How Being a Graphic Designer Helped Me Become an Author

What do graphic designers and writers have in common?

Many of you might scratch your heads as you try to answer this. The truth is both professions share more of the same skills than you might think. How would I know? I am what some would consider a hybrid of the two: a graphic designer and newborn author, which would not have come to pass had it not been for my background in design.

Allow me to explain with these three points:

1. Graphic designers and writers are storytellers.

As a graphic designer, your task is to take an idea from concept to creation. Designers must bring forth life through visual elements in order to connect with the target market and tell its desired story. As a writer, your task is also to take an idea and bring it to life through words. Having a background in graphic design helped me to visualize the story in my head so that I could find the right words needed to describe tricky scenes. Once I had created the visual, the words were then able to flow and take shape.

2. Graphic designers and writers are problem solvers.

Many times when creating logos or advertising, a problem will arise due to many circumstances like space, images or fonts. Graphic designers must use their creativity to work around the problem and still deliver a finished product that the client will be proud of. Writers also encounter many issues along the way like character development, finding the right references or experiencing writer’s block. They must find solutions to overcome them in order to complete their book. I found that when I was having trouble with a scene, I would analyze the situation from a designer’s perspective to see how I could go about finding a solution. This, thankfully, helped on more than one occasion.

3. Graphic designers and writers are very visual.

It's very common to find a graphic designer that is also an experienced illustrator or photographer, using their knowledge of design programs to create characters or construct a scene that did not exist.

Writers, too, are visionaries, painting what they see in words. This allows their readers to use their imagination and envision the world the writer has brought them into. This aspect definitely worked to my advantage. I had created a character that was challenging to explain visually. However, with my experience, I had the opportunity to put a face to the vision in my head, which in turn saved me the cost of paying someone to design a cover for my book.

In summary, throughout the writing process I was able to use my skills in design to help communicate my ideas to a different type of audience. Although the tools were different, I was surprised to find the similarities that presented themselves along the way, which helped me to realize that when faced with any new endeavor, incorporating your strengths from other avenues is all it takes to provide the confidence you need.

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