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Become A Visual Designer

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Working As A Visual Designer

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

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $76,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Visual 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 Visual 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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Visual Designer Jobs

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Visual Designer Career Paths

Visual Designer
User Experience Designer Senior User Experience Designer Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Senior User Experience Designer Creative Director
Marketing Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer Design Consultant Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior User Experience Designer Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Marketing Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Graphic Designer Marketing Manager
Marketing And Operations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer User Experience Architect User Experience Manager
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Owner Art Director
Designation Marketing Director
5 Yearsyrs
User Interface Designer Interactive Designer Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Product Designer Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
User Interface Designer Interactive Designer Product Designer
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Co-Founder Digital Marketing Manager
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Studio Manager Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
User Interface Designer Front End Developer Senior Web Designer
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Communications Manager Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Creative Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Product Designer Design Manager Graphic Design Manager
Creative Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Visual Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Designer, Printer 2.7 years
Media Designer 2.6 years
Marketing Designer 2.5 years
Freelance Designer 2.5 years
Digital Designer 2.2 years
Visual Designer 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Visual Designer
Designer 6.3%
Internship 4.8%
Top Careers After Visual Designer
Designer 4.9%

Do you work as a Visual Designer?

Visual Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

45.1%

Female

41.6%

Unknown

13.3%
Ethnicity

White

52.2%

Asian

17.6%

Hispanic or Latino

17.2%

Black or African American

8.6%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

31.7%

Chinese

13.0%

Mandarin

11.4%

French

9.8%

Russian

5.7%

Portuguese

4.9%

Cantonese

4.1%

Japanese

4.1%

Korean

3.3%

Italian

3.3%

Hebrew

1.6%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Hindi

0.8%

Shan

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Igbo

0.8%

Bengali

0.8%

Thai

0.8%

Urdu

0.8%

German

0.8%
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Visual Designer Education

Schools

Academy of Art University

21.9%

Savannah College of Art and Design

7.6%

San Jose State University

7.6%

Parsons the New School for Design

6.7%

School of Visual Arts

6.3%

San Francisco State University

4.8%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.3%

Full Sail University

4.1%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.1%

University of Washington

3.9%

Art Institute of California - Inland

3.5%

Art Center College of Design

3.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.3%

California College of the Arts

3.0%

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

2.8%

New York University

2.8%

Columbia College Chicago

2.8%

Virginia Commonwealth University

2.6%

Art Institute of Seattle

2.4%

Rochester Institute of Technology

2.2%
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Majors

Graphic Design

42.3%

Design And Visual Communication

10.4%

Fine Arts

9.3%

Computer Applications

6.2%

Communication

3.5%

Interior Design

2.9%

Animation

2.7%

Business

2.6%

Computer Science

2.4%

Advertising

2.4%

Photography

2.3%

Marketing

2.1%

Visual And Performing Arts

2.0%

Graphic Communications

1.8%

Drafting And Design

1.6%

Digital Media

1.2%

Architecture

1.1%

Computer Information Systems

1.1%

Entertainment Business

1.0%

Public Relations

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.4%

Masters

17.0%

Other

14.9%

Associate

8.7%

Certificate

4.8%

Diploma

1.0%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$76,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$48,000
Min 10%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$122,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
2.3 years
How much does a Visual Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Visual Designer in the United States is $76,839 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $48,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $122,000.

Real Visual Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Principal Visual Designer Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 14, 2016 $180,000
Visual Designer Life360, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 21, 2015 $150,000
Senior Visual Designer Real Cadre Company, Inc. New York, NY Jun 09, 2015 $150,000
Senior Visual Designer ROKU, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Feb 22, 2016 $145,000
Senior Visual Designer Paypal Inc. San Jose, CA May 06, 2016 $145,000
Senior Visual Designer A2Z Development Center, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 27, 2015 $145,000 -
$185,000
SR. Principal Visual Designer Veritas Technologies LLC Mountain View, CA May 08, 2016 $145,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA May 08, 2016 $140,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 05, 2016 $140,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 27, 2016 $140,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 08, 2015 $140,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Cambridge, MA Jul 15, 2016 $140,000
Brand and Visual Designer Blend Labs, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 29, 2016 $140,000
Senior Visual Designer IBM India Private Limited Bloomington, IL Jun 29, 2016 $99,144
Senior Visual Designer IBM India Private Limited Bloomington, IL Jul 14, 2016 $99,144
Senior Visual Designer Nimble Storage, Inc. San Jose, CA Feb 02, 2015 $98,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. New York, NY Sep 14, 2016 $97,000
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
Concept Designer/3D Visualization Advantage Technical Resourcing, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 10, 2015 $78,012
Visual Designer Ustwo Studio Inc. New York, NY Feb 26, 2015 $77,500
Mobile Visual Designer IBM India Private Limited Chicago, IL Aug 16, 2015 $76,303 -
$77,604
Data Visualization Designer Kensho Technologies Inc. Boston, MA Apr 21, 2016 $75,800
Visual Designer Elance-Odesk, Inc. Mountain View, CA Jan 02, 2015 $75,000
Visual Designer, Associate Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 18, 2015 $75,000
Visual Designer Kryptnostic Inc. Redwood City, CA Mar 08, 2016 $75,000
Visual Designer Anthony D'Avella, LLC New York, NY Feb 09, 2016 $75,000

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Top Skills for A Visual 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:
  • Created high quality interactive graphics that portray the engineering specifications of products for printed customer literature and the company website.
  • Completed all graphic design for visual/creative departments.
  • Performed photo editing using Adobe Photoshop.
  • Collaborated with developers to create user interface icons and technical illustrations.
  • Brainstormed the art direction, visual style, user interface and storyboard on different platforms.

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Top 10 Best States for Visual Designers

  1. Washington
  2. District of Columbia
  3. California
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Connecticut
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Virginia
  8. Oregon
  9. Georgia
  10. Illinois
  • (497 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (1,908 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (114 jobs)
  • (401 jobs)
  • (493 jobs)
  • (163 jobs)
  • (528 jobs)
  • (389 jobs)

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