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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

  • $67,000

    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 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?

Average Yearly Salary
$67,000
Show Salaries
$45,000
Min 10%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Apple
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 $67,143 per year or $32 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $45,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $98,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Designer Dropbox, Inc. Dec 30, 2015 $190,000
Designer Dropbox, Inc. Jan 19, 2015 $190,000
Designer 2 Microsoft Corporation Nov 07, 2016 $160,000
Designer 2 Microsoft Corporation Jul 09, 2016 $160,000
Designer 2 Microsoft Corporation Jan 04, 2016 $160,000
Designer III Amazon Corporate LLC Feb 16, 2015 $160,000
Children's Designer E. S. Originals, Inc. Sep 30, 2015 $150,000
Designer Yourpeople, Inc. Feb 09, 2015 $150,000
Hi Designer Apple Inc. Sep 16, 2016 $146,100 -
$233,900
Designer Lever, Inc. Nov 07, 2016 $145,725
Platform Designer Fiftythree, Inc. Feb 10, 2015 $145,000
Designer Github, Inc. Jun 14, 2015 $145,000
Designer Ict4 Apple Inc. Sep 13, 2016 $145,000 -
$165,000
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Sep 08, 2015 $77,500
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Sep 29, 2015 $77,500
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Sep 09, 2015 $77,500
Designer Platt Byard Dovell White Architects LLP Aug 18, 2015 $77,500
Rhinestone Designer PS 121, Inc. Feb 06, 2016 $77,400
Solution Designer IBM Inida Private Limited Aug 18, 2015 $77,334
Solution Designer IBM Inida Private Limited Aug 12, 2015 $77,334
Tibco Designer IBM India Private Limited Aug 06, 2015 $77,273
Designer Dalberg Consulting Us LLC Aug 28, 2016 $63,630
Designer Dalberg Consulting Us LLC Sep 10, 2015 $63,630
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Jan 07, 2016 $63,606 -
$94,000
Branded Environments Designer III Perkins + Will, Inc. Feb 04, 2015 $63,500
Designer GBG USA, Inc. Nov 30, 2016 $63,500
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Mar 31, 2016 $63,500
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Aug 19, 2016 $63,357 -
$87,000
Designer Tata Consultancy Services Limited Sep 06, 2016 $63,315 -
$87,000

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Top Skills for A Designer

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Web Content
  3. New 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.
  • Worked in different areas including Collaboration, Document Management, Portal and Web Content Management.
  • Facilitated new product development meetings for the initiation of incoming customer orders for new and enhanced products.
  • Develop detailed design drawings and specifications for naval vessels using computer-assisted drafting (CAD) equipment.
  • Overhauled entire customer service operation to achieve world-class service level status by instilling commitment to excellence and by streamlining business processes.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Designers

  1. Washington
  2. Oregon
  3. Colorado
  4. Idaho
  5. Montana
  6. New York
  7. California
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Georgia
  • (901 jobs)
  • (391 jobs)
  • (528 jobs)
  • (70 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (1,836 jobs)
  • (3,868 jobs)
  • (263 jobs)
  • (791 jobs)
  • (981 jobs)

Designer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 48,573 Designer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Designer Resume

View Resume Examples

Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

53.7%

Female

41.3%

Unknown

5.0%
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

15.4%

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.0%

Parsons the New School for Design

7.9%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

7.2%

Academy of Art University

6.4%

School of Visual Arts

6.1%

Pratt Institute-Main

5.5%

Macomb Community College

4.1%

Rhode Island School of Design

4.1%

Purdue University

3.5%

Art Center College of Design

3.4%

University of Houston

3.3%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

3.1%

Kent State University

3.1%

New York University

3.1%

Art Institute of California - Inland

3.0%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.0%

Syracuse University

3.0%

International Academy of Design and Technology

2.9%

Michigan State University

2.9%
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Majors

Graphic Design

33.2%

Drafting And Design

9.7%

Interior Design

7.5%

Fine Arts

6.9%

Architecture

6.1%

Business

5.4%

Mechanical Engineering

4.4%

Design And Visual Communication

3.8%

Computer Science

2.8%

Computer Applications

2.5%

Electrical Engineering

2.5%

Communication

2.3%

Civil Engineering

1.9%

Cosmetology

1.8%

Marketing

1.7%

Photography

1.6%

Engineering

1.6%

Animation

1.5%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.4%

Management

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.3%

Associate

19.3%

Masters

10.8%

High School Diploma

5.7%

Certificate

5.5%

Diploma

2.2%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.4%
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What Is It Like To Work As A Designer

5.0

Love Designing

December 12, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Designer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Designer?

It is something I enjoy! Something I’m good at! Something I could do as hobby and get paid for .. Show More

What do you NOT like?

That I don’t get to do it more often .. Show More

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