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Become A Graphic Artist

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Working As A Graphic Artist

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $47,127

    Average Salary

What Does A Graphic 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 Graphic 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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Graphic Artist jobs

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Graphic Artist Career Paths

Graphic Artist
Web Designer Art Director
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Designer Senior Designer Art Director
Creative Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Account Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Art Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Creative Director Marketing Director
Director Of Sales And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer/Production Senior Graphic Designer Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Account Manager Marketing Consultant
Head Of Marketing
6 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Systems Engineer
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
7 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Office Manager Marketing Coordinator
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Art Director Creative Director
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Creative Director Marketing Director Business Developer
Marketing/Business Development
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Marketing Manager Social Media Manager
Marketing/Social Media Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Media Specialist Media Manager
Media Director
5 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Search Engine Optimizer
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Editor Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer
Senior Graphic Designer
5 Yearsyrs
Web Designer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Commercial Artist 5.2 years
Free Lance Artist 5.1 years
Artist/Illustrator 4.1 years
Graphic Artist 4.0 years
Graphic Technician 3.9 years
Computer Artist 3.6 years
Designer/Artist 3.5 years
Paste Up Artist 3.3 years
Graphic Designer 3.2 years
Lead Artist 3.0 years
Layout Artist 3.0 years
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Multimedia Artist 2.9 years
Production Artist 2.9 years
Ad Designer 2.9 years
Designer, Printer 2.8 years
Artist 2.6 years
Marketing Designer 2.6 years
Media Designer 2.5 years
Digital Designer 2.4 years
Freelance Designer 2.3 years
Visual Designer 2.2 years
Game Artist 2.1 years
Graphics Assistant 2.1 years
Artist Assistant 1.7 years
Design Volunteer 1.3 years
Logo Designer 1.0 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 6.4%
Artist 4.8%
Designer 2.7%
Manager 2.4%
Cashier 2.3%
Top Employers After
Owner 3.5%
Artist 3.1%
Designer 2.9%

Graphic Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

51.9%

Female

46.2%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

79.9%

Hispanic or Latino

11.2%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.5%

French

8.9%

Mandarin

4.5%

Chinese

4.1%

Japanese

3.5%

Russian

2.9%

German

2.9%

Cantonese

2.5%

Italian

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Korean

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Greek

1.6%

Filipino

1.3%

Tagalog

1.3%

Bulgarian

1.0%

Thai

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Czech

0.6%

Turkish

0.3%
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Graphic Artist Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

13.3%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

11.1%

Full Sail University

8.3%

University of Phoenix

6.2%

School of Visual Arts

6.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

6.0%

Fashion Institute of Technology

5.5%

Academy of Art University

4.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.5%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

3.6%

American InterContinental University

3.5%

Art Institute of Atlanta

3.4%

Florida State University

3.2%

Syracuse University

3.1%

University of North Texas

3.1%

Michigan State University

3.1%

Art Institute of California - Inland

3.0%

George Mason University

3.0%

Ball State University

3.0%

University of Alabama

2.8%
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Majors

Graphic Design

43.2%

Fine Arts

10.3%

Design And Visual Communication

5.6%

Business

4.5%

Computer Applications

4.3%

Communication

4.0%

Animation

3.5%

Computer Science

3.4%

Photography

3.3%

Graphic Communications

2.9%

Marketing

1.9%

Computer Information Systems

1.8%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.6%

Journalism

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Information Technology

1.4%

Digital Media

1.4%

Psychology

1.3%

English

1.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.8%

Other

20.4%

Associate

16.5%

Masters

8.1%

Certificate

5.6%

Diploma

1.2%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Real Graphic Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Graphic Artist/Designer (VFX Supervisor) Technicolor Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jan 28, 2011 $210,000
Head Graphic Artist Fox Digital Enterprises, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 28, 2016 $146,090
3D Graphic Artist Valve Bellevue, WA Nov 18, 2015 $100,000 -
$170,000
Principal Graphic Artist Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Jan 03, 2013 $99,143
Senior Graphic Artist Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Jan 03, 2011 $93,000
Graphic Artist Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $90,000
Principal Graphic Artist Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Oct 30, 2013 $89,000
Graphic Artist Buck Design, Inc. New York, NY Feb 01, 2014 $85,000
Graphic Artist ALKI David Productions, Inc. Beverly Hills, CA Mar 11, 2015 $83,200
Graphic Artist Ca-AVRS, Inc. Petaluma, CA Oct 01, 2012 $82,500
Graphic Motion Artist Eclipse Advertising, Inc. Burbank, CA Sep 11, 2014 $75,000
Graphic Artist XYZ Graphics, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 26, 2016 $72,800
Artist-Graphic-Interactive Marketing (Reef) VF Outdoor Inc. Carlsbad, CA Apr 15, 2013 $72,000
3D Graphic Artist Spectral Labs Incorporated San Diego, CA Sep 06, 2012 $56,000
Graphic Artist/Motion Designer WPIX, Inc. New York, NY Jan 01, 2011 $55,000
Senior Graphic Artist Burleigh Point Limited Costa Mesa, CA Sep 14, 2015 $55,000 -
$86,000
Graphic Artist/Designer IW Group, Inc. West Hollywood, CA May 02, 2013 $55,000
Roxy Designer/Graphic Artist Quiksilver, Inc. Huntington Beach, CA Oct 03, 2011 $55,000
Graphic Artist Streetrays, Inc. Pflugerville, TX Sep 08, 2013 $55,000
Graphic Artist Buck Design, Inc. New York, NY Jan 02, 2014 $54,000
Graphic Artist Dmpro, Inc. Burbank, CA Apr 20, 2016 $43,618
Graphic Design Artist Purity Cosmetics San Jose, CA Oct 01, 2011 $43,180
Graphic Artist Computer Task Group, Inc. Morrisville, NC Jan 09, 2016 $43,000
Graphic Designer & Artist Tetris Online, Inc. Urban Honolulu, HI Oct 15, 2011 $42,500
Graphic Designer/Print Artist Corner Wines, LLC Plano, TX Jan 11, 2011 $41,740
Graphic Artist Creative Circle, LLC Los Angeles, CA Jul 05, 2011 $41,740 -
$52,175
Graphic Artist Island Gear, LLC Fort Lauderdale, FL May 02, 2011 $41,469

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Top Skills for A Graphic Artist

AdobePhotoshopCompanyWebsiteCompanyLogosArtDirectionLayoutDesignAdobeIllustratorBrochuresGraphicDesignPostersNewspaperADSBusinessCardsAdobeIndesignPhotographyCustomerServiceMacVideoT-ShirtsPromotionalMaterialsQuarkLogoDesign

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Top Graphic Artist Skills

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Company Website
  3. Company Logos
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Work in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and In Design.
  • Edited photos and images for company website.
  • Designed company logos and brands, brochures, business cards, apparel and web pages.
  • Managed special projects and sections, including art direction, page content, visual styles, work distribution.
  • Confer with clients to discuss and determine layout design.

Top Graphic Artist Employers