Graphic Design Careers

Graphic designers use their artistic and creative ability to help companies expand their brand and deliver marketing messages to a mass audience.

They are experts in customer psychology when it comes to marketing messages. With a keen eye for design, they know how to use images, color and typeface to create the most captivating message possible. Graphic designers are visionaries who enjoy collaborating with others and experimenting with new ideas and techniques.

What does a graphic designer do?

Graphic designers play a role that is instrumental in helping companies create successful marketing materials for both print and online media. As highly creative and imaginative individuals, graphic designers use images, color, and typeface to convey a message. The scope of their work is wide-ranging and may include creating website banners, logos, billboards, brochures, business cards and more. Graphic artists meet with clients and art directors to learn the vision and scope of the project. They brainstorm with the client and pitch ideas for how to best convey the message. Designers must have the vision to help bring the client’s idea to life. Often, graphic designers only receive verbal requirements or rough sketches and must use that information to create something that meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. They then use software to edit images and apply text in the appropriate layout. From selecting the typeface, font size, placement of text, to choosing the color palette and checking for typos, graphic designers manage the entire creation process from design through publishing.

Some graphic artists specialize in a particular industry. For example, many produce designs for logos, others may create designs for retail product packaging and some may specialize in creating magazine ads. The field is vast, and there are many opportunities for designers to use their talents and advance their careers.

Work Environment

Ad agencies employ graphic artists to work as a part of a team to create marketing messages for their clients. Designers who work for design agencies work on a variety of projects that may differ from day-to-day. One day, they may work with a client to design an ad for a magazine. On a different day, they may work with a client to create a new logo. With such diverse work, graphic designers must have the creativity and skill to come up with an abundance of ideas.

Outside of ad agencies, some graphic designers work in the marketing department of a large corporation to create materials marketing materials for the company. These designers create marketing materials for the corporation and help ensure brand consistency across all marketing campaigns. Their client is typically the marketing manager who gives instruction and guidance on their projects. They may work as a part of a team that includes members of the marketing department, the web design team, and even members of other departments to collaborate on projects.

There is a growing segment of the field where graphic designers work as freelancers who operate their own business. They advertise their services to find clients who are in need of design work. Their clients range anywhere from small businesses to large corporations. Graphic designers who work for themselves tend to have a lot of creative freedom to come up with designs for their clients.

Skills Necessary for a Career in Graphic Design

Creativity and artistic ability rank high on the list of skills required to be a successful graphic designer. Using software or hand drawings, they must be able to take a vision and create a visually appealing design that will appeal to a broad audience. Graphic designers are strategists who help clients develop the most effective way to communicate a message to their customers. They must understand how customers think to create a design that catches their attention and makes them take action. When it comes to collaboration with teammates and clients, designers must have the communication skills to convey their ideas. Because designers use software to create their designs, they must have in-depth knowledge of computers and design software to be successful. Time management and organization are also essential qualities of a great graphic designer. Designers may work on multiple projects at a time each of which may have different deadlines. As such, they must be able to stay on track and deliver quality results within the requested timeframe.

Training & Education Requirements

A degree in graphic design, marketing or other related field is often required to get a job as a graphic designer. A post-secondary degree helps designers learn the necessary skills and some advanced techniques of the trade. Most of the degree programs include instruction on principles of design, website design and printing techniques. These courses are invaluable in helping designers learn every facet of the design field to make them well-rounded designers who can take on just about any project. Due to the creative nature of the field, hands-on experience is invaluable. As such, most graphic artists gain experience through internship opportunities. Internships give designers the chance to work for a corporation under the guidance of more experienced web designers. It is a chance to learn firsthand the skills necessary to be a great web designer. It is also an excellent opportunity to build their portfolio to showcase their work to future employers. Sometimes, these internships turn into full-time jobs with their employers and such positions are a stepping-stone to a great career. As technology evolves, graphic designers must continue their education to keep their skills current. Continuing education also gives graphic designers a chance experiment with new design tools and products.

How much does a graphic designer earn?

Companies will always need marketing and advertising. As such, job prospects for graphic designers will continue to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, jobs for graphic designers are expected to increase four percent from 2016 through 2026. The job outlook is particularly high for designers with specialized computer design skills, user interface design for the web, and usability for the web. Pay can vary by industry, but those graphic designers involved in advertising has a median pay of $49,530 as of May 2017.

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