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Become A Lead Graphic Designer

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Working As A Lead Graphic Designer

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $64,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Lead 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 Lead 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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Lead Graphic Designer Career Paths

Lead Graphic Designer
Art Director Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Art Director Design Director Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Art Director Director Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Project Manager Marketing Manager
Senior Manager Of Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Project Manager Product Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Owner Site Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing And Operations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Owner Founder Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Graphic Design Manager Creative Services Manager
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Design Manager
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Product Manager Product Development Manager
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Owner Co-Founder Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Studio Manager Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Shipping Supervisor Traffic Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Manager Principal Design Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Communications Manager Marketing Manager/Project Manager Content Manager
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Web Developer Lead User Experience Designer
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager/Graphic Designer Graphic Design Manager
Creative Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Lead Graphic Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Lead Designer 3.2 years
Graphic Designer 3.1 years
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Designer, Printer 2.7 years
Marketing Designer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Lead Graphic Designer
Internship 4.8%
Cashier 2.2%
Designer 1.9%
Artist 1.8%
Top Careers After Lead Graphic Designer
Designer 2.5%
Owner 2.2%
Artist 1.4%

Do you work as a Lead Graphic Designer?

Lead Graphic Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

56.0%

Female

35.8%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

59.8%

Hispanic or Latino

17.2%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

8.6%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.7%

French

9.9%

Mandarin

3.3%

Cantonese

3.3%

Portuguese

3.3%

Japanese

3.3%

Arabic

3.3%

Vietnamese

2.2%

Romanian

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Russian

2.2%

Chinese

2.2%

Polish

2.2%

Hindi

1.1%

Dutch

1.1%

Turkish

1.1%

Armenian

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Serbian

1.1%
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Lead Graphic Designer Education

Schools

Full Sail University

9.8%

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.8%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

7.8%

Art Institute of California - Inland

7.2%

Academy of Art University

6.5%

University of Phoenix

4.9%

International Academy of Design and Technology

4.7%

Arizona State University

4.4%

Texas State University

4.4%

School of Visual Arts

4.1%

Michigan State University

3.9%

San Francisco State University

3.9%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.9%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

3.6%

Art Institute of Seattle

3.6%

University of Washington

3.6%

Art Institute of Houston

3.6%

Fashion Institute of Technology

3.6%

University of the Arts

3.4%

San Jose State University

3.4%
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Majors

Graphic Design

55.4%

Design And Visual Communication

6.7%

Fine Arts

6.7%

Computer Applications

3.9%

Business

3.1%

Communication

2.8%

Animation

2.6%

Graphic Communications

2.5%

Photography

2.4%

Computer Science

2.4%

Marketing

2.1%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.6%

Digital Media

1.5%

Advertising

1.1%

Computer Information Systems

1.0%

Drafting And Design

0.9%

Psychology

0.9%

Entertainment Business

0.8%

Education

0.8%

Information Technology

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.7%

Associate

16.2%

Other

15.3%

Masters

6.6%

Certificate

3.8%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.1%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$64,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$39,000
Min 10%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
ESPN
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Oregon
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Lead Graphic Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Lead Graphic Designer in the United States is $64,268 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $104,000.

Real Lead Graphic Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Graphic Animator (Graphic Designer) Technicolor Inc. Burbank, CA May 19, 2010 $180,000
Graphic Design Lead Airbnb, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 05, 2015 $141,790
Lead Graphic Designer Aquent LLC San Jose, CA Aug 01, 2012 $135,655 -
$156,525
Graphic Designer, Lead Ui/Ux Bonobos, Inc. New York, NY Nov 06, 2013 $125,000
Graphic Designer, Lead Ui/Ux Keep Holdings, Inc. New York, NY Dec 17, 2012 $115,000
Lead Graphic Designer (Creative Direction) Pinnacle Promotions, Inc. Berkeley Lake, GA Nov 17, 2016 $113,360 -
$120,000
Lead Graphic Designer Edge of Reality, Ltd. Austin, TX Dec 12, 2009 $110,000 -
$120,000
Lead Graphic Designer Tunecore, Inc. New York, NY Sep 20, 2012 $110,000
Lead Graphic Designer Hearsay Social San Francisco, CA Nov 19, 2015 $105,000
Lead Graphic Designer Hearsay Social, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 13, 2014 $105,000
Lead Artist/Graphic Designer Electronic Arts Inc. Vista, CA Apr 22, 2010 $104,804
Lead Graphic Designer Pervacio.Inc. Kirkland, WA Aug 10, 2015 $92,976
Lead Graphic Designer Globallogic, Inc. San Jose, CA Jan 08, 2016 $90,867 -
$100,867
Associate Experience Lead, Graphic Design Huge, LLC New York, NY Nov 01, 2011 $90,000 -
$117,000
Graphic Designer/Usability Lead Rocket Lawyer, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2009 $85,000
Graphic Designer/Usability Lead Rocket Lawyer Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2009 $85,000
Lead Graphic Designer Method, Inc. New York, NY Dec 05, 2012 $80,000
Lead Graphic Designer (Ui/Ux) Airbrite Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 11, 2015 $80,000
Lead Graphic Designer Method, Inc. New York, NY Jul 11, 2012 $80,000
Lead Graphic Designer (Ui/Ux) Airbrite Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 08, 2015 $80,000
Lead Graphics Designer Clarice Technologies Pvt. Ltd. San Jose, CA Sep 15, 2014 $75,000
Graphic Design Lead Infosys Limited Palo Alto, CA Sep 19, 2016 $70,000
Lead Graphics Designer Grabber Inc. El Dorado Hills, CA Jul 10, 2015 $67,040
Lead Graphic Designer Vision Builders, LLC Charlotte, NC Nov 15, 2016 $66,165
Leading Graphic Designer Fornax Software Lab, Inc. Washington, DC May 15, 2011 $60,377
Creative Department-Lead Graphic Designer Love 466 Avenue of The Americas, Inc. New York, NY Aug 01, 2011 $59,500
Lead Graphic Designer Mexilink, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 07, 2011 $55,000

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Top Skills for A Lead Graphic Designer

  1. Company Website
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Adobe Photoshop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Redesigned company website with Adobe Muse and develop overall marketing and social media strategy.
  • Enhanced the design and usability of corporate site pages along with its subsidiaries, creating graphic design elements and managing content.
  • Utilized programs :Adobe IllustratorAdobe PhotoshopAdobe BridgeMicrosoft WordMicrosoft ExcelDropbox
  • Develop graphics and layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and maintain online presence.
  • Created a wide variety of print materials such as brochures, rack cards, invitations and large scale graphics.

What is it like to work as a Lead Graphic Designer

5.0

Life of My Design

August 14, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Lead Graphic Designer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Lead Graphic Designer?

The opportunity to learn about a client's business needs and create design solutions that can be tested and measured... Show More

What do you NOT like?

Working for a manager who doesn't understand design... Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Lead Graphic Designers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New York
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Washington
  5. California
  6. Alaska
  7. Virginia
  8. Oregon
  9. New Jersey
  10. Rhode Island
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  • (223 jobs)
  • (1,194 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (317 jobs)
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  • (193 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)

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