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Become A Graphics Specialist

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Working As A Graphics Specialist

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Graphics 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 Graphics 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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Graphics Specialist Career Paths

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

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Graphics Manager 4.7 years
Graphic Artist 4.4 years
Graphic Designer 3.1 years
Production Artist 3.0 years
Designer, Printer 2.7 years
Freelance Designer 2.5 years
Graphics Assistant 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Graphics Specialist
Internship 4.9%
Designer 2.6%
Artist 2.5%
Top Careers After Graphics Specialist
Owner 3.0%
Artist 2.5%
Designer 2.3%

Do you work as a Graphics Specialist?

Graphics Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

48.8%

Female

43.0%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

62.5%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

14.6%

Russian

4.2%

Polish

4.2%

Thai

4.2%

Bulgarian

2.1%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Chinese

2.1%

Mandarin

2.1%

Norwegian

2.1%

German

2.1%

Zulu

2.1%

Serbian

2.1%

Japanese

2.1%

Greek

2.1%

Croatian

2.1%
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Graphics Specialist Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

11.0%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

10.6%

University of Phoenix

8.5%

George Mason University

5.9%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.1%

University of Alabama at Huntsville

4.7%

School of Visual Arts

4.2%

Art Institute of Washington

4.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.2%

Full Sail University

4.2%

Art Institute of Atlanta

4.2%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.2%

New York University

3.8%

Columbia College Chicago

3.8%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

3.8%

American InterContinental University

3.8%

Academy of Art University

3.4%

Bowling Green State University

3.4%

Houston Community College

3.4%

San Diego State University

3.4%
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Majors

Graphic Design

36.8%

Fine Arts

8.8%

Business

7.5%

Computer Applications

6.5%

Design And Visual Communication

5.9%

Communication

4.0%

Computer Science

3.2%

Graphic Communications

3.1%

Animation

3.0%

Photography

2.9%

Marketing

2.9%

English

2.3%

Psychology

2.1%

Computer Information Systems

2.1%

Journalism

1.7%

Drafting And Design

1.6%

Management

1.6%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.4%

Information Technology

1.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.7%

Other

20.4%

Associate

15.4%

Masters

10.1%

Certificate

5.8%

Diploma

1.2%

Doctorate

0.3%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$53,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$32,000
Min 10%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
ICF
Highest Paying City
Fresno, CA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.1 years
How much does a Graphics Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Graphics Specialist in the United States is $53,617 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $87,000.

Real Graphics Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Webgl Graphics Specialist Flux Factory, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 02, 2014 $140,000
Computer Graphics Specialist RGB Systems DBA Extron Electronics Anaheim, CA Nov 23, 2015 $92,622
SR. Architectural 3D Graphic Specialist Digital Image Studios Farmington Hills, MI May 28, 2009 $90,000
Motion Graphics Specialist Zenimax Media Inc. Austin, TX Mar 23, 2015 $87,000
Graphics Specialist and Web Developer Affinity Network Solutions, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jan 05, 2016 $83,160
Presentation Graphics Specialist Oliver Wyman, Inc. New York, NY Jan 01, 2011 $68,000
Graphic Specialist Polymeric Imaging, Inc. North Kansas City, MO Oct 01, 2009 $65,000
Graphic Specialist and Web Developer Affinity Network Solutions, Inc. Wheaton, MD Sep 21, 2013 $62,400
Graphic Specialist and Web Developer Affinity Network Solutions, Inc. Wheaton, MD Sep 22, 2010 $62,400
Motion Graphics Specialist Transparent House, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 22, 2016 $62,000
Motion Graphics Specialist Transparent House Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 04, 2014 $56,000
Motion Graphics Specialist Sixdi, Inc. Austin, TX Sep 30, 2013 $55,500 -
$65,500
Graphic Specialist Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P. Houston, TX Aug 25, 2015 $55,000
Graphics Specialist HAVI Global Solutions LLC Downers Grove, IL Aug 31, 2014 $55,000 -
$70,000
Graphics Specialist HAVI Global Solutions LLC Downers Grove, IL Aug 13, 2013 $55,000 -
$65,000
Communication and Graphics Specialist Sysco Food Services of Kansas City, Inc. Olathe, KS Sep 07, 2013 $47,716
Communication and Graphics Specialist Sysco Food Services of Kansas City, Inc. Olathe, KS Sep 25, 2012 $47,716
Graphic Specialist Title Boy Films, Inc. CA Mar 26, 2012 $47,000
Graphic Specialist Title Boy Films, Inc. CA Oct 01, 2012 $47,000
Flexographic Prepress Graphics Specialist Rand-Whitney Industries Corporation Worcester, MA Oct 21, 2013 $46,958
Animation & Motion Graphics Specialist David Digital Holdings Inc. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $46,000
Graphic Specialist Shareworld Learning Center Cupertino, CA Feb 25, 2016 $45,914
Graphic Animation Specialist Mary Nittolo Inc. New York, NY Nov 15, 2010 $42,784
Graphics Specialist GWWO, Inc. Baltimore, MD Nov 06, 2016 $40,040

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Top Skills for A Graphics Specialist

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Company Website
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Learned Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to improve visual appearance of presentations by incorporating design into end product.
  • Lead Graphic Specialist responsible for conceptualizing and coordinating graphic design work required by the Division.
  • Provided creative support in redesign of primary company website.
  • Provided fully formatted proposals, manuals, graphics/overheads, digital-electronic presentations, newsletters/brochures/conference signs, directories and logos.
  • Designed graphics specifically for customers and created layouts using a variety of computer programs.

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Top 10 Best States for Graphics Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. California
  3. New York
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Virginia
  6. Washington
  7. Oregon
  8. Maryland
  9. Alaska
  10. New Jersey
  • (36 jobs)
  • (269 jobs)
  • (200 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (31 jobs)
  • (44 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)

Top Graphics Specialist Employers

Jobs From Top Graphics Specialist Employers

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