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Become A Computer Graphic Artist

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Working As A Computer Graphic Artist

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $52,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Graphic Artist 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 A Computer Graphic Artist

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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Computer Graphic Artist Career Paths

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Graphic Artist 4.4 years
Designer/Artist 4.3 years
Computer Artist 3.9 years
Graphic Designer 3.1 years
Production Artist 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Computer Graphic Artist
Art Director 10.1%
Artist 5.9%
Cashier 5.0%
Internship 3.8%
Animator 2.5%
Top Careers After Computer Graphic Artist
Owner 4.8%
Artist 4.8%
Cashier 3.8%
Designer 3.1%
Manager 3.1%
Instructor 2.8%
Animator 2.5%
Consultant 2.5%

Do you work as a Computer Graphic Artist?

Average Yearly Salary
$52,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$33,000
Min 10%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
WORKSHOPS
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
5.0 years
How much does a Computer Graphic Artist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer Graphic Artist in the United States is $52,974 per year or $25 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $84,000.

Real Computer Graphic Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Computer Graphics Artist Valve Corporation Bellevue, WA Mar 01, 2013 $130,000 -
$250,000
SR. Computer Graphics Visual Effects Artist The Mill Group, Inc. New York, NY Dec 30, 2011 $125,000
3D Computer Graphic Layout Artist Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Oct 01, 2014 $121,946
Computer Graphics (CG) Artist Psyop Inc. CA Jan 01, 2012 $115,000
3D Lead Computer Graphics Artist The Mill Group, Inc. Chicago, IL Sep 01, 2013 $111,030 -
$150,000
Lead Computer Graphics Artist (3D) Stargate Films Inc. South Pasadena, CA Jul 15, 2011 $110,690
3D Computer Animation Graphic FX Artist Supervisor Blur Studio, Inc. CA Mar 18, 2010 $110,000
Computer Graphic Artist Deluxe Media Creative Services Inc. Santa Monica, CA Sep 19, 2016 $104,350 -
$114,785
SR. Computer Graphics Artist Redcar Inc. Culver City, CA Mar 25, 2010 $100,000
SR. Computer Graphics Artist Redcar Inc. New York, NY Mar 25, 2010 $100,000
SR. Computer Graphics Artist Redcar Inc. New York, NY Feb 26, 2010 $100,000
Category D Computer Graphic Layout Artist Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Oct 01, 2011 $95,271
3D Computer Graphics Artist My Active Driveway, Inc. New York, NY Feb 16, 2015 $95,000
Computer Graphic Artist (Senior Modeler) Electronic Arts Inc. Redwood City, CA Sep 20, 2010 $93,369
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Artist The Mill Group, Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2012 $84,781 -
$100,000
Computer Graphic Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Jan 09, 2011 $84,100
Computer Graphic Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Jan 09, 2010 $82,708
Computer Graphic Artist Electronic Arts Inc. Redwood City, CA Oct 01, 2010 $82,004
Computer Graphics Artist (3D Character Modeler) Furious FX, Inc. Burbank, CA Jul 13, 2009 $78,263
Computer Graphic Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Jan 09, 2010 $76,342
Computer Graphic/Technical Artist Electronic Arts Tiburon Orlando, FL Dec 01, 2011 $76,319
3D Lead Computer Graphics Artist The Mill Group, Inc. Chicago, IL Sep 01, 2013 $74,318 -
$150,000
Computer Graphic Artist/Engineer Digital Image, LLC Farmington Hills, MI Sep 17, 2015 $62,000
3D Computer Graphics Visual Effects Artist The Mill Group, Inc. New York, NY Sep 03, 2015 $60,008 -
$80,000
Computer Graphics Artist Psyop Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $60,000
Computer Graphics Artist/Rigger Psyop Productions LLC New York, NY Sep 10, 2013 $60,000
Computer Graphics Artist Psyop Productions LLC CA Mar 22, 2013 $60,000
Computer Graphic Digital Lead VFX Artist Digital Image, LLC Farmington Hills, MI Sep 01, 2011 $58,000
3D Computer Graphics Artist My Active Driveway, Inc. New York, NY Sep 02, 2015 $55,000
Computer Graphic Artist Digital Image, LLC Farmington Hills, MI Jan 15, 2011 $55,000

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Top Skills for A Computer Graphic Artist

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Computer Graphics Programs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Experienced with PageMaker 7.0, QuarkXPress 5.0, Adobe Photoshop CS, and Microsoft Office 2003 Suite.
  • Worked for a Promotional Products Distributor Responsibilities: Graphic design of all customer artwork for printing.
  • Typeset and design utilizing the latest computer graphics programs.
  • Job included creating illustrations, logos, brochures, and graphics for medical, legal and many other forms of publications.
  • MACHINE USED: Linotype-Hell Flatbed Scanner *Linotype-Hell Hercules Processor

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Graphic Artists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. Virginia
  5. Washington
  6. Oregon
  7. Alaska
  8. Georgia
  9. Connecticut
  10. Nevada
  • (41 jobs)
  • (81 jobs)
  • (472 jobs)
  • (140 jobs)
  • (66 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (181 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)

Computer Graphic Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

54.4%

Female

33.8%

Unknown

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

61.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.7%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

42.1%

Chinese

15.8%

Mandarin

15.8%

French

10.5%

Czech

5.3%

Russian

5.3%

Polish

5.3%
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Computer Graphic Artist Education

Schools

University of Illinois at Chicago

5.8%

University of Central Florida

5.8%

New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus

5.8%

University of Missouri - Columbia

5.8%

Pennsylvania State University

5.8%

University of Southern California

5.8%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

5.8%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

5.8%

School of Visual Arts

5.8%

College of New Jersey

4.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.3%

College of Southern Nevada

4.3%

Fullerton College

4.3%

Art Institute of Houston

4.3%

University of Phoenix

4.3%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

San Jose State University

4.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.3%

California Institute of the Arts

4.3%
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Majors

Graphic Design

27.2%

Fine Arts

14.4%

Computer Science

10.5%

Computer Applications

8.2%

Photography

5.6%

Design And Visual Communication

4.9%

Business

4.6%

Education

2.6%

Communication

2.6%

Animation

2.6%

Visual And Performing Arts

2.3%

Management

2.3%

Information Technology

2.0%

Drafting And Design

1.6%

Graphic Communications

1.6%

Marketing

1.6%

Psychology

1.3%

Music

1.3%

Medical Technician

1.3%

Advertising

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.2%

Other

23.7%

Associate

12.0%

Masters

11.2%

Certificate

6.7%

Diploma

0.7%

Doctorate

0.5%
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