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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

  • $72,899

    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
Senior Web Designer Project Manager Product Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Design Director Creative Director
Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
User Interface Designer Interactive Designer Senior Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Creative Services Manager
Creative Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Graphic Designer Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Art Director Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Marketing Consultant Digital Marketing Specialist
Digital Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Interactive Designer Creative Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer User Experience Manager
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Program Manager Marketing Consultant
Head Of Marketing
6 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Design Manager Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
7 Yearsyrs
Interactive Designer Senior Web Designer Creative Director
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Web Designer Creative Director
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Marketing Consultant
Marketing Lead
6 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer Product Designer Project Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Senior Project Manager Marketing Consultant
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Engineer Business Developer
Marketing/Business Development
8 Yearsyrs
User Interface Designer Project Manager Marketing Consultant
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Senior Web Developer Senior Consultant
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer User Experience Architect
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Owner & Designer 5.7 years
Graphic Artist 4.3 years
Custom Designer 3.7 years
Product Designer 3.6 years
Designer/Artist 3.5 years
Lead Designer 3.3 years
Head Designer 3.3 years
Graphic Designer 3.2 years
Designer 3.0 years
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Production Artist 2.9 years
Package Designer 2.9 years
Designer, Printer 2.8 years
Designer/Writer 2.8 years
House Designer 2.7 years
Marketing Designer 2.6 years
Media Designer 2.5 years
Digital Designer 2.4 years
Web Designer 2.3 years
Freelance Designer 2.3 years
Visual Designer 2.0 years
Junior Designer 1.6 years
Design Volunteer 1.3 years
Logo Designer 1.0 years
Top Employers Before
Designer 7.2%
Internship 5.2%
Top Employers After
Designer 5.1%

Visual Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

47.7%

Female

47.0%

Unknown

5.3%
Ethnicity

White

69.5%

Asian

16.5%

Hispanic or Latino

11.1%

Unknown

2.3%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.9%

Chinese

12.0%

French

8.4%

Russian

8.4%

Mandarin

8.4%

Portuguese

6.0%

Korean

4.8%

Hebrew

3.6%

Cantonese

3.6%

Italian

3.6%

Hindi

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

German

1.2%

Dakota

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%

Czech

1.2%

Bengali

1.2%

Polish

1.2%

Shan

1.2%

Arabic

1.2%
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Visual Designer Education

Schools

Academy of Art University

18.2%

Savannah College of Art and Design

13.2%

San Jose State University

7.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

5.5%

Virginia Commonwealth University

5.0%

Parsons the New School for Design

4.5%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.1%

University of Washington

4.1%

Columbia College Chicago

3.6%

New York University

3.6%

Pratt Institute-Main

3.6%

School of Visual Arts

3.2%

San Francisco State University

3.2%

Full Sail University

3.2%

Syracuse University

2.7%

Western Washington University

2.7%

Art Institute of California - Inland

2.7%

University of California - San Diego

2.7%

Otis College of Art and Design

2.3%
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Majors

Graphic Design

39.5%

Fine Arts

11.1%

Design And Visual Communication

9.2%

Computer Applications

5.6%

Communication

4.0%

Photography

3.5%

Interior Design

3.5%

Animation

3.3%

Business

3.1%

Computer Science

2.6%

Advertising

2.1%

Drafting And Design

1.8%

Digital Media

1.7%

Marketing

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Public Relations

1.4%

Entertainment Business

1.3%

Architecture

1.3%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.1%

Engineering

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.3%

Masters

17.2%

Other

15.1%

Associate

8.8%

Certificate

5.1%

Diploma

1.0%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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
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 Jun 08, 2015 $140,000
Brand and Visual Designer Blend Labs, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 29, 2016 $140,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Cambridge, MA Jul 15, 2016 $140,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 27, 2016 $140,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 21, 2016 $131,200
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 09, 2016 $131,200
Visual Designer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Apr 13, 2016 $125,400
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 19, 2015 $125,000
Visual Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 13, 2015 $125,000
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 Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 22, 2015 $95,000
Visual Designer Surveymonkey Inc. Palo Alto, CA Mar 06, 2016 $95,000
Visual Designer Yahoo! Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Feb 26, 2015 $95,000 -
$115,000
Visual Designer Medallia, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Jan 28, 2016 $95,000
Visual Designer Ustwo Studios Inc. New York, NY Feb 26, 2015 $93,500
Visual Designer IBM India Private Limited Englewood Cliffs, NJ Aug 13, 2015 $92,404
Visual Designer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Jan 21, 2016 $74,214 -
$175,400
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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Top Skills for A Visual Designer

CompanyWebsiteUserInterfaceVisualDesignAdobePhotoshopArtDirectionAdobeIllustratorInteractionDesignCreativeConceptsHtmlVideoLogoDesignGraphicDesignUserExperienceWebsiteDesignConceptDevelopmentAdobeIndesignPhotographyCSSUsabilityWebSite

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Top Visual Designer Skills

  1. Company Website
  2. User Interface
  3. Visual Design
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.
  • Developed user interfaces based on high level strategic concepts.
  • Increased office productivity by providing technological support and visual design.
  • Related Software: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator
  • Provide art direction and guidance to layout designers and illustrators.

Top Visual Designer Employers

Visual Designer Videos

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