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If an Electrical Engineering Graduate with no job experience learns and starts doing image Graphic Designing on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign etc, what unique opportunities in Graphic Design domain could he capture for having a background in Electrical Engineering? In other words, how can he make the best of the both world?

  • Hi Hassan and welcome to the site. I'm not able to answer your question, but a few thoughts: Your education has probably taught you thoroughness and precision which are good traits in graphic design. A design might, in some ways, be similar to a circuit board: every element has it's own purpose and relationship to the other elements. In graphic design you often have to (superficially) understand the client's field of work and having knowledge of other things than graphic design can often come in handy. – Wolff Sep 14 at 0:02
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    I think you'd have to be lucky enough to tap into someone who has actually moved into Graphic Design from an Electrical Engineering bases... then hope they are secure enough in their job/client base to be willing to share how they did it and what's unique. On the whole... I don't think most designers could answer such a targeted question. – Scott Sep 14 at 18:05
  • @Scott In OP's defense, he just exponentially increased his chances by posting about it here :) – curious Sep 16 at 19:59
  • I agree @Emilie I wasn't meaning to imply there was anything wrong with posting the question. Merely that effective answer may be difficult to come by. :) – Scott Sep 16 at 21:30
  • How about drafting diagrams, engineering / architectural design and rendering - probably more (Auto)CAD though – Mark Read Sep 17 at 6:03
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I'm a big fan of multidisciplinary work so I really like how you're trying to make the best of both worlds.

One potential area that I see is work with conductive inks and hybrid media. As both an electrical engineer and a graphic designer, it seems like you could be an asset as an hired consultant for people who want to inject some interactivity in their paper-based pieces.

Conductive inks allow graphic pieces to introduce capacitative touch, electrolumniscent designs, indicators relevant for smart packaging, and more.

Some examples:

Most of these examples are eye-catching but if you're more practical in nature, there is a lot of potential for conductive inks in the food and pharma sectors (displaying freshness, keeping track of use, etc.)

While conductive inks have been discussed for a while, their implementation has been challenging and they're still not commonly seen in 2019. However, you should have no problem finding conferences discussing them; I ran into many of them just writing this short answer.

See a recent market report for conductive inks here.

One of the design firms that seem to come up a lot is Novalia, based in the UK. Their site also has a lot of links to talks related to interactive paper-based projects.

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First, my background.

I studied a couple of years of Mechanical Engineering before changing my career to graphic design. Although I was making visual things since I was like 8 years old and worked in a small Design firm when I was in high school, I enrolled in engineering thinking that Graphic Design was just a hobby. I was not bad at all since one person from the firm came to me offering me the job, and the stuff I made had a list of people wanting to keep them and was even stolen by a fan.

I have always been visual. Since before 3D graphics were a ting I really visualized solids of revolution in 3D space, so I always was fascinated with the visual side of math and physics.

An epiphany came when I was in some math class and instead of just drawing some sine wave graph... it was a roller coaster with some cartoon-like characters scramming on the top of the graph.

After that, I started to go to the classes that were supposed to be more practical like manufacturing processes, more advanced like nuclear reactor's design (no kidding) and I realized it was not what I wanted to do. Then I changed to Visual Communication Design, Graphic Design for short.


But here is the catch. It is not that I was an engineer that switched careers, it is that I was a Designer all my life, but I did not enrolled in the correct course from start.


The truth is that in everyday practice there is little I apply from what could be considered engineering courses. Yes, I have a maniac vision of things. I designed some packaging last month, and I see it both ways, as a structure that needs to hold the mass inside the package and as a visual tool to sell the product. (I spend like 60% of time seeing the structural aspect) but that is not the rule as my main field is not packaging.

I know one of the best ways to innovate things is by mixing two fields. Botanics with medicine, photography to astrophysics, so, you have to explore.

If you really want to stick to the electrical engineering field, you could look for some practical applications.

  • Sign design for buildings; interior design on stores, things like that.

  • Visual stuff like art installations, concerts, scientific expos.

  • Marketing material, like stands.

  • Or just invent a new field.

If you want to have a bigger scope, make usage of the mathematics for parametric design, like on 3D motion graphics (but probably you need to learn some programming)

But probably it is a bit naive thinking that you can do that alone. It would be a better idea to work with some people in the necessary fields.


But let me be raw honest.

Graphic Design is FAR from just clicking on Photoshop, Illustrator or whatever. It is a field where you need to learn the bases of communication, visual communication, aesthetics, technical aspects of the medium you are working with. You need to develop a style and deliver solutions for problems that are subjective and objective.

I have been in the field for more than 30 years, and I am still learning. I have beeing drawing all my life, and I am still a rookie.

So no. There is not a magic way to make the "jump" if you are not willing to learn, probably from scratch.

You could be an Engineer using Photoshop, or make yourself a Graphic Designer that has also an engineering degree.

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    I agree Rafael. It will also help if you have been to art college. If you don't understand fine art and the consideration of creativity, experimentation, colour, media etc, you are going to be thin as a graphic designer. In England, you must complete a years foundation in fine art. Take the artist Toulouse-Lautrec and his depictions of Paris nightlife- essentially commercial posters in the 1890s. Constructivism which underpins the 80's British designs of Neville Brody, Peter Saville and Malcolm Garrett or Raygun designer David Carson who owes much of his approach to Dada and the avant-garde – Applefanboy Sep 20 at 8:56
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Probably not possible in a specific or common way.

Many people can fix cars and play the piano and go do the 3k marathon swimming and cycling, while their day job is in real estate. That doesn't mean everything can or should be mixed. Its different things you do when a specific opportunity arrives. If the opportunity calls for a mix, do it, otherwise, it is what it is.

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Data visualization often requires a skill set that intersects with any science backgrounds. Since you were undoubtedly trained into using something like Matlab it can give you a serious leg up when it comes to doing statistical inferences from the data and custom processing of the data. Any signal processing you did can come handy when using Photoshop too.

But for the core of graphic designers work not much

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