Joining a member-based organization is important for all graphic designers. While there are several benefits you can receive from it, it’s also the organization’s goal to promote graphic design by building a strong network of professionals.

In turn, it facilitates an exchange of ideas, innovations and best practices to consider. The best organizations also provide various social and educational opportunities. Plus, the resources you receive may prepare you for future industry changes and communication of current industry standards.

By joining a graphic design organization, here’s a further look at the benefits you can expect and why it’ll be helpful to your career.

1. Offers Community

You should consider joining a graphic design association primarily because of the community aspect. By becoming a member, you’re joining a community of graphic designers with the same interest and passion.

Avoid settling as a passive member to get the most out of your membership. You have the opportunity to become part of exclusive events, discussions and research.

Even idea-sharing can be a great benefit to you.

Additionally, the community you’re part of will strengthen your existing skills and help you gain new ones. Many professional associations hold volunteer events that benefit charitable causes and the organization itself.

As soon as you establish yourself as an active member, ensure you look for opportunities that enable you to contribute.

2. Fosters Collaboration and Competition

Many people are afraid of a little competition. When you join an organization, you may be surrounding yourself with it. However, there’s no reason to be fearful of the competition that exists in your association.

In reality, competition exists to help you scale and maintain motivation. The members of your association can give you insights into what they’re taking charge of — inspiring you to become a thought leader yourself.

Additionally, professionals of an association are transparent about their struggles, which will help you realize that collaboration is more profound than the competition. These facets help you become the best in your industry because you surround yourself with the right people.

3. Offers Professional Development

Graphic designers need to practice their skills to develop professionally every day. Often, they take courses or read graphic design books to continue their education and stay current on the latest industry shifts. However, there’s nothing like engaging with an association willing to help you level up.

Essentially, you’re avoiding becoming irreplaceable by joining an organization. Participating in one can help you maintain your expertise.

In a graphic design association, you’ll find valuable resources and training exercises that no one outside your organization can access. In turn, this type of education will give you the steps you need to improve your life and career.

4. Expands Your Professional Network

Doing everything on your own can be quite a task. However, being a member of an organization can help with that.

Joining a graphic design association means you’re building a network of professionals. And networking with like-minded individuals gives you the benefit of new opportunities. The best part is you maintain those relationships, too, when you’re a part of an organization.

Therefore, you never know when you will meet someone who may want to hire you for an exciting new project.

Moreover, professional organizations can connect you with leaders and visionaries in your field. Maintaining these connections in your back pocket will help you stay on top of current and future trends while gaining various perspectives from successful people.

Graphic Design Organizations to Join

Here you will find a list of member-based organizations that you can join as a professional graphic designer:

  • AIGA: The American Institute of Graphic Arts offers job boards, training sessions, technologies and design competitions. It also holds annual events and is one of the largest associations to join.
  • The Society of Illustrators: This organization offers design education, competition, local meetups and annual events. It’s a good option if you’re an illustrator and want to meet other designers in your field.
  • The Futur Pro Group: Futur has a YouTube channel and has its own community on Circle, where they host discussions and provide job boards, competitions and announcements. Plus, they have a calendar of events you can join.
  • Graphic Artists Guild: This association is dedicated to helping artists advance their careers. Therefore, they provide many resources, education, tools and general support.
  • Instagraphics Pro Network: This organization has a free and paid membership. The free version is in its Facebook group in addition to a private community on Circle. They bring together the best graphic designers and help everyone by providing tutorials, events, training and more.

Join a Member-Based Organization Today

The best way to grow as a professional is to surround yourself with people who’ve achieved success. This will inspire you to accomplish those same successes in your career, life and business. When you join a niche of like-minded people, their passion and hunger pass on to you.

Consider becoming a member of a graphic design association today to reap all the benefits that it offers.

Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn!