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Become A Creative Designer

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Working As A Creative Designer

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $71,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Creative 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 A Creative 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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Creative Designer Career Paths

Creative Designer
Senior Designer Creative Director Vice President
Marketing Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Creative Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Senior Web Designer Senior User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Lead Designer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Owner Art Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Design Manager Art Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Design Manager Graphic Design Manager
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Production Manager Product Development Manager
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Design, Development Front End Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Co-Founder Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Owner Senior Vice President Executive Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Senior Web Designer
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Manager Co-Manager Visual Merchandising Manager
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Production Manager Print Production Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Marketing Manager Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Front End Developer User Experience Designer Graphic Design Manager
Creative Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Creative Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Designer/Artist 4.3 years
Graphic Designer 3.1 years
Designer 3.1 years
Creative Designer 3.0 years
Designer, Printer 2.7 years
Media Designer 2.6 years
Marketing Designer 2.5 years
Freelance Designer 2.5 years
Visual Designer 2.3 years
Digital Designer 2.2 years
Top Careers Before Creative Designer
Designer 7.6%
Internship 6.1%
Cashier 1.8%
Top Careers After Creative Designer
Designer 8.3%
Internship 3.3%
Owner 2.6%
Artist 1.9%

Do you work as a Creative Designer?

Average Yearly Salary
$71,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$44,000
Min 10%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Bellevue, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Creative Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Creative Designer in the United States is $72,009 per year or $35 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $44,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $116,000.

Real Creative Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Creative Designer Faraday&Future Inc. Gardena, CA May 10, 2016 $150,000
Lead Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Jan 12, 2016 $125,015
Lead Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Feb 20, 2015 $125,000
Senior Creative Program Designer General Motors Company CA Aug 22, 2013 $125,000
Creative Designer Lead Disney International Employment Services, Inc. Glendale, CA Nov 15, 2015 $118,580
SR. Creative Program Designer General Motors Company CA Sep 04, 2015 $118,008
Creative Program Designer General Motors Company CA Jun 26, 2015 $118,008
Creative Technology Designer Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development, Inc. Glendale, CA Apr 12, 2016 $117,500
Senior Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Aug 25, 2016 $108,335
SR. Creative Program Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Aug 28, 2015 $108,000
Creative Designer Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. Glendale, CA Oct 01, 2014 $107,187
Senior Creative Program Designer Onstar Corporation CA Apr 18, 2014 $102,000
Senior Creative Program Designer General Motors Company CA Apr 18, 2014 $102,000
Senior Creative Designer, Manager Rosetta Marketing Group, LLC San Francisco, CA Jan 11, 2015 $101,700
Creative Program Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Sep 02, 2013 $89,868
Senior Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Jul 09, 2016 $89,660
Creative Designer Innovative Business Group Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 01, 2016 $88,130
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Sep 09, 2016 $88,008
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Apr 09, 2016 $88,008
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Jul 09, 2016 $88,008
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Oct 01, 2014 $84,264
Creative Designer Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. Bay Lake, FL Sep 01, 2015 $83,750
Designer, Logo Creative Viacom International, Inc. New York, NY Sep 21, 2013 $72,100
Associate Creative Designer Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. Glendale, CA Sep 02, 2013 $71,543
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Jul 02, 2015 $70,692
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Oct 01, 2014 $70,692
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Sep 16, 2015 $70,500
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Aug 23, 2016 $70,500
Creative Designer General Motors Company Warren, MI Aug 23, 2016 $70,056

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Top Skills for A Creative Designer

  1. Company Website
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. Company Logos
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Redesigned and maintained company websites.
  • Design a variety of projects utilizing Microsoft Office, and Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator.
  • Created company logos for internal online sites to be marketed commercially.
  • Accomplished creative director with advanced level copywriter and senior level graphic design skills.
  • Recognized by Vice President of Creative for overall art direction and design of customer facing holiday advertisement.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Creative Designers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Washington
  4. Virginia
  5. Connecticut
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Oregon
  8. New Jersey
  9. Georgia
  10. Alaska
  • (100 jobs)
  • (239 jobs)
  • (247 jobs)
  • (296 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (124 jobs)
  • (201 jobs)
  • (423 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)

Creative Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

43.8%

Female

43.8%

Unknown

12.4%
Ethnicity

White

57.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Asian

11.3%

Black or African American

10.5%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

42.9%

French

17.1%

Japanese

7.1%

Chinese

4.3%

Mandarin

4.3%

Portuguese

2.9%

German

2.9%

Russian

2.9%

Korean

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%

Vietnamese

1.4%

Albanian

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Occidental

1.4%

Persian

1.4%

Norwegian

1.4%

Tamil

1.4%
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Creative Designer Education

Schools

Academy of Art University

9.5%

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.5%

Fashion Institute of Technology

9.1%

School of Visual Arts

7.9%

Parsons the New School for Design

6.2%

Pratt Institute-Main

6.2%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

5.8%

College for Creative Studies

5.0%

University of Phoenix

5.0%

Iowa State University

4.5%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

4.1%

University of North Texas

3.3%

University of Cincinnati

3.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.3%

Full Sail University

3.3%

International Academy of Design and Technology

3.3%

Michigan State University

2.9%

Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale Inc

2.9%

Syracuse University

2.5%

New York University

2.5%
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Majors

Graphic Design

42.4%

Fine Arts

10.7%

Business

5.8%

Design And Visual Communication

5.5%

Communication

5.5%

Marketing

3.7%

Computer Applications

3.2%

Photography

3.1%

Advertising

3.1%

Animation

3.0%

Public Relations

1.8%

Graphic Communications

1.8%

English

1.5%

Computer Science

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Entertainment Business

1.2%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Interior Design

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.8%

Other

17.4%

Masters

10.5%

Associate

10.0%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Top Creative Designer Employers

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