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Become A Designer

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Working As A Designer

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $65,000

    Average Salary

What Does A 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 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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Designer Jobs

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Designer Career Paths

Designer
Design Engineer Project Manager Product Manager
Product Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager
Director Of Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Owner Art Director Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Owner Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Information Technology Consultant Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Production Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Owner Art Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Terminal Manager Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Product Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer Product Designer
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Artist Editor Senior Copywriter
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Shipping Supervisor Traffic Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Artist Senior Graphic Designer
Marketing And Design Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Graphic Design Manager
Creative Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Designer?

Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

51.1%

Female

39.4%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

58.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Asian

11.3%

Black or African American

10.4%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.7%

French

10.5%

Chinese

7.4%

Mandarin

6.6%

Italian

5.3%

German

4.6%

Japanese

3.5%

Portuguese

3.2%

Korean

2.7%

Russian

2.5%

Arabic

2.5%

Cantonese

2.2%

Carrier

1.5%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Hindi

1.2%

Polish

0.9%

Hebrew

0.7%

Turkish

0.6%

Tagalog

0.6%

Persian

0.4%
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Designer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

16.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.3%

Parsons the New School for Design

6.6%

Academy of Art University

6.0%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

5.7%

School of Visual Arts

5.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.8%

Macomb Community College

4.5%

University of Phoenix

4.5%

Rhode Island School of Design

4.4%

University of Houston

3.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.6%

Purdue University

3.4%

New York University

3.2%

University of Cincinnati

3.2%

Art Center College of Design

3.2%

Syracuse University

3.1%

Michigan State University

3.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.1%

Kent State University

3.0%
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Majors

Graphic Design

30.7%

Drafting And Design

10.2%

Fine Arts

7.3%

Interior Design

7.2%

Business

6.8%

Architecture

5.5%

Mechanical Engineering

5.1%

Design And Visual Communication

3.5%

Computer Science

3.1%

Electrical Engineering

2.8%

Communication

2.4%

Computer Applications

2.3%

Civil Engineering

1.9%

Engineering

1.8%

Marketing

1.8%

Cosmetology

1.6%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.6%

Education

1.5%

Photography

1.5%

Animation

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.9%

Other

19.5%

Associate

15.5%

Masters

11.7%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

1.3%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$65,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$44,000
Min 10%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$97,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Designer in the United States is $65,579 per year or $32 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $44,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $97,000.

Real Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Designer Dropbox, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 19, 2015 $190,000
Designer Dropbox, Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 30, 2015 $190,000
Designer 2 Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Jul 09, 2016 $160,000
Designer 2 Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Jan 04, 2016 $160,000
Designer III Amazon Corporate LLC East Palo Alto, CA Feb 16, 2015 $160,000
Designer 2 Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Nov 07, 2016 $160,000
Children's Designer E. S. Originals, Inc. New York, NY Sep 30, 2015 $150,000
Designer Yourpeople, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 09, 2015 $150,000
Hi Designer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 16, 2016 $146,100 -
$233,900
Designer Lever, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 07, 2016 $145,725
Platform Designer Fiftythree, Inc. New York, NY Feb 10, 2015 $145,000
PC Board Designer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 15, 2016 $145,000 -
$168,200
Designer Ict4 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 13, 2016 $145,000 -
$165,000
Rhinestone Designer PS 121, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 06, 2016 $77,400
Solution Designer IBM Inida Private Limited Piscataway, NJ Aug 12, 2015 $77,334
Solution Designer IBM Inida Private Limited Piscataway, NJ Aug 18, 2015 $77,334
Tibco Designer IBM India Private Limited San Diego, CA Aug 06, 2015 $77,273
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Pleasanton, CA Aug 13, 2016 $77,085 -
$94,500
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Atlanta, GA Mar 31, 2016 $77,000
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Alpharetta, GA Jan 06, 2016 $77,000
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Atlanta, GA Sep 01, 2015 $77,000
Brand Designer Redbubble Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 03, 2016 $63,939 -
$72,000
Designer AKQA, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 05, 2015 $63,939 -
$90,000
Designer AKQA, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 10, 2015 $63,939 -
$90,000
Vfx-Designer First Person Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 05, 2015 $63,939
Designer Dalberg Consulting Us LLC New York, NY Aug 28, 2016 $63,630
Designer Dalberg Consulting Us LLC New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $63,630
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited San Antonio, TX Jan 07, 2016 $63,606 -
$94,000
Designer GBG USA, Inc. New York, NY Nov 30, 2016 $63,500

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Top Skills for A Designer

  1. Graphic Design
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. Business Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided design directions to external graphic design studios/ designers.
  • Design advertisements using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
  • Helped to analyze operational data and develop a business development plan focusing on North America market.
  • Constructed layouts in collaboration with three other designers to enhance magazine readership experience.
  • Traveled monthly to Asia and China reviewing sample development process including CAD drawings, materials, and final product.

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Top 10 Best States for Designers

  1. Washington
  2. Colorado
  3. Oregon
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Georgia
  6. Michigan
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Arkansas
  10. California
  • (901 jobs)
  • (528 jobs)
  • (391 jobs)
  • (368 jobs)
  • (981 jobs)
  • (536 jobs)
  • (798 jobs)
  • (69 jobs)
  • (100 jobs)
  • (3,868 jobs)

Top Designer Employers

Jobs From Top Designer Employers

Designer Videos

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

Web Designer Career Outlook (The Web Designer's Journey)

Career Advice on becoming a Textile Designer by Nicola B (Full Version)

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