There are a billion newly graduated students with a graphic design degree who are turning to the internet for online publicity. On the Internet, almost anything is possible — and everyone is watching. With a million eyes and another million artists trying to flail their virtual arms and say “look at me! I’m talented!” it can be easy to get lost in the crowd, especially because many artists are promoting their personal brand instead of working for a larger entity. It’s often that artists become popular online not necessarily for their outstanding graphic design skills, but because of their excellent marketing skills. Plenty of talented artists go unnoticed on a daily basis because there are just too many people trying to be heard. A graphic design major has to be skilled not only in art, but also in the art of catching and keeping people’s attention. Implementing certain methods when looking for publicity can make a huge difference, but in the end the art speaks for itself. Unfortunately, there’s still a market for crappy art, which means that those graphic design graduates will have to work twice as hard to keep their talent at the top of the lists. Here are some tips for using your graphic design degree in a social media savvy way to become popular online.
Digg and reddit Community Influence
There are pros and cons to both of these websites. Although reddit is full of harsh critics, Digg is just as full with annoying, relentless spammers. reddit’s online community can be harder to permeate since it has so many users and many of them are submitting their own work to try and get noticed… but once you’re in, all those years of pursuing a graphic design degree will finally (kind of) pay off. Reddit can send hundreds of thousands of hits from its front page in just a few days. Digg, on the other hand, can garner a few tens of thousands in about a week — if you’re really lucky. And even though Digg is easier to get popular on, it still takes time to weasel your way into a community of people dominated by those whose biggest concern is driving hits to their own site, not checking out your crappy ‘content.’ Reddit, on the other hand, is already full of amazing artists who might smash your art into oblivion with down votes. Just kidding; the community at least likes to give constructive criticism and won’t bury you outright. Overall, the inexperienced social-media-graphic-design-degree person should either stick to Reddit or get ready to pay an experienced Digger to spam the art online for them.
Become a Viral Success
Hate viral stuff? Can’t stand memes? Too bad! Work that graphic design degree online, girl. Tap into that internet community of lame 16 year olds and out of touch middle aged nerds who replace normal social interactions with random jokes about bacon and narwhales. Find out what’s cool today. Is it sad Keanu? Maru? Scumbag Steve? Bacon wrapped bacon stuffed bacon with puppy sauce? Figure it out, and then use your graphic design degree to make a really funny/cool/hip picture that references both the meme of your choice and also some random pop culture trivia-snippet. Then submit the picture to reddit. Make sure you tweet the reddit link instead of directly linking to the image itself so that people can upvote your post. The drawing doesn’t even have to be that good. It just has to say something clever or have an awkwardly drawn version which makes some online-popular character appear in a light the internet has never seem him or her in before. Forget pushing yourself to your limits or reaching an artistic potential; just give people what they want.
Create a Website or Blog
This is a no-brainer unless you’re a fifty-something year-old who just got their graphic design degree and also just learned how to get online using something other than a 56k modem and AOL95. Every person with a graphic design degree needs a website to showcase their art and portfolio. Even many people who aren’t artists sometimes require a website, such as psychiatrists or even dog walkers. If you can’t make your own, there are plenty of services out there who can make one for you — but there are also plenty of services who make constructing your own website extremely easy. Tumblr is even a good way to put together a simple portfolio. Your website should also have a ‘like’ option for each of your pieces so people can share the work on Facebook.
Discovering Web Artist Communities
Find some artist communities and forums so that you can see what’s popular online now, and also create new work based on demand. Create a few things other people are asking for. If they love it, they’ll tell all their friends and you’ll be all the more popular for it. Listen to the constructive criticism of others. The great thing about the internet is that it can act like somewhat of a janky grad school after your graphic design degree; it’s full of opinions, options, requests, and trends to study. There’s a plethora of information at your fingertips.
Be Sure to Take Care of Your Work
If you combine ‘sell out’ with ‘make a website/portfolio’ you can come up with some great ideas which are welcomed by the online community while simultaneously satisfying your artistic aspirations. Find something you care about, whether it’s the evil of Monsanto or the number of colors that exist in the world. It could be something as simple as the number of people who watched the American Idol finale each year, or as complicated as trying to explain the history of the world. Make a map or a graph out of it. Graphic design at one of its finest points is the info-graphic. If you can make a solid, interesting piece it will probably get spread all over the Internet just like a terrible STD. Just double-check your facts to avoid looking stupid and don’t forget to place a watermark so people know who actually made it.
This has been a guest post brought to you by Greg Voakes.