Where to Find Your First Design Job After School

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You’ve got the design skills. You’ve got the creative portfolio. Now what? A skill-set is only as good as the career it connects you to. That’s why it’s critical to find a job with a company that’s doing work you find both challenging and interesting. In addition, the culture at different businesses can vary greatly, so finding the place that strikes just the right balance between work and home is also key.

Here are a few of the types of companies you should consider as you begin your digital design career.

Working for and Doing Creative Work at Advertising and Design Agencies
If you’re talking about doing incredible visual design work that’s going to be seen online, on billboards and on product packaging then the best places to achieve this are advertising and design agencies. And given the direction things have been headed, by far the best agencies to work at are those that tend to put a special emphasis on digital media.

Some examples of excellent agencies that specialize in or consistently do excellent digital work include RazorfishDigitas, Big spaceship, R/GAWieden+Kennedy and Digital Kitchen.


Working as an art director or graphic designer at one of these fine shops can lead to you doing work for popular brands like Volkswagen, McDonald’s and Heineken. And who knows? Your brilliant campaign could end up being recognized with a career-defining Cannes Lions award.

But while the work can be both exciting and rewarding, the hours tend to be long and intense. So prepare to roll up your sleeves and work late hours as ad agencies are notorious for their deadline-driven projects and, at times, high-stress environments and chaotic schedules.

For more information on finding design or ad agencies anywhere in the United States, check out The Creative Ham.

Doing Creative Work for Tech Companies
As opposed to agencies where you work with a wide variety of clients, the great thing about tech companies is that you are the client. In-house teams in tech-driven companies collaborate to build and optimize products internally. So while there are definitely still deadlines, the pay structure behind your job doesn’t rely on billable hours. And as such, the culture tends to be a little more laid back and arguably, less pressure than in comparison to an agency.

Although not true across the board, a common trend is that the most exciting digital and design work is happening at startups. The great thing about startups is that the work they’re doing can be truly new and innovative. Category-defining in many cases.

As a graphic designer, being able to come in on the ground floor and be a part of something new and exciting can offer one-of-a-kind experience that other creatives can only dream of. Not to mention, because tech companies offer cutting edge technological innovation, you will be ahead of the industry learning curve in all areas of full-stack design.

These days, some of the best young tech startups to work at include Uber, Groupon, Airbnb, Pinterest and Belly.


For all the latest news in the startup world, check out Hacker News, the news feed run by legendary incubator Y Combinator.

Getting Hired at Graphic Design Companies
As you navigate the job market and build your design portfolio, finding the right company that offers the correct blend of skills, culture, mentor ship and opportunity is key to launching a successful career as a graphic designer. But as they say, finding a job is itself a full-time job, so hit the pavement hard, and keep putting yourself out there until you find the perfect home.

Getting hired as a designer for an elite company might seem like a dream scenario, but with the Designation UX/UI bootcamp experience under your belt your chances of finding the job you want will skyrocket. With a 94% placement rate for bootcamp graduates, odds are you will be doing what you love in the best possible environment for your career.

For a consultation on whether Designation is a good fit for you, or for a free design portfolio review, contact our co-founder and Director of Communications Will Shandling at will@designation.io.

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