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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

  • $64,588

    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 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)

Designer Jobs

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Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

55.7%

Female

41.2%

Unknown

3.1%
Ethnicity

White

58.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Asian

11.6%

Black or African American

10.3%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.3%

French

9.1%

Chinese

8.1%

Mandarin

6.9%

Italian

5.4%

German

4.8%

Portuguese

3.4%

Japanese

3.4%

Korean

2.9%

Cantonese

2.4%

Russian

2.1%

Carrier

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Hindi

1.5%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Hebrew

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Turkish

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Gujarati

0.6%
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Designer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

19.6%

Savannah College of Art and Design

13.0%

University of Phoenix

4.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.7%

Parsons the New School for Design

4.6%

Syracuse University

4.4%

Rhode Island School of Design

4.0%

School of Visual Arts

4.0%

Michigan State University

3.8%

Academy of Art University

3.8%

University of Houston

3.6%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

3.5%

Iowa State University

3.5%

Purdue University

3.4%

Pratt Institute-Main

3.4%

Macomb Community College

3.4%

Pennsylvania State University

3.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.2%

New York University

3.1%

Drexel University

3.0%
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Majors

Graphic Design

28.3%

Drafting And Design

11.6%

Business

7.2%

Fine Arts

6.9%

Interior Design

6.1%

Mechanical Engineering

6.0%

Architecture

5.0%

Computer Science

3.4%

Electrical Engineering

3.3%

Design And Visual Communication

3.3%

Communication

2.6%

Computer Applications

2.4%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Engineering

2.1%

Civil Engineering

1.9%

Marketing

1.9%

Industrial Technology

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Management

1.4%

Photography

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.6%

Other

20.3%

Associate

15.6%

Masters

12.0%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

1.3%

Doctorate

0.8%

License

0.3%
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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)

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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 Nov 07, 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 Jul 09, 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
Designer Github, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 14, 2015 $145,000
PC Board Designer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 15, 2016 $145,000 -
$168,200
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 Jan 06, 2016 $77,000
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Atlanta, GA Sep 01, 2015 $77,000
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Atlanta, GA Mar 31, 2016 $77,000
Designer AKQA, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 05, 2015 $63,939 -
$90,000
Vfx-Designer First Person Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 05, 2015 $63,939
Designer AKQA, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 10, 2015 $63,939 -
$90,000
Brand Designer Redbubble Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 03, 2016 $63,939 -
$72,000
Designer Dalberg Consulting Us LLC New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $63,630
Designer Dalberg Consulting Us LLC New York, NY Aug 28, 2016 $63,630
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited San Antonio, TX Jan 07, 2016 $63,606 -
$94,000
Branded Environments Designer III Perkins + Will, Inc. Chicago, IL Feb 04, 2015 $63,500

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Top Skills for A Designer

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Web
  3. Product Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed illustrations using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to explain medical and pharmaceutical concepts.
  • Added an extensive web-based monitoring and availability analysis capability.
  • Investigated, analyzed and identified product development trends or opportunities and presented strategies to customers.
  • Selected components, prepared design layouts, modified existing designs and integrated system elements to satisfy customers and productivity requirements.
  • Produced design documentation drawings in AutoCAD, and insured timely and accurate updates.

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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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