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Become A Creative Director & Designer

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Working As A Creative Director & Designer

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $110,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Creative Director & 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 Director & 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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Art Director 4.2 years
Creative Director 3.9 years
Creative Manager 3.2 years
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Creative Lead 2.8 years
Visual Designer 2.3 years
Top Careers Before Creative Director & Designer
Art Director 13.4%
Designer 6.9%
Internship 2.5%
Instructor 1.9%
Top Careers After Creative Director & Designer
Designer 2.8%
Owner 2.8%
Principal 2.2%

Do you work as a Creative Director & Designer?

Creative Director & Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

54.6%

Female

36.4%

Unknown

9.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.2%

Hispanic or Latino

17.2%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.4%

Italian

12.1%

French

10.6%

Cantonese

6.1%

Portuguese

4.5%

Chinese

4.5%

German

4.5%

Japanese

4.5%

Korean

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Arabic

3.0%

Khmer

1.5%

Vietnamese

1.5%

Hebrew

1.5%

Carrier

1.5%

Thai

1.5%
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Creative Director & Designer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

9.7%

School of Visual Arts

8.3%

Parsons the New School for Design

7.6%

Savannah College of Art and Design

7.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

6.3%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

6.3%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

5.6%

New York University

4.9%

Art Center College of Design

4.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.5%

Rhode Island School of Design

4.5%

Arizona State University

4.2%

Full Sail University

4.2%

Academy of Art University

3.8%

Otis College of Art and Design

3.8%

Syracuse University

3.5%

Columbus College of Art and Design

2.8%

Kent State University

2.8%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

2.8%

University of Kansas

2.8%
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Majors

Graphic Design

49.2%

Fine Arts

10.1%

Design And Visual Communication

7.3%

Business

4.6%

Marketing

3.5%

Photography

3.2%

Communication

3.2%

Computer Applications

2.2%

Graphic Communications

2.0%

Computer Science

1.9%

Advertising

1.8%

Animation

1.4%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.3%

Journalism

1.2%

Interior Design

1.2%

Education

1.2%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.2%

Public Relations

1.2%

Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

58.0%

Other

18.4%

Associate

9.9%

Masters

8.7%

Certificate

3.4%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$110,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$65,000
Min 10%
$110,000
Median 50%
$110,000
Median 50%
$110,000
Median 50%
$110,000
Median 50%
$110,000
Median 50%
$110,000
Median 50%
$110,000
Median 50%
$186,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Redmond, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.2 years
How much does a Creative Director & Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Creative Director & Designer in the United States is $110,537 per year or $53 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $65,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $186,000.

Real Creative Director & Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Creative Director, Interaction Design R/Ga Media Group Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $190,000 -
$210,000
Creative Design Director United States Luggage Company, LLC Hauppauge, NY Sep 04, 2015 $177,500
Creative Design Director United States Luggage Company, LLC Hauppauge, NY Apr 09, 2015 $177,500
Creative Director of Experience Design Havas Worldwide New York Inc. New York, NY Dec 12, 2014 $170,000 -
$190,000
Creative Desig Director United States Luggage Company I, LLC Hauppauge, NY Sep 04, 2012 $160,000
Creative Design Director United States Luggage Company I, LLC Hauppauge, NY Jan 02, 2012 $160,000
Creative Director, Visual Design Crispin Porter & Bogusky, LLC Miami, FL Aug 23, 2013 $144,000
Creative Director, Visual Design Crispin Porter & Bogusky, LLC Miami, FL Aug 25, 2013 $144,000
Creative Director, Visual Design Crispin Porter & Bogusky, LLC Groveland, FL Oct 01, 2010 $130,000
Director of Creative Design Swappy, Inc. Providence, RI May 25, 2015 $126,000
Creative Director, Industrial Design Designworksusa, Inc. Parksdale, CA Feb 29, 2016 $125,000
Creative Director & Designer Wearable Experiments Inc. New York, NY Oct 27, 2016 $125,000
Director, Creative Design Make-Up Art Cosmetics Inc. New York, NY Aug 23, 2010 $120,000
Creative Director/Curator-Technology & Design The Sapling Foundation New York, NY Nov 14, 2016 $120,000
U.S. Creative Director Game Design Gameloft New York, NY Jun 10, 2015 $112,000
Creative Director, Industrial Design Ammunition, LLC San Francisco, CA Feb 18, 2015 $88,483
Creative Director/Designer Quietfx LLC New York, NY Aug 15, 2015 $87,500 -
$200,000
Creative Director/Lead Designer Quietfx, LLC New York, NY Aug 15, 2013 $87,500 -
$200,000
Design & Creative Director Yamileth Beepers Corp Doral, FL Apr 21, 2014 $62,610
Design and Creative Director Yamileth Beepers Corp Doral, FL Jul 19, 2012 $62,610
Creative Director and Designer Wearable Experiments, LLC New York, NY Sep 15, 2014 $61,069

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Top Skills for A Creative Director & Designer

  1. Company Website
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Creative Department
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Headed up efforts targeted at refreshing DabKick image including design of marketing materials and refreshing the company website.
  • Directed and collaborated with graphic designers, animators, and illustrators to ensure projects were delivered on time and professionally.
  • Managed staff and directed creative department for software development company.
  • Used Adobe Photoshop to design digital images for websites, print, and t-shirts.
  • Design and deliver high quality work that reflects the organization corporate identity across the soccer community.

How Would You Rate Working As a Creative Director & Designer?

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Top 10 Best States for Creative Directors & Designer

  1. California
  2. Georgia
  3. Washington
  4. New York
  5. Oregon
  6. Utah
  7. New Jersey
  8. Illinois
  9. New Mexico
  10. Massachusetts
  • (741 jobs)
  • (351 jobs)
  • (138 jobs)
  • (479 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (172 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)

Top Creative Director & Designer Employers

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Jobs From Top Creative Director & Designer Employers

Creative Director & Designer Videos

How to become an Art Director | by Designer @JonPhenom

Nike Talent Presents: Day in the Life with Nike Design / Andreas Harlow

What I Do - Dave Hall - Creative Director

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