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Become A Graphic Designer

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Working As A Graphic Designer

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $45,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Graphic 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 Graphic 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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Graphic Designer jobs

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Graphic Designer Career Paths

Graphic Designer
Production Manager Account Executive Public Relations
Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Assistant Director Editor
Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Art Director
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer Art Director
Creative Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Photographer, Editor Producer Digital Producer
Digital Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Account Manager Marketing Consultant
Head Of Marketing
6 Yearsyrs
Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
7 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Office Manager Marketing Coordinator
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Marketing Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Consultant
Marketing Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Marketing Specialist
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Director General Manager Business Developer
Marketing/Business Development
8 Yearsyrs
Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager Search Engine Optimizer
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Web Design/Development Web Producer Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager General Manager Account Executive
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer
5 Yearsyrs
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Graphic Designer Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    50.2%
  • Male

    47.3%
  • Unknown

    2.5%

Ethnicity

  • White

    76.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    11.8%
  • Asian

    9.0%
  • Unknown

    1.9%
  • Black or African American

    0.6%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    48.2%
  • French

    10.2%
  • Chinese

    5.8%
  • Mandarin

    5.2%
  • German

    4.3%
  • Japanese

    4.2%
  • Korean

    3.1%
  • Russian

    2.9%
  • Italian

    2.9%
  • Portuguese

    2.8%
  • Arabic

    2.6%
  • Cantonese

    2.2%
  • Vietnamese

    1.0%
  • Hindi

    0.9%
  • Polish

    0.9%
  • Greek

    0.7%
  • Turkish

    0.6%
  • Hebrew

    0.6%
  • Urdu

    0.5%
  • Swedish

    0.4%
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Graphic Designer

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Real Graphic Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director of Graphic Design F5 Create Inc. Houston, TX Jul 29, 2016 $150,000
Graphic Designer Bazmark INQ LLC New York, NY Apr 07, 2016 $142,500
Graphic Designer Zaah Holdings, Inc. New York, NY Oct 13, 2016 $142,126
Graphic Design Lead Airbnb, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 05, 2015 $141,790
Graphics Designer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Dec 29, 2016 $141,000 -
$151,300
Graphic Designer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 02, 2016 $140,000 -
$160,000
Graphic Designer Moxtra, Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 09, 2016 $140,000 -
$160,000
Graphic Designer Paypal, Inc. San Jose, CA Dec 27, 2016 $130,000
Graphic Designer McKinsey & Company, Inc. United States New York, NY Aug 15, 2015 $126,138
Graphic Designer Twitter, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 15, 2016 $125,000
Manager, Graphic Design The Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 21, 2016 $125,000 -
$140,000
Creative/Graphics Designer Net Esolutions Corporation McLean, VA Jan 10, 2016 $125,000
Graphic Designer (User Interface Designer) Twitter, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 27, 2015 $125,000
Graphic Designer Korean News of Chicago Inc. Lincolnwood, IL Jun 22, 2016 $54,350
Graphic Designer Korean News of Chicago Inc. Lincolnwood, IL Mar 18, 2016 $54,350
Graphic Designer 7Th Art Real Estate LLC New York, NY Sep 05, 2016 $54,340
Graphic Designer Highrise Consulting Inc. Bethesda, MD Jan 09, 2016 $54,283
Graphic Designer The Wall Street Times Inc. New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $54,262
Graphic Designer Rho Consulting Corp San Diego, CA Jan 07, 2016 $54,262
Graphic Designer Columbia International College Inc. New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $54,262
Graphic Designer TAAI Management USA Inc. New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $54,262
Graphic Designers Korean Journal N Texas LLC Dallas, TX Mar 08, 2016 $41,870
Graphic Designer SBJ, LLC Boise, ID Sep 03, 2015 $41,740 -
$50,088
Graphic Designer KLUB Europa of Brooklyn New York, NY Oct 21, 2015 $41,740
Graphic Designer United Booming Floor & Cabinet NY Jan 09, 2016 $41,740
Graphic Designer Crunch Dynasty LLC Richmond, VA Sep 15, 2015 $41,740
Graphic Designer Man Personal Care LLC Pelham, NY May 28, 2016 $41,740 -
$54,262
Graphic Designer Coatl Capital LLC New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $41,740
Graphic Designer Rich On Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 06, 2016 $41,740 -
$62,610

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Top Skills for A Graphic Designer

CompanyWebsiteCompanyLogosAdobePhotoshopBrochuresSampleLayoutsAdobeIllustratorGraphicDesignProjectsPostersArtDirectionBusinessCardsAdobeIndesignProductPhotographyCorporateIdentityDesignConceptsAdobeCreativeSuiteWebsiteDesignPromotionalMaterialsT-ShirtsVideoCustomerService

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Top Graphic Designer Skills

  1. Company Website
  2. Company Logos
  3. Adobe Photoshop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created custom graphics for advertisements and the company website Photographed all merchandise
  • Develop graphics and layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and Internet websites.
  • Utilize programs such as Adobe Photoshop to design, create, and composite graphic design elements for website development.
  • Design brochures, newsletters, packaging, collateral, and signage.
  • Recruited to create designs, concepts, and sample layouts based on knowledge of layout principles and aesthetic design concepts.

Top Graphic Designer Employers

Graphic Designer Videos

Day in the Life: Graphic Designer

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