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Become A Lead Designer

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Working As A Lead Designer

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $99,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Lead 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 Lead 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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Lead Designer Career Paths

Lead Designer
Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager
Product Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Art Director Design Director Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Art Director Director Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Staff Design Engineer Senior Designer
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Shipping Supervisor Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Project And Design Lead Senior Designer Senior User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project And Design Lead Senior Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Terminal Manager Traffic Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Production Manager Product Development Manager
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Design Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Lead User Experience Designer
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Graphic Design Manager
Creative Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Communications Manager Content Strategist
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Lead Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Principal Designer 4.9 years
Designer/Artist 4.3 years
Senior Designer 4.2 years
Designer 3.1 years
Lead Designer 3.0 years
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Marketing Designer 2.5 years
Freelance Designer 2.5 years
Contract Designer 2.4 years
Visual Designer 2.3 years
Junior Designer 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Lead Designer
Designer 20.8%
Internship 6.3%
Draftsman 2.7%
Manager 2.4%
Consultant 2.4%
Developer 2.4%
Top Careers After Lead Designer
Designer 13.7%
Owner 4.2%
Consultant 3.3%
Manager 2.7%
Internship 2.6%

Do you work as a Lead Designer?

Lead Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

65.0%

Female

24.8%

Unknown

10.2%
Ethnicity

White

59.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Asian

11.4%

Black or African American

10.2%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.1%

French

9.4%

Japanese

5.8%

Portuguese

5.4%

Mandarin

4.0%

Carrier

3.6%

Chinese

3.6%

German

3.6%

Russian

3.1%

Italian

3.1%

Korean

2.2%

Cantonese

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Hindi

1.8%

Dutch

1.3%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Serbian

0.9%

Latvian

0.4%

Gujarati

0.4%
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Lead Designer Education

Schools

Full Sail University

7.0%

Savannah College of Art and Design

7.0%

Arizona State University

6.3%

Purdue University

6.3%

Macomb Community College

5.8%

Academy of Art University

5.7%

University of Houston

5.7%

University of Phoenix

5.5%

University of Texas at Austin

5.2%

University of Washington

4.9%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.9%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%

Parsons the New School for Design

4.0%

Houston Community College

4.0%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.0%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.0%

New York University

4.0%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.0%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.0%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

3.8%
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Majors

Graphic Design

27.0%

Mechanical Engineering

8.9%

Business

8.3%

Drafting And Design

7.8%

Fine Arts

6.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.3%

Computer Science

5.2%

Interior Design

4.4%

Design And Visual Communication

3.6%

Architecture

3.4%

Computer Applications

3.4%

Communication

2.4%

Engineering

2.3%

Marketing

1.9%

Computer Engineering

1.7%

Animation

1.7%

Education

1.6%

Photography

1.5%

Management

1.5%

Civil Engineering

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.2%

Other

18.1%

Masters

15.3%

Associate

12.3%

Certificate

3.3%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$99,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$67,000
Min 10%
$99,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Median 50%
$99,000
Median 50%
$147,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Menlo Park, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does a Lead Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Lead Designer in the United States is $99,909 per year or $48 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $67,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $148,000.

Real Lead Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Design Planning Lead Jpmorgan Chase & Co. San Francisco, CA Jul 21, 2014 $190,000
Lead E & I (Electrical & Instrumentation) Pdms Designer Orion Project Services LLC New Orleans, LA May 01, 2015 $187,200
Lead E & I (Electrical & Instrumentation) Pdms Designer Orion Project Services LLC New Orleans, LA Mar 02, 2015 $187,200
Lead Designer Tesla Motors, Inc. Hawthorne, CA Nov 21, 2016 $180,000 -
$190,000
Lead Designer 72Andsunny Partners LLC Los Angeles, CA May 01, 2013 $180,000
Lead Designer 72Andsunny Partners LLC Los Angeles, CA Apr 01, 2013 $175,000
Lead Designer 72Andsunny Partners LLC Vista, CA Apr 07, 2014 $165,000
Design Lead-Nike Global Football NIKE, Inc. Beaverton, OR Nov 01, 2016 $160,000
Design Lead-Nike Global Football NIKE, Inc. Beaverton, OR Aug 17, 2015 $160,000
Design Lead Zendesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 03, 2016 $160,000
Lead Designer Vector Engineering, Inc. Greenwood Village, CO Jan 20, 2014 $159,930 -
$177,700
Lead Designer Byte Inc. New York, NY Feb 11, 2015 $155,000
Design Lead Blue Jeans Network, Inc. Mountain View, CA Dec 01, 2014 $155,000
Visual Design Lead Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 08, 2016 $124,200
Lead Designer, Console Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 31, 2013 $123,000
Lead Experience Designer Thoughtworks, Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 20, 2016 $122,700
Lead Experience Designer Thoughtworks, Inc. Chicago, IL Aug 22, 2016 $122,700
Lead Designer Leitner-Wise Manufacturing, LLC Alexandria, VA Apr 20, 2015 $120,661
Lead Designer Teespring, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 25, 2014 $120,000 -
$140,000
Lead Designer IDEO LP Chicago, IL Sep 07, 2015 $120,000
Lead Designer-Exterior Calty Design Research, Inc. Ann Arbor, MI Sep 08, 2016 $119,848
Interaction Design Lead IDEO LP Cambridge, MA Aug 29, 2016 $94,000 -
$114,000
Lead Designer Globallogic, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 27, 2015 $93,891 -
$123,891
Lead Designer North American Lighting, Inc. Farmington Hills, MI Sep 10, 2015 $93,850 -
$103,000
Audio Design Lead Valve Corporation Bellevue, WA Jan 02, 2015 $92,976 -
$175,000
Lead Designer Globallogic, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 27, 2015 $92,500 -
$122,500
Lead, Design (SR Research Designer) S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. Racine, WI Sep 01, 2013 $92,250
Design Lead Fitbit, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 21, 2016 $91,957

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Top Skills for A Lead Designer

  1. Graphic Design
  2. Design Solutions
  3. Business Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed internal graphic design agency to support clients visual communication needs for exhibits and displays.
  • Support engineers by providing new or alternative design solutions and contribute to product development decisions.
  • Partner with account management, business development, strategists and communications.
  • Handled all operational functions, including marketing, project development and management, customer service, sales and business administration.
  • Designed and created structural layout for products which included materials and specifications for production.

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Top 10 Best States for Lead Designers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. California
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Virginia
  5. Oregon
  6. Connecticut
  7. Michigan
  8. Georgia
  9. Alaska
  10. New Jersey
  • (130 jobs)
  • (1,798 jobs)
  • (26 jobs)
  • (379 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)
  • (81 jobs)
  • (183 jobs)
  • (489 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)

Top Lead Designer Employers

Jobs From Top Lead Designer Employers

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