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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

  • $46,000

    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 Career Paths

Graphic Artist
Graphic Designer Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Artist Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Artist Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Creative Director Marketing Director
Chief Marketing Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Senior Designer Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Art Director Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Web Graphic Designer Web Design/Development Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Web Graphic Designer User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Web Designer User Experience Designer User Experience Manager
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Designer Senior Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer Art Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Logistics Coordinator Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Designer Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Artist Editor Senior Copywriter
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Digital Marketing Specialist Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Studio Manager Traffic Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Design Specialist Graphic Design Manager
Creative Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Graphic Artist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Graphic Artist 4.0 years
Graphic Designer 3.1 years
Production Artist 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Graphic Artist
Internship 6.3%
Artist 5.9%
Cashier 3.9%
Designer 2.8%
Manager 2.1%
Top Careers After Graphic Artist
Art Director 10.1%
Artist 4.0%
Owner 3.7%
Designer 2.9%
Cashier 2.7%

Do you work as a Graphic Artist?

Graphic Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

49.5%

Female

42.1%

Unknown

8.5%
Ethnicity

White

62.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.3%

French

8.2%

Chinese

5.4%

Mandarin

4.5%

Japanese

4.3%

German

3.3%

Portuguese

2.5%

Russian

2.1%

Italian

2.1%

Cantonese

1.9%

Arabic

1.9%

Korean

1.6%

Greek

1.4%

Tagalog

1.2%

Polish

1.0%

Filipino

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Hebrew

0.6%

Bulgarian

0.6%

Thai

0.6%
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Graphic Artist Education

Schools

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

12.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.7%

Full Sail University

9.0%

School of Visual Arts

7.9%

Academy of Art University

5.8%

University of Phoenix

5.2%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.8%

Art Institute of Atlanta

4.4%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.4%

Art Institute of California - Inland

4.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.0%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

3.8%

International Academy of Design and Technology

3.4%

American InterContinental University

3.4%

Art Institute of Houston

3.3%

University of Central Florida

3.0%

Florida State University

3.0%

Columbia College Chicago

2.9%

Ringling College of Art and Design

2.9%

Northern Illinois University

2.6%
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Majors

Graphic Design

44.6%

Fine Arts

10.9%

Design And Visual Communication

5.7%

Computer Applications

4.7%

Business

4.2%

Animation

3.8%

Communication

3.7%

Photography

3.0%

Computer Science

3.0%

Graphic Communications

2.9%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.9%

Marketing

1.6%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%

Information Technology

1.4%

Journalism

1.3%

Education

1.3%

Digital Media

1.2%

Advertising

1.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.3%

Other

19.8%

Associate

17.8%

Masters

7.0%

Certificate

5.3%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$46,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$29,000
Min 10%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
4.4 years
How much does a Graphic Artist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Graphic Artist in the United States is $46,320 per year or $22 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $29,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $71,000.

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/Designer IW Group, Inc. West Hollywood, CA May 02, 2013 $55,000
Graphic Artist/Motion Designer WPIX, Inc. New York, NY Jan 01, 2011 $55,000
Roxy Designer/Graphic Artist Quiksilver, Inc. Huntington Beach, CA Oct 03, 2011 $55,000
Senior Graphic Artist Burleigh Point Limited Costa Mesa, CA Sep 14, 2015 $55,000 -
$86,000
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 Artist Creative Circle, LLC Los Angeles, CA Jul 05, 2011 $41,740 -
$52,175
Graphic Designer/Print Artist Corner Wines, LLC Plano, TX Jan 11, 2011 $41,740
Graphic Artist Island Gear, LLC Fort Lauderdale, FL May 02, 2011 $41,469

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Top Skills for A Graphic Artist

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Company Logos
  3. Graphic Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Work was mostly done with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and CorelDraw software working with Mac and Windows computers.
  • Designed and Screen-Printed eye-catching gaming glass, company logos and advertising materials.
  • Experience: Project Management/Graphic Artist/Graphic Design
  • Updated company website with newly acquired wine brands and related technical information and producer artwork.
  • Produced soft- and hard-copy presentations from sketches or art direction, ensuring the integrity of the provided research and information.

How Would You Rate Working As a Graphic Artist?

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Top 10 Best States for Graphic Artists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. California
  5. Virginia
  6. Oregon
  7. Maryland
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Nevada
  10. Alaska
  • (66 jobs)
  • (108 jobs)
  • (107 jobs)
  • (672 jobs)
  • (194 jobs)
  • (53 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)

Top Graphic Artist Employers

Jobs From Top Graphic Artist Employers

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