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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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Interactive Designer
Top Careers After Interactive Designer
Hispanic or Latino8.6%
Black or African American0.6%
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Savannah College of Art and Design11.8%
Carnegie Mellon University10.5%
New York University9.6%
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor7.0%
University of Texas at Austin6.1%
Parsons the New School for Design4.8%
Indiana University Bloomington4.8%
Rochester Institute of Technology4.4%
University of Washington3.9%
Academy of Art University3.5%
University of California - San Diego3.5%
Columbus College of Art and Design3.1%
Art Institute of Philadelphia3.1%
Full Sail University3.1%
Rhode Island School of Design3.1%
Massachusetts College of Art and Design3.1%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jan 28, 2016||$190,000|
|Manager of Interaction Design/Ixd||SONY Network Entertainment International LLC||San Francisco, CA||Jun 09, 2015||$163,200|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Mar 30, 2015||$160,000|
|Principal Interaction Designer||Intuit Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jul 20, 2015||$146,280 -
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Aug 17, 2016||$144,200|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Aug 23, 2016||$144,000|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Oct 20, 2016||$143,538|
|Interaction Designer, Staff 2||Samsung Research America, Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Mar 12, 2016||$143,000|
|Interaction Designer||Fireeye, Inc.||Milpitas, CA||May 01, 2016||$140,133 -
|Interaction Designer, Staff 1||Samsung Research America, Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Mar 05, 2016||$140,000|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Sep 13, 2016||$140,000|
|Principal Interaction Designer||Intuit Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Nov 10, 2016||$140,000 -
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Oct 29, 2015||$140,000|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Feb 23, 2015||$115,000|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||May 16, 2016||$115,000 -
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jun 29, 2015||$115,000|
|Director of Interaction Design||Motion Math, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Oct 26, 2015||$115,000|
|Interaction Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Mar 09, 2016||$114,000|
|Interaction Designer, Enterprise Applications (Mobile & WEB)||Vendavo Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Sep 13, 2015||$110,000|
|Interaction Designer III||Yahoo! Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Mar 04, 2015||$110,000 -
|Visual and Interaction Design Lead||IBM Corporation||San Jose, CA||Apr 15, 2015||$88,733 -
|Interaction Designer III||Yahoo! Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Oct 09, 2016||$86,600 -
|Interaction Designer||Daylight Design, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jun 09, 2016||$85,000|
|Interaction Designer||Smart Design LLC||New York, NY||Aug 26, 2015||$85,000|
|Interaction Designer||Daylight Design, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 23, 2015||$85,000|
|Interaction Designer||Automotive Support Group, LLC||Warren, MI||Aug 28, 2015||$83,200|
|Interactive Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Aug 19, 2015||$81,000|
|Interaction Designer II||Frog Design Inc.||New York, NY||Sep 15, 2015||$80,233|
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