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Become A Designer/Artist

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Working As A Designer/Artist

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $52,307

    Average Salary

What Does A Designer/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 Designer/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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Designer/Artist Videos

Day in the Life: Video Game Designer

Extra Credits - So You Want To Be a Game Designer - Career Advice for Making Games

How to become a game designer

Designer/Artist Jobs

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Designer/Artist Career Paths

Designer/Artist
Creative Director Freelance Copywriter Senior Copywriter
Brand Strategist
5 Yearsyrs
Art Director Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
9 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer Art Director
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Artist Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer/Illustrator Graphic Design Consultant Senior Graphic Designer
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Digital Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Art Director Design Director Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Game Designer Producer Freelance Producer
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Artist Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Creative Director Marketing Consultant
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer/Illustrator Senior Graphic Designer Video Editor
Media Director
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Manager Project Manager/Design Manager
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer Product Developer
Senior Product Developer
8 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer User Experience Designer User Experience Architect
User Experience Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Marketing Manager Communications Manager
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Designer/Artist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Owner & Designer 6.0 years
Graphic Artist 4.3 years
Designer/Artist 4.0 years
Head Designer 3.4 years
Designer 3.0 years
Creative Designer 3.0 years
Production Artist 2.9 years
Freelance Designer 2.6 years
Designer, Printer 2.6 years
Artist 2.6 years
Media Designer 2.6 years
Marketing Designer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Designer/Artist
Artist 12.6%
Internship 8.1%
Designer 6.7%
Volunteer 5.0%
Cashier 5.0%
Assistant 4.3%
Server 3.3%
Manager 2.9%
Top Careers After Designer/Artist
Artist 9.8%
Designer 6.3%
Owner 4.3%
Internship 3.3%

Do you work as a Designer/Artist?

Designer/Artist Demographics

Gender

Female

52.7%

Male

45.0%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

8.8%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.7%

Italian

10.2%

Chinese

8.2%

Korean

6.1%

German

4.1%

Russian

4.1%

Cantonese

4.1%

Japanese

4.1%

French

4.1%

Mandarin

4.1%

Arabic

4.1%

Swedish

2.0%

Danish

2.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Ukrainian

2.0%

Venetian

2.0%

Norwegian

2.0%

Polish

2.0%
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Designer/Artist Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

16.5%

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.8%

Academy of Art University

6.8%

Columbia College Chicago

5.3%

Virginia Commonwealth University

5.3%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

5.3%

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

4.5%

University of Phoenix

4.5%

University of Kansas

4.5%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.8%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.8%

Kirkwood Community College

3.8%

Rhode Island School of Design

3.8%

Indiana University Bloomington

3.8%

Art Institute of Houston

3.8%

Syracuse University

3.0%

University of North Texas

3.0%

School of Visual Arts

3.0%

Art Institute of California - Inland

3.0%

Art Institute of Atlanta

3.0%
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Majors

Graphic Design

34.6%

Fine Arts

21.7%

Photography

4.2%

Animation

4.2%

Business

3.6%

Communication

3.4%

Design And Visual Communication

3.2%

Interior Design

3.2%

Theatre

2.5%

Computer Applications

2.5%

Apparel And Textiles

2.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.1%

Computer Science

1.9%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.9%

Entertainment Business

1.5%

Drafting And Design

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.5%

Marketing

1.5%

Elementary Education

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.2%

Other

22.7%

Masters

13.2%

Associate

12.1%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Designer/Artist Videos

Day in the Life: Video Game Designer

Extra Credits - So You Want To Be a Game Designer - Career Advice for Making Games

How to become a game designer

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Part Time
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Real Designer/Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
CAD Artist G-III Leather Fashions, Inc. New York, NY Dec 21, 2015 $70,000
SR. CAD Artist Carole Hochman Design Group, Inc. New York, NY Aug 04, 2015 $68,000
CAD Artist G-III Leather Fashions, Inc. New York, NY Jan 30, 2014 $67,500
Print Designer and CAD Artist Charles Komar & Sons, Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2014 $60,050
Artistic Designer Cybeye, Inc. Torrance, CA Nov 01, 2015 $60,000
Multi-Media Design Artist Los Angeles Sa-Rang Community Church Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2014 $50,025
Multi-Media Design Artist Los Angeles Sa-Rang Community Church Los Angeles, CA Feb 24, 2016 $49,858
Designer/Artist Meryl Diamond Ltd New York, NY Sep 18, 2013 $48,000
Design Artist Big Red Button Entertainment, Inc. El Segundo, CA Jun 23, 2015 $47,819
CAD Artist Carole Hochman Design Group, Inc. New York, NY Sep 20, 2013 $45,000
CAD Artist Carole Hochman Design Group, Inc. New York, NY Nov 19, 2015 $45,000
Multi-Media Design Artist Los Angeles Sa-Rang Community Church Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2011 $44,411
Print Designer and CAD Artist Charles Komar & Sons Inc. New York, NY Aug 31, 2011 $43,000
Industrial Design Artist Digital Mapping, Inc. Huntington Beach, CA Oct 02, 2012 $42,931
CAD Textile Artist Matrix International Textile Inc. Commerce, CA May 21, 2015 $42,037
CAD Artist Charles Komar & Sons, Inc. Jersey City, NJ May 16, 2016 $42,000
Industrial Design Artist Digital Mapping, Inc. Huntington Beach, CA Oct 01, 2015 $40,801
CAD Artist Ultra Fabrics New York, Inc. DBA Think Fabrics New York, NY Aug 26, 2014 $40,000
CAD Artist NGN New York LLC New York, NY Aug 26, 2013 $40,000

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Top Skills for A Designer/Artist

  1. Web Design
  2. Birthday Parties
  3. Adobe Photoshop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • web design logos mostly on FLASH.
  • Worked with Adobe Photoshop, pencil, and pen to design and produce custom tattoo artwork for customers.
  • Educated users in operations resulting in improved efficiency and customer service within the office.
  • Provided quick turn-around of Illustrator files with strict sizing and preparation requirements.
  • Communicate with customers and sales representatives to ensure details of each layout are accurately depicted.

How Would You Rate Working As a Designer/Artist?

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Top 10 Best States for Designer/Artists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New York
  3. Washington
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Virginia
  6. California
  7. Oregon
  8. Connecticut
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Georgia
  • (107 jobs)
  • (975 jobs)
  • (288 jobs)
  • (246 jobs)
  • (342 jobs)
  • (1,616 jobs)
  • (133 jobs)
  • (72 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (458 jobs)

Top Designer/Artist Employers

Jobs From Top Designer/Artist Employers

Designer/Artist Videos

Day in the Life: Video Game Designer

Extra Credits - So You Want To Be a Game Designer - Career Advice for Making Games

How to become a game designer

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