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Become A Graphic Design Specialist

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Working As A Graphic Design Specialist

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $49,747

    Average Salary

What Does A Graphic Design Specialist 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 Design Specialist

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 Design Specialist Career Paths

Graphic Design Specialist
Marketing Specialist Brand Manager Creative Director
Advertising Director
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Design Manager Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Graphic Designer Graphic Design Manager Art Director
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Web Graphic Designer Senior Graphic Designer Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Graphic Designer Graphics Specialist Senior Graphic Designer
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer, Marketing Marketing Manager Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Digital Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Creative Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Graphic Design Manager Creative Services Manager Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Web Design/Development Web Producer Producer/Project Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Communications Manager Communications Director
Marketing And Communication Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
7 Yearsyrs
Web Graphic Designer Art Director Marketing Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Writer And Editor Social Media Manager
Marketing/Social Media Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer, Marketing Senior Graphic Designer Video Editor
Media Director
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Operations Manager Terminal Manager
Traffic Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager Creative Director
User Experience Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Writer And Editor Content Manager
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Graphic Artist 4.3 years
Graphic Designer 3.1 years
Top Careers Before Graphic Design Specialist
Internship 4.1%
Designer 3.5%
Artist 1.9%
Top Careers After Graphic Design Specialist
Owner 2.6%
Volunteer 2.3%

Do you work as a Graphic Design Specialist?

Graphic Design Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

49.8%

Male

48.6%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

62.2%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.8%

French

9.1%

Portuguese

3.0%

Chinese

3.0%

Japanese

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Italian

3.0%
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Graphic Design Specialist Education

Schools

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

11.6%

Savannah College of Art and Design

10.9%

Full Sail University

7.8%

University of Phoenix

7.0%

Art Institute of Houston

5.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.7%

University of Central Florida

4.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.7%

George Washington University

3.9%

School of Visual Arts

3.9%

Bowling Green State University

3.9%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.9%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

3.9%

International Academy of Design and Technology

3.9%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.9%

Indiana State University

3.9%

Art Institute of Colorado

3.1%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

3.1%

Ferris State University

3.1%

University of Cincinnati

3.1%
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Majors

Graphic Design

47.6%

Fine Arts

7.2%

Design And Visual Communication

6.0%

Communication

5.9%

Business

5.8%

Computer Applications

4.6%

Graphic Communications

3.0%

Marketing

2.6%

Computer Information Systems

2.3%

Photography

2.0%

Computer Science

1.8%

Digital Media

1.7%

Animation

1.4%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.3%

Public Relations

1.3%

Education

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Psychology

1.2%

Drafting And Design

1.0%

English

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.2%

Other

16.4%

Associate

15.7%

Masters

8.4%

Certificate

6.0%

Diploma

1.0%

Doctorate

0.2%

License

0.1%
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Real Graphic Design Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Presentation and Graphic Design Specialist Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. San Jose, CA Mar 21, 2016 $133,000
Computer Graphics Design Specialist 42 Entertainment, LLC Burbank, CA Nov 06, 2012 $70,000
Computer Design Specialist-Motion Graphics Seismic Productions, LLC West Hollywood, CA Sep 25, 2013 $70,000
Graphic Design Specialist PGIM, Inc. Newark, NJ Aug 26, 2016 $65,000 -
$84,400
Graphic & Interactive Design Specialist Insurance Services Office, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Sep 08, 2015 $60,000 -
$65,500
Graphic Designer/UI Specialist Laahk Enterprise, Inc. Somerville, NJ Dec 08, 2016 $60,000
Graphic Designer Specialist Comprehab, Inc. Gastonia, NC Sep 01, 2015 $60,000
Graphic Designer Specialist Comprehab, Inc. Gastonia, NC Oct 08, 2016 $60,000
Graphic & Interactive Design Specialist Insurance Services Office, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Feb 09, 2016 $60,000 -
$65,500
Computer Design Specialist-Motion Graphics Seismic Productions, LLC West Hollywood, CA Sep 25, 2010 $58,500
Graphic Designer, Data Visualization Specialist Netpop Research, LLC San Francisco, CA Apr 15, 2015 $58,198
Graphic Design Specialist University of Notre Dame Du Lac Notre Dame, IN Mar 10, 2016 $55,899
Graphic Design and Marketing Specialist Webpass, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 01, 2010 $55,000
Graphic Design Specialist University of Notre Dame Du Lac Notre Dame, IN Dec 24, 2014 $54,803
Marketing/Graphic Design Specialist Vital One Health Plans Direct LLC Miami Lakes, FL May 04, 2016 $52,000 -
$56,000
Graphic Design Specialist Transparent House Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 04, 2014 $52,000
Graphic Design Specialist Catchpoint Systems, Inc. New York, NY Sep 06, 2013 $50,398
Graphic Design Specialist Lead Grace Church of Arvada Arvada, CO Apr 01, 2015 $47,792
Graphic Design Specialist The Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County South Bend, IN Aug 26, 2013 $41,740 -
$42,784
Graphic Design Specialist The Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County South Bend, IN Dec 04, 2012 $41,740
Ux/Graphic Design Specialist Adadapted Inc. Ann Arbor, MI Jan 09, 2016 $40,000
Graphic Design Specialist Mashon, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2012 $40,000

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Top Skills for A Graphic Design Specialist

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Company Website
  3. Web Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Utilize Constant Contact and Adobe Photoshop to create an average of 5 to 15 e-campaigns on a weekly basis.
  • Supported national organization with re-design of company website and re-branding of company image from initial concept to end product.
  • Directed graphic/web design logistics within the organization which included creating marketing content and ensuring illustrations/photographs are aligned with catalog specifications.
  • Handled internal corporate design work and various projects including brochures, informational posters and presentations.
  • Work closely with clients to identify specifications, develop customized layouts/designs, gain approval for digital artwork.

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Top 10 Best States for Graphic Design Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New York
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Alaska
  5. Washington
  6. Virginia
  7. Oregon
  8. California
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Georgia
  • (79 jobs)
  • (403 jobs)
  • (123 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (98 jobs)
  • (225 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (656 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (209 jobs)

Top Graphic Design Specialist Employers

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