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Become An Associate Designer

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Working As An Associate Designer

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $64,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Associate Designer Do

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Duties

Graphic designers typically do the following: 

  • Meet with clients or the art director to determine the scope of a project
  • Use digital illustration, photo-editing software, and layout software to create designs
  • Create visual elements such as logos, original images, and illustrations that help deliver a desired message
  • Design layouts and select colors, images, and typefaces to use
  • Present design concepts to clients or art directors
  • Incorporate changes recommended by clients or art directors into final designs
  • Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them

Graphic designers combine art and technology to communicate ideas through images and the layout of websites and printed pages. They may use a variety of design elements to achieve artistic or decorative effects.

Graphic designers work with both text and images. They often select the type, font, size, color, and line length of headlines, headings, and text. Graphic designers also decide how images and text will go together on a print or webpage, including how much space each will have. When using text in layouts, graphic designers collaborate closely with writers who choose the words and decide whether the words will be put into paragraphs, lists, or tables. Through the use of images, text, and color, graphic designers can transform statistical data into visual graphics and diagrams, which can make complex ideas more accessible.

Graphic design is important to marketing and selling products, and is a critical component of brochures and logos. Therefore, graphic designers, also referred to as graphic artists or communication designers, often work closely with people in advertising and promotions, public relations, and marketing.

Frequently, designers specialize in a particular category or type of client. For example, some create the graphics used on retail products packaging, still others may work on the visual designs used on book jackets.

Graphic designers need to keep up to date with the latest software and computer technologies to remain competitive.

Some individuals with a background in graphic design teach in design schools, colleges, and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

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How To Become An Associate Designer

Graphic designers usually need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Candidates for graphic design positions should demonstrate their creativity and originality through a professional portfolio that features their best designs.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required. However, those with a bachelor’s degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Most schools include studio art, principles of design, computerized design, commercial graphics production, printing techniques, and website design. In addition, students should consider courses in writing, marketing, and business, all of which are useful in helping designers work effectively on project teams.

High school students interested in graphic design should take basic art and design courses in high school, if the courses are available. Many bachelor's degree programs require students to complete a year of basic art and design courses before being admitted to a formal degree program. Some schools require applicants to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.

Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of their designs. For many artists, including graphic designers, developing a portfolio—a collection of design ideas that demonstrates their styles and abilities—is essential because employers rely heavily on a designer’s portfolio in deciding whether to hire the individual.

Graphic designers must keep up with new and updated computer graphics and design software, either on their own or through formal software training programs. Professional associations that specialize in graphic design, such as AIGA, offer courses intended to keep the skills of their members up to date.

Other Experience

Graphic designers often gain their initial experience through internships. It provides aspiring graphic designers an opportunity to work with designers and experience the design process from concept to completion while completing a design program.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification programs are generally available through software product vendors. Certification in graphic design software can demonstrate a level of competence and may provide a jobseeker with a competitive advantage.

Advancement

Experienced graphic designers may advance to chief designer, art director, or other supervisory positions.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Graphic designers must be able to look at their work from the point of view of their consumers and examine how the designs they develop will be perceived by consumers to ensure they convey the client’s desired message.

Artistic ability. Graphic designers must be able to create designs that are artistically interesting and appealing to clients and consumers. They produce rough illustrations of design ideas, either by hand sketching or by using computer programs.

Communication skills. Graphic designers must communicate with clients, customers, and other designers to ensure that their designs accurately reflect the desired message and effectively express information.

Computer skills. Most graphic designers use specialized graphic design software to prepare their designs.

Creativity. Graphic designers must be able to think of new approaches to communicating ideas to consumers. They develop unique designs that convey a recognizable meaning on behalf of their clients.

Time-management skills. Graphic designers often work on multiple projects at the same time, each with a different deadline.

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Associate Designer Career Paths

Associate Designer
Designer Project Manager Product Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Designer Manager Product Manager
Product Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Product Manager
Director Of Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Product Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Senior Graphic Designer Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Lead Designer Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Systems Administrator Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Product Designer Senior User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Owner Art Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Computer Aided Design Designer Product Designer
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Co-Founder Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Writer And Editor Senior Copywriter
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Logistics Coordinator Traffic Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Associate Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Owner & Designer 6.1 years
Principal Designer 4.9 years
Interior Designer 4.3 years
Textile Designer 4.2 years
Senior Designer 4.2 years
Sweater Designer 4.2 years
Fashion Designer 3.4 years
Custom Designer 3.4 years
Designer 3.1 years
Apparel Designer 2.7 years
Men's Designer 2.7 years
Dress Designer 2.5 years
Freelance Designer 2.5 years
Associate Designer 2.0 years
Assistant Designer 1.7 years
Junior Designer 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Associate Designer
Internship 10.7%
Designer 6.5%
Assistant 2.1%
Cashier 1.6%
Stylist 1.6%
Top Careers After Associate Designer
Designer 26.0%
Owner 2.0%
Internship 1.8%
Consultant 1.7%

Do you work as an Associate Designer?

Associate Designer Demographics

Gender

Female

57.7%

Male

31.4%

Unknown

10.9%
Ethnicity

White

57.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.8%

Asian

11.9%

Black or African American

10.4%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.3%

French

10.5%

Mandarin

9.2%

Chinese

7.9%

Italian

7.0%

Cantonese

5.3%

Korean

4.4%

German

3.9%

Russian

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Portuguese

1.8%

Japanese

1.8%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Turkish

0.9%

Thai

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%

Gujarati

0.4%

Hindi

0.4%

Ukrainian

0.4%

Armenian

0.4%
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Associate Designer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

28.6%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

14.0%

Parsons the New School for Design

10.2%

Savannah College of Art and Design

5.7%

Academy of Art University

5.1%

Otis College of Art and Design

4.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

2.9%

Rhode Island School of Design

2.8%

Kent State University

2.7%

Philadelphia University

2.7%

Drexel University

2.7%

Art Institute of California - Inland

2.5%

Virginia Commonwealth University

2.3%

Syracuse University

2.2%

University of Cincinnati

2.0%

School of Visual Arts

2.0%

International Academy of Design and Technology

1.9%

San Francisco State University

1.8%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

1.7%

Michigan State University

1.7%
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Majors

Graphic Design

43.0%

Interior Design

14.0%

Fine Arts

6.0%

Business

4.7%

Architecture

4.4%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

3.8%

Drafting And Design

3.2%

Apparel And Textiles

3.1%

Cosmetology

2.2%

Communication

2.0%

Landscape Architecture

1.8%

Design And Visual Communication

1.6%

Marketing

1.6%

Education

1.4%

Interior Architecture

1.3%

Computer Science

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Mechanical Engineering

1.2%

Psychology

1.1%

Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.7%

Associate

17.0%

Other

13.3%

Masters

11.1%

Certificate

3.9%

License

0.8%

Diploma

0.8%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$64,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$41,000
Min 10%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Google
Highest Paying City
Redwood City, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
2.3 years
How much does an Associate Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Associate Designer in the United States is $64,569 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $41,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $101,000.

Real Associate Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate Design Director Work DPD, Inc. New York, NY Apr 15, 2015 $145,000
Associate Design Director Pereira & O'Dell San Francisco, CA Apr 11, 2015 $125,611
Associate Designer Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP New York, NY Nov 01, 2016 $120,000
Associate Designer The Levy Group, Inc. New York, NY Apr 09, 2016 $115,000
Associate Design Director Mirum Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 16, 2016 $100,000
Associate Designer KPIT Infosystems, Inc. Renton, WA Aug 24, 2016 $90,160
Associate Designer IBM Corporation San Francisco, CA Feb 08, 2016 $88,001 -
$100,001
Associate Designer KPIT Infosystems Inc. Houston, TX Sep 30, 2016 $88,000
Associate Designer KPIT Infosystems Inc. Houston, TX Oct 16, 2016 $88,000
Associate Designer P Devos Designs Inc. New York, NY Sep 20, 2016 $85,700
Associate Designer GBG USA, Inc. Commerce, CA Nov 05, 2016 $85,000
Design Associate V. J. Technologies, Inc. Bohemia, NY Oct 01, 2015 $85,000
Associate Designer LF Distribution International Inc. New York, NY Jan 10, 2016 $64,896
Associate Designer Tiffany & Co. New York, NY Jan 01, 2015 $63,225
Associate Designer Chico's Fas, Inc. Fort Myers, FL Dec 08, 2016 $62,131
Associate Designer/Jean Rag & Bone Industriess LLC NY Oct 01, 2015 $62,000 -
$75,000
Associate Designer J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. New York, NY Aug 16, 2016 $61,402 -
$97,700
Associate Designer, Denim Lane Bryant, Inc. New York, NY Feb 26, 2016 $61,402 -
$83,600
Associate Designer Victoria's Secret Stores LLC New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $61,069 -
$80,000
Associate Color Designer American Eagle Outfitter's Inc. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $60,840
Associate Designer Ralph Lauren Corporation New York, NY Nov 01, 2016 $57,000
Women's Ready-To-Wear Associate Designer 3.1 Phillip Lim, LLC New York, NY Jun 09, 2016 $57,000
Design Associate Coach, Inc. New York, NY Jul 04, 2016 $57,000
Associate Designer DL 1961 Premium Denim Inc. New York, NY Jun 09, 2016 $57,000
Associate Designer The Donna Karan Company LLC New York, NY Sep 14, 2016 $56,375
Associate Designer MOJO Fashions LLC New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $55,000
Associate Designer Mattel HQ, Inc. El Segundo, CA Sep 14, 2016 $55,000

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Top Skills for An Associate Designer

  1. Graphic Design
  2. CAD
  3. Adobe Photoshop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborated with Creative Director and Graphic Designer in the re-branding of an established clothing company.
  • Conducted personal appointments to discuss custom design options, illustrated available selections with CAD-based designs, and provided project-cost estimates.
  • Designed and created graphics for custom clothing and other merchandise using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
  • Initiated and supervise fabric development and sourcing.
  • Managed a small team of assistant designers as well as trained them on companies standards, tech packs and CAD.

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Top 10 Best States for Associate Designers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New York
  5. California
  6. Virginia
  7. Texas
  8. Connecticut
  9. Oregon
  10. Rhode Island
  • (108 jobs)
  • (258 jobs)
  • (237 jobs)
  • (901 jobs)
  • (1,293 jobs)
  • (344 jobs)
  • (468 jobs)
  • (71 jobs)
  • (112 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)

Top Associate Designer Employers

Jobs From Top Associate Designer Employers

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Riot Games Associate Audio Designer (Sound Design) Documentary!

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