Where do you want to work?
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 Visual Designer
Top Careers After Visual Designer
Hispanic or Latino11.1%
Black or African American0.6%
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Academy of Art University18.2%
Savannah College of Art and Design13.2%
San Jose State University7.3%
Carnegie Mellon University5.5%
Virginia Commonwealth University5.0%
Parsons the New School for Design4.5%
Fashion Institute of Technology4.5%
Rochester Institute of Technology4.1%
University of Washington4.1%
Columbia College Chicago3.6%
New York University3.6%
School of Visual Arts3.2%
San Francisco State University3.2%
Full Sail University3.2%
Western Washington University2.7%
Art Institute of California - Inland2.7%
University of California - San Diego2.7%
Otis College of Art and Design2.3%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Lead Principal Visual Designer||Nokia USA Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Oct 14, 2016||$180,000|
|Director of Visual Design||Fantasy Interactive Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Sep 16, 2016||$160,000|
|Visual Designer||Life360, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Sep 21, 2015||$150,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Cambridge, MA||Jul 15, 2016||$140,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Aug 05, 2016||$140,000|
|Brand and Visual Designer||Blend Labs, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 29, 2016||$140,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jun 08, 2015||$140,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jul 27, 2016||$140,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||May 08, 2016||$140,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jun 09, 2016||$131,200|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Sep 21, 2016||$131,200|
|Visual Designer||Microsoft Corporation||Redmond, WA||Apr 13, 2016||$125,400|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Aug 21, 2015||$97,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Sep 09, 2016||$97,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Sep 07, 2015||$97,000|
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||New York, NY||Sep 14, 2016||$97,000|
|Visual Designer||Ustwo Studio Inc.||New York, NY||May 01, 2015||$96,000|
|Visual Designer||Blizzard Entertainment Inc.||Irvine, CA||Feb 23, 2015||$95,403|
|Visual Designer||Yahoo! Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Feb 26, 2015||$95,000 -
|Visual Designer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Aug 22, 2015||$95,000|
|Visual Designer||Intel Corporation||Hillsboro, OR||Jan 21, 2016||$74,214 -
|Visual Designer||Ustwo Studio Inc.||New York, NY||Sep 09, 2015||$72,000|
|Visual Designer||Co Everywhere, Inc.||Boston, MA||Sep 01, 2015||$70,000|
|Visual Designer||Le Tote, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Oct 14, 2015||$70,000|
|Visual Designer||Ustwo Studio Inc.||New York, NY||Feb 26, 2015||$70,000|
|Visual Designer||Sid Lee USA, Inc.||New York, NY||May 04, 2015||$67,000|
|Visual Designer||Icon Aircraft, Inc.||Vacaville, CA||Aug 20, 2016||$65,000|
|Visual Designer||ROI DNA, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 26, 2016||$65,000|
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