creative Market to make a full-time living of selling design goods. Dustin will take on an intimate journey of how he went from $35,000 in debt, creatively frustrated, with his first child on the way to making $125,130 in one year on Creative Market (and making a full-time living selling digital products reviewed by Productexpert every year since.)

Painter Frank Oriti‘s work has been featured in The New York Times and in London’s National Portrait Gallery. In his talk, “Work,” this outstanding artist will be discussing his career since his return to Cleveland in 2011 by highlighting the evolution of his work and also sharing some of his experiences in the art world.

Stephanie Irigoyen is a designer and media specialist hailing from Tallahassee, Florida. Founder of Design Week Tallahasse, Stephanie believes strongly in community and in building a better city for yourselves. She’ll take the stage and proclaim: “Nobody Knows What They’re Doing (And That’s Okay.)”

Laura Wimbels, a photographer known for her book, ‘Faces of Cleveland,’ is also a frequent contributor on the popular NPR storytelling show ‘The Moth.’ Having just gone through the arduous process of publishing her first book, she will have so much to share when she takes the stage for her talk, “How to Quit Your Job and Make a Book, It’s That Easy! (It’s Really Not)”

You won’t want to miss “Broke to Billboard Top 100,” the journey from art school drop-out, student load-ridden failure, to designing for some of the world’s most influential musical artists, as told by Irwan Awalludian. This inspiring speaker-to-be is a Singaporean immigrant, a former resident of Cleveland, Ohio currently based out of Atlanta, Georgia, where he provides art direction and design for major label recording artists and producers. Most notable clients include MikeWillMade-It, Rae Sremmurd, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa and Metro Boomin.

You may recognize Marshall Shorts, award-winning entrepreneur, artist, and designer as Founder and Creative-N-Chief of Soulo Theory Creative, co-founder of Creative Control Fest and from his work throughout the creative community. This agent of change’s talk is entitled, “Manifest,” and we encourage you to be in the audience to hear his wise words.

Perspective-Collective is the studio of Scotty Russell, a freelance lettering artist, and illustrator based out of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Scotty will be closing out Saturday’s festivities with his talk, “You are Not Invisible.” This inspiring speaker and artist will be speaking to the times when we as creatives feel as if no one is paying attention to the hard work we put into the work we pour our souls into.

Purchase tickets to WMC Fest

Sunday Speakers

Naomi Schulze is a professional t-shirt slinger/designer who, due to a whirlwind of events, fell in love with the world of embroidery. Currently, Naomi owns and operates Maeke Apparel, a screen printing/embroidery shop in Campbell, California, and travels frequently with her own sports apparel sub-brand. Naomi will speak about her experiences falling in love with the apparel industry, and pass on her insights on the world of embroidery when she takes the stage.

Corey Favor is a senior graphic designer at The Ohio State University, as well as an entrepreneur and co-founder of Creative Control Fest alongside Marshall Shorts. Corey will be sharing his perspectives on the agility needed navigating life and work, and appreciating the process of building a unique and creative career when he takes the stage for his talk, “Some Assembly Required.”

Cleveland Artist Erin Guido is best known for her brilliant and colorful work around the city, as well as her contributions to the LAND Studio, where she works as a designer. Her talk is entitled, “Surprises and Nice Things in Public Spaces,” and will certainly be as bright and colorful as she is.

Lisa Lorek is a lettering artist, muralist, and designer born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio named’s Top 29 Cleveland Visual Artists to Follow on Instagram. Her talk, “Forever a Work in Progress,” will cover the winding road she took to find her passion, including following multiple curiosities and saying “yes” to everything thrown at her.

The dynamic screen-printing duo Snakes and Aceys, otherwise known as Hannah Manocchio and Anthony Zart, met during an odd collision of life’s events when they combined a quarter-life crisis and the beginning of a nervous breakdown, respectively. These two will hilarious review their harrowing first year in business, the bloody details of lessons learned, provide lists on what not to do, and offer advice on starting a fantasy company in a real world with a partner who drives you batshit in their talk, “Oh No! We’re in Business…”

Sarah Yeager is a graphic designer with a focus of User Interface and User Experience Design. As an avid lover of hack-a-thons and design competitions, Sarah has won awards such as “Most Aesthetically Pleasing Design” and “Most Market Ready Product” for her work on the security wearable, EmpoweRing. We look forward to Sarah educating us on how we can all get involved in her world during her talk, “How Hackathons Built My Design Career.”

Shannon Okey is both the founder of Cleveland Bazaar, Northeast Ohio’s longest-running indie handmade show, and publisher at Cooperative Press, an independent publishing company which has published over 50 books since 2010. She’s currently serving on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association and has given talks on niche publishing at South by Southwest as well as O’Reilly’s TOC digital publishing conference. Her talk, entitled, “Find Your Niche,” is one not to be missed.

Reina Takahashi is a paper artist and illustrator living in San Francisco. Currently, she creates cut-paper artwork at Facebook with a team of illustrators and fellow paper artists. She also uses paper to create window installations, film props, and art piece commissions outside of her full-time work. Follow along Reina’s weird path of creative side projects for the last (almost) ten years that has led her to a full-time gig as a paper artist at a giant tech company and beyond. Hear some of her lessons learned, tips acquired, and adventures in making pirate ships out of paper in her talk, “Full Time/Free Time.”

That’s it! Now grab your seats to see all of these incredible artists, designers, screenprinters, makers and more this August 18 – 20th at Mahall’s in Lakewood at this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest >>

Purchase tickets to WMC Fest

WMC Fest Carpool Karaoke with Jamal Collins

Where Can I Learn Graphic Design? – A Newbie’s Guide

Where Can I Learn Graphic Design?

Are you new to the world of graphic design and wondering where you can find resources to further your knowledge on the subject? You’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite online resources with you. Some of them are free, others require payment. We hope you find them helpful as you begin to develop your career as a kick-ass graphic designer. We believe in you!

Learning graphic design online

What this will entail: this will include one-of-a-kind artwork – including business stationery, brochures, packaging, illustration, infographics, typography, posters, prints, t-shirt design and more. Skills needed: Adobe Creative Suite, illustration, communication skills, understanding of printing practices, business prowess. How? Learn the technical skills through online sites. Have the opportunity and funds to learn in a classroom setting? We highly recommend it! But you can learn a wealth of information on the web. Here are some places we recommend checking out:

Read Blog Posts:

Watch Documentaries / Movies / TED Talks:

Design is One: A movie about Lella and Massimo Vignelli, the famed couple who brought us their New York subway map and other numerous graphic design projects.

Helvetica – a feature length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture

Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight – Glances into the everyday moments of Milton Glaser, the brain behind the iconic I <3 NY logo and New York Magazine.

Sign Painters – Sign Painters explores the history of the time-honored craft of sign painting.

Start Learning Online:

Adobe – Where better to learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator?

Go Media’s Arsenal – We can’t go without mentioning our tutorials! Do not miss our best-selling series on Adobe Illustrator, including Adobe Illustrator 101 a Tutorial for BeginnersAdobe Illustrator 102: Illustration Using Vector Art, and Adobe Illustrator 103: Texturinzing Vector Illustrations, Modifying Type, T-Shirt Design

Creative Live – Creative classes, inspiration, and tips in photo and video, art and design, and more. Classes priced individually.

Skillshare  – “Bite-sized” classes in not only design but business, technology, photography, film, writing, crafts and more. Classes are $12 billed monthly or $8/mth billed annually.

Lynda  – Courses in business, technology, and creative skills taught by experts. Free trial available. Starting at $19.99/mth.

Udemy – Course in development, business, IT and software, personal development, design and more! Check out the platform’s biggest and most popular PS course by Manfred Werner.

Phlearn – Aaron Nace’s site is a lively and engaging place to learn about all things design. Check out his free tutorials or head directly to his YouTube channel.

Proko – Beef up your illustration skills over at Proko’s YouTube channel.

Ledet – Offers 2 to 5 day hand-on Adobe training classes (in person). Watch and enroll for them here on their site.

The Illustration Academy – intense, immersive illustration experiences. Online workshops available.

Skillcrush – Becoming a better designer means learning to communicate with your colleagues. Hit up Skillcrush’s 10-day bootcamp and become better friends with your developer. If you like the course, you can further explore the world of web design throughout Skillcrush and on sites like Code School.

Online Courses Review – Lists some great online resources

100 Best Photoshop Tutorials (from Basic to Advanced) – by our friends at PSD Stack

eBooks, Books and online resources on design and business:

How to Draw the Marvel Way by Stan Lee
The Elements of Graphic Design by Alex White
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team by Alina Wheeler
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
Logo Lounge by Catherine Fishel and Bill Gardner
Type Matters by Jim Williams and Ben Casey
Drawn to Business by William Beachy
Thread’s Not Dead by Jeff Finley
Graphic Designer’s Pricing Toolkit by Go Media
Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop by Timothy Samara
Above the Fold: Understanding the Principles of Successful Web Site Design by Brian Miller
Logotypes and Letterforms: Handlettered Logotypes and Typographic Considerations by Doyald Young
What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn) by Seth Godin
All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works — 
And Why Authenticity is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin
Package Design Workbook: The Art and Sciences of Successful Packaging by Steven DuPuis and John Silva
Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port
Authority Ebook by Nathan Barry
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Design Currency by Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady
The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz
Getting Things Done by David Allen
The Art of Non Conformity by Chris Guillibeau
Mindfulness in Plain English by Gunaratana Bhante Henepola
Rework by Jason Fried
Brains on Fire by Robin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and Spike Jones
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Built to Sell by John Warrillow
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Hiring the Best by Martin Yate
SEO Quickstart Guide by Go Media
96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire by Paul Falcone
The Talent of Edge by David S. Cohen
Accounting Made Simple by Mike Piper
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behavior by Adam Ferrier
Decoding the New Customer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy by Kit Yarrow
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising by Ryan Holiday
Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

What resources have you found helpful in your journey to becoming a graphic designer? Please share with us in the comments section below!

Princess Leia Fan Art

Inspiration of the Day: Here’s to Princess Leia

Princess Leia Fan Art

Our hearts are broken over the loss of Carrie Fisher, so today we’re honoring her in today’s Inspiration of the Day post. Please enjoy this work we found on Dribbble and Behance created by artists we admire, which honors her and the characters she played so eloquently.

Hero image, Princess Leia, by ttya on Dribbble

Animated Leia Illustration by Rogie
Animated Leia Illustration by Rogie
A litttle princess leia love by Angie Jones
A litttle princess leia love by Angie Jones
Princess Leia by Crystal Kung
Princess Leia by Crystal Kung
Ms.Leia by Konrad Kirpluk
Ms.Leia by Konrad Kirpluk
Princess Leia by Adam Grason
Princess Leia by Adam Grason
You Are Sorely Missed by Jake Bartlett
You Are Sorely Missed by Jake Bartlett
Princess Leia by Dustin Spence
Princess Leia by Dustin Spence
Princess Leia by Marta Waterme
Princess Leia by Marta Waterme
Star Wars Poster (Return of the Jedi) by Juan Esteban Rodríguez
Star Wars Poster (Return of the Jedi) by Juan Esteban Rodríguez
Leia by solo artwork
Leia by solo artwork
Лея и Джабба by by Natalia Dekalo
Leia by Natalia Dekalo
Princess Leia by Iratxe lezameta
Princess Leia by Iratxe lezameta
The Endor Trail by Jimena Sanchez S
The Endor Trail by Jimena Sanchez S
Princess Leia by Oliver Sin
Princess Leia by Oliver Sin
Organa by Leonard Peng
Organa by Leonard Peng
Princess Leia by BRÄO .
Princess Leia by BRÄO .
Kawaii Star Wars - Slave Leia and Jabba by by Jerrod Maruyama
Kawaii Star Wars – Slave Leia and Jabba by by Jerrod Maruyama
Star Wars Uncut by Oliver Sin
Star Wars Uncut by Oliver Sin
Princess Leia by Dave Bardin
Princess Leia by Dave Bardin
Princess Leia on the Blockade Runner by Jason Yang
Princess Leia on the Blockade Runner by Jason Yang
Princess Leia Mermaid by Christina Sanchez
Princess Leia Mermaid by Christina Sanchez
May The Force Be With You, Always. by by Casey Yoshida
May The Force Be With You, Always. by by Casey Yoshida
Princess Leia by Milton Nakata
Princess Leia by Milton Nakata
Tips for Facing Fear

Following Your Fear

Inspiration of the Day: 9/7/2016 – Beverage Packaging Design

Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration

Every Wednesday, we scour the web for the best in inspiration from designers killing it at their craft. Please enjoy this incredible art and join us on Pinterest, where we’re dedicated to collecting our own work, as well as the work of those we most admire.

Today we’re going to narrow in on killer beveraging packaging design inspiration. Let’s take a look at what our fellow designers are doing over at Dribbble, shall we?

Cover image and beverage design packaging designed by your friends here at graphic and web design studio Go Media.

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Cans by Emrich Office
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Trophy Room Strong Ale for #SBDesignBrawl by Luke Flowers
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Moet Packaging by Valentina Badeanu
St. Laurent Gin ‘sneak peek’ by Chad Michael Studio
Good Fizz by Lydia Nichols
Miller High Life & Harley Davidson by Derrick Castle
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
One Last Shot by Joseph Alessio
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
CopperMuse Rum by Emrich Office
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
Bib & Tucker Bourbon by Tom Lane
Beverage Packaging Design Inspiration
CopperMuse Honey Dill Vodka by Emrich Office
Belgian Golden by Jeremy Taff
Elephant Sloe Gin by Simon Frouws
Independence White Rabbit by Canales & Co.
Duran by JC Desevre
Wine Design by Chad Michael Studio
Wine Design by Chad Michael Studio
Legend Winter Ale by Gardner Design
Rubro Ice Tea by Simon Frouws
Rubro Ice Tea by Simon Frouws
Swell Cold Brew by Mark Caneso
Swell Cold Brew by Mark Caneso
Tabu Vodka by Matt Vergotis
Tabu Vodka by Matt Vergotis
Forest Grown by Jared Laham
Forest Grown by Jared Laham
Couteau Wines by Emrich Office
Couteau Wines by Emrich Office
Thrasher: Session IPA from Defiance Brewing Co. by John Stadler
Thrasher: Session IPA from Defiance Brewing Co. by John Stadler
Crafty Cider Bottle Design by Scott Biersack
Crafty Cider Bottle Design by Scott Biersack
Lake Tahoe Brewing Craft Beer Can Design by Tyler St.Pierre
Lake Tahoe Brewing Craft Beer Can Design by Tyler St.Pierre
Cameron's Brewing Company by Dave Rodgers
Cameron’s Brewing Company by Dave Rodgers

Have a great day, everyone. See you next Wednesday for more inspiration!

How to Master the Art of Visual Web Design

Specialization in Graphic Design

Not getting noticed? Try narrowing your focus.

Specialization in Graphic Design

As entrepreneurs, we often have lofty goals. We want to be all, do all, achieve all. However, when we concentrate on fulfilling everyone’s needs, instead of becoming experts at our craft, we need to take a step back. Though we all may have a variety of skill sets, we should ask ourselves: What is it that I do best? Where do I shine? What can I bring to the table to truly impact my client’s business?

Narrowing your client focus can give you an edge over your competition in our increasingly competitive market. This is also a unique way to brand yourself and a way to begin to develop a unique personal style that clients will come to recognize and seek out.

We sat down with Gary Irwin, founder and creative director of the boutique design agency, Variant, who has found that specializing has been the key to growing his firm organically. Irwin’s particular client focus is the independent film industry and finds him spending the majority of his day partnering with distributors and filmmakers to create one-of-a-kind posters, packaging, and digital art. Concentrating on this market also fulfills both of his passions: filmmaking and graphic design. Win, win.

Ready to narrow your focus? Here are some tips to set you up for success, paired with Gary’s wisdom.

Decide where your efforts will be concentrated

If you’re ready to narrow your scope, take time to focus on where you’ve had past success and where your passions lead you. Do the majority of your clients come to you for packaging design versus hand lettering? What creative endeavors do you find yourself engaging in outside of work?

With over 15 years of design experience and leadership under his belt, Irwin found it a no-brainer to put all of his energy into the independent film world and specialize in what he did best. “I just knew,” he said, “this was my path, and I was ready to take the leap.” Variant was born.

Once you’ve made the decision to specialize, set up camp and get to work, but proceed knowing there will be hurdles to jump from the start. The unique challenge of choosing to narrow your focus is building a solid client base from a smaller playing field and selecting projects from a tiny portion of your portfolio.

As Irwin notes of his decision to specialize, “Knowing you want to do it and actually doing it are two different things. I think one of the most intimidating aspects of specializing in a particular offering is getting started. But while it’s challenging to get into the rotation and get your name out there (I went through a lot of stress early on, I still do), the rewards of becoming a go-to creative in a particular vertical market are ten-fold.”

Autism In Love Theatrical one-sheet & digital poster for Matt Fuller and Carolina Grooper by Variant Creative
Autism In Love Theatrical one-sheet & digital poster for Matt Fuller and Carolina Grooper by Variant Creative

Create your mission statement and follow through

Once you’ve established your focus, it’s always a good idea to take the time to sit down and ask yourself some foundational questions to plot out what’s to be a successful journey. For example, why did you get into design and why are you in this business? Who are your favorite clients and why do you love working for them? What is your mission? Your vision? Your purpose?

Irwin carved out a mission statement to keep himself on track. “What I didn’t want to do was constantly hustle without moving towards something, so I spent a lot of time early on crafting my philosophy and launched Variant with a very specific mission statement.” In this statement, Irwin addressed his passion to work on key art for independent film, his drive to constantly improve his craft and his desire to narrow in on his vertical market.

The Blackout Experiments Sundance Poster for Ferocious Entertainment by Variant Creative
The Blackout Experiments Sundance Poster for Ferocious Entertainment by Variant Creative

Create great work and the clients will come

Though your initial road to landing clients once you’ve narrowed your focus may be bumpy, hard work, hustle and great work are always best. Have patience while you build your portfolio with examples of the work you want to do. Concentrate on making sure it’s the best it can be.

“Creating compelling work is my mantra. The work helps get the bigger fish to come. It will start to snowball into the attention you’re looking for. Use all of your typical marketing methods, of course. Blast as many people as possible. But the constant is making sure your work is solid,” Irwin suggests.

Ballin' At The Graveyard Theatrical, festival Posters & Box Art for Dugway Pictures | Virgil Films by Variant Creative
Ballin’ At The Graveyard Theatrical, festival Posters & Box Art for Dugway Pictures | Virgil Films by Variant Creative

Constantly hone your craft

As you work on narrowing your focus, the clients will come and in turn, you’ll find an easier time identifying them. With more work will come more opportunity to become better at what you love to do.

“Because of a narrow focus, I know the market. I know who my customers are and I know how to find them, Irwin reports. “This has helped me tremendously in getting my name out there.”

“On a personal side, this is what I enjoy doing the most. I get to become an expert at what I love to do and it helps me stay sharp. Everything comes back to Variant moving forward in becoming the best at what we do.”

Thanks to Gary of Variant Creative for all of the great information he provided us in this post! Learn more about the work he does by visiting his official site, or get social with him over at Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter.

Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs

Inspiration of the Day: Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs

Located here in the heart of Cleveland, we can’t help but to be huge fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sunday, June 19th was a momentous day for our entire city. The curse was indeed reversed and we became the champions we were (kind of) patiently waiting to be. We’re still high on life over here and the following designs have us feeling even more so.

Found on Behance and Dribbble, shout-out to our fellow designers for their incredible talent. Note: header art by: Magdalena Orpych

Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
2016 NBA Champions – Cleveland Cavaliers by Joe Caione
Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
2016 NBA Finals Game 4 Matchup Graphic by Joe Caione
Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
The Chosen One by Patrick Ellasos
Cleveland Cavaliers Finals 2016 Designs
Game 7 by Magdalena Orpych
JR Swish by Brady Patterson
JR Swish by Brady Patterson
Cleveland Cavaliers - NBA Champs by Fisher Adkins
Cleveland Cavaliers – NBA Champs by Fisher Adkins
Cleveland Cavaliers by Tong
ESPN: NBA Finals illustration
ESPN: NBA Finals illustration by Oliver Barrett
Curse Reversed by Tom Johnson
Curse Reversed by Tom Johnson
Official NBA Project: Final Render by Gavin Campbell
Official NBA Project: Final Render by Gavin Campbell
LeBron James by Yann Dalon
LeBron James by Yann Dalon
Glory of the King by Henry Han
Glory of the King by Henry Han
LeBron Dunk by Dan Noakes
LeBron Dunk by Dan Noakes
LeBron James by Alessandro Pautasso
LeBron James by Alessandro Pautasso
Ohio Against the World by Brady Patterson
Ohio Against the World by Brady Patterson
New Cleveland Cavaliers by Tom Galmarini
New Cleveland Cavaliers by Tom Galmarini
LeBron James – Redeemed Nike Poster by Michael Bower
LeBron James – Redeemed Nike Poster by Michael Bower
Eastern Conference Champs by Joe Caione
Eastern Conference Champs by Joe Caione
The Return by Dave Szalay
The Return by Dave Szalay
Painting • Kyrie Irving • by Mattia Iurlano
Painting • Kyrie Irving • by Mattia Iurlano
NBA "All In For Cleveland" T-Shirt by Tak Wong
NBA “All In For Cleveland” T-Shirt by Tak Wong
There’s no place for two kings by Vladislav Lakshe
How important is photo selection

Photography: An Essential Element of Your New Website Design

Professional photography and brand imagery are among the best tools in the box when it comes to communicating a sense of purpose, place and personality on your website.

Sure, layout is important. Typography is essential. But customers looking at your new website design want to SEE what you are about. They want a window into the action. They want to witness the results. Strong brand imagery and powerful photography can be essential to telling the story of you and your firm.

The Cleveland website design team at Go Media recognizes the powerful influence of photography. That’s why we work closely with professional photographers who will capture your staff, product, service or experience in the perfect light.

Too often, we’ve seen people make the mistake of using amateur photography or ill-chosen stock photos. That’s unfortunate. It does those companies a great disservice because we live in such a visually-rich world. Mediocre images devalue your products and services because they just don’t tell the right story. It’s true that pictures can speak 1,000 words, but the wrong picture says only, “What were they thinking?!”

go media photo selection experts

If you invest the time and energy into new website design, but don’t invest in quality images, your page could suffer.

For example, the director of an investment management firm will quickly turn off potential clients with a head shot that looks more like a cell phone “selfie.” Similarly, lawyers want their images to convey professionalism, intelligence and trust. But that same approach would be too stiff and boring for the captain of a charter boat company.

A sharp, creative photographer can help capture what makes you and your firm special. The goal is to accurately display your brand personality in a way that compliments the overall website design.

In a society where so much commerce and connection happens online, quality photographs are one of the only ways to offer clients or customers a glimpse of what you’re offering.

People are going to notice immediately when the images in your new website design are engaging and strike the right tone.

piles of photographs selected by Go Media

An imagery consultation with a skilled corporate photographer can help determine the kind of look that’s going to best serve the company. You’ll probably start by narrowing it down. Do you want to primarily showcase:

  • People
  • Products
  • Scenes
  • Metaphorical shots

From there, our team art director will work closely with the professional photographer to discuss lighting, background, colors and point-of-view so there is a calculated cohesion across images. All this serves to clearly deliver your message that will compliment your website design.

It’s important to point out too: “Consistency” does not equal “same.” This is not about putting a different version of essentially the same photo up on every page of your small business website. It’s about defining the image style so there are easily recognizable similarities that tell the story you want.

Team photography is used often in corporate branding, and it’s a good way to give people an intimate sense of the company culture. A side benefit is it can be a great way to attract new talent. More and more, companies are branching out with these “team shots” and trying non-traditional locations. This can be amazing – but it has to be the right tone for the company. Your photographer and art director can help you decide.

great grgaphic design starts with great photography

The library of images created can then be used in a host of materials, including:

  • Websites
  • Brochures
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print advertisements
  • Internal relations material

An investment in the services of a Cleveland corporate photographer vetted by Go Media’s branding and website design experts is an opportunity to showcase your accomplishments and potential. It’s also likely to help you edge out the competition.

To learn more about our Cleveland corporate professional photographer services, call Go Media at 216.939.0000 or contact us online.

black designers

Diversity in Design and Breaking Out Of A Design Factory

Here’s What You Need to Know About Creating an Outstanding Online Portfolio

How to Create a Graphic Design Portfolio

An outstanding online portfolio is a must for any creative. Believe us, it’s true. When popping open emails from those applying for graphic design positions here at Cleveland design studio Go Media, we’re often shocked at the number of folks who do not have an online portfolio, or have one that’s outdated or terribly underwhelming. Today, let’s all make a commitment to ourselves. It’s time to up our game. It’s well worth the time and energy. And it just may land you the job of your dreams.

How to Create a Graphic Design Portfolio: Do’s and Don’ts

Strongly and clearly show off your skill set through curated examples of your work. Are you an illustrator and a trained photographer? Or an illustrator who takes iPhone photos for fun? If you’re the latter, leave the photos for Instagram and focus on what you do best. Be forthright with a potential employer regarding your skillset so that there is no confusion right off the bat regarding who you are and what you’re capable of.

  • Do: Illustrate your strengths.
  • Don’t: Include any fluff.


Keep it simple! A clean, crisp display is compelling. Don’t lose us in clutter. Remember, less is more! As you begin to develop a look and feel to your portfolio site, come to recognize you are – in a sense – building a brand.  Maintain this consistency throughout your other platforms to fully develop your identity.

  • Do: Use minimal colors and fonts
  • Don’t: Allow your site design to distract from your work



Tell a story. Did you capture some intriguing moments when working on a design project? Use case studies to illustrate your process. This gives us an in-depth look inside your thoughts, inspirations, motivations and achievements.

  • Do: Start from the beginning! Take us on the entire journey with you and make it an exciting one.
  • Don’t: Hesitate to give insights into challenges along the way.
  • Do: Give us a healthy dose of successes and a insider’s guide to the decisions you made along the way.
  • Do: Tell us how you solved the problem for your client and wrap the story up in a pretty bow!


Display your personality. Show us what makes you, you – the unique, creative individual and bright light that you are. Aside from the visuals, use an about page to answer our burning question: What will you bring to our creative team? Give us a little business in the front / party in the back here, a little about why you love design and your unique point of view, as well as some fun facts to intrigue us, too. 

  • Do: Be witty, if you can.
  • Don’t: Be afraid to be a little quirky.
  • Do: Show your face. We want to see who we’re dealing with!
  • Don’t write a novel.
  • Do: Tell me why I need you in my life. (Subtly.)


Make it easy to contact you! Now that we’re ready to meet you, we need to reach out. Please make it easy for us to do so.  A separate contact page is the easiest way to do this. Please include a downloadable resume and working email address!

  • Do: At the very least, include working email address.
  • Don’t: Forget to check your links! I want to check out your resume and social media links, LinkedIn, Dribbble and Behance, too!
  • Do: consider adding a contact form, as well as some other information as it applies – address and some questions about the project you’re destined to work on together!

Testimonials. If you’ve gotten some great feedback from clients, don’t be shy. Shout it from the rooftops!


Keep it up! Now that you’ve created a beautiful portfolio, keep it updated regularly, following the guidelines we’ve set above.

Good luck everyone!