Graphic Design Careers

Graphic designers develop art for businesses and work with several different mediums, with many graphic designers now utilizing computers to create digital images.

Most graphic designers work on websites, but there is still the need for physical graphics as well.

While being artistic is one of the main requirements of a graphic designer, communication is equally important. To come up with appropriate images, graphic designers must understand exactly what their clients want and convey the best way to meet this goal. A good designer is willing to go back and forth with a client, sharing his or her expertise but not forcing his or her will on the client.

Designers must understand the market as well, which means researching marketing trends. You must have a creative mindset and be willing to explore new ideas and styles to succeed as a graphic designer. More information about starting a career in graphic design is noted in the following sections.

What does a graphic designer do?

Sometimes there is confusion surrounding what responsibilities are held by a graphic designer. Graphic designers are part of a marketing team, but they are not the only members. Typically, a graphic designer is not responsible for coming up with ideas.

Clients approach graphic designers with an idea in mind. The graphic designer takes what the client wants and comes up with a plan to turn the client’s vision into reality. Graphic designers provide different types of images, typefaces and colors to help spread the message.

Graphic designers work on a few different projects. Some examples of smaller projects include making website banners and logos. Brochures and business cards count as small projects as well. Larger projects include running advertising campaigns and creating billboards.

Some companies hire a designer to create physical graphics for business meetings. Many presenters like to include multiple visual elements for important presentations, like pitching a new product or service.

Depending on the scope of the project and the needs of the client, the graphic designer may be brought in to help with brainstorming. Most designers go through multiple models and projections before the client settles on a finalized project. These initial designs are not the completed projects, but small samples of what the final project is going to look like once it has been completed.

While graphic designers deal primarily in images, many projects involve a small amount of text. Sometimes this is just a motto or company phrase under the image, other times it a few sentences to help augment what is on display in the graphic. A good graphic designer must be comfortable selecting typeface and font size, as well as aligning the text with the image so the graphic does not detract from the text and vice versa.

It is not uncommon for graphic designers to focus on a particular area. Some only work on large-scale projects, while others create packages for products or graphics used in magazine advertisements.

Work Environment

Graphic designers have the option of either working as part of a team in an ad agency or working alone. Many freelance designers work remotely from their homes. While this is more comfortable for many designers, working alone means you take on additional responsibilities.

With an ad agency, you do not have to worry about finding clients. On your own, you must handle all client meetings as well as advertising your services. While this is more work, you have additional freedoms like setting your own work schedule and choosing which clients you work with on a continued basis.

Some designers are employed as part of a marketing team for a large company. These designers commonly work in teams, with each member focusing on a different aspect of a project. Most of these projects involve making marketing materials, including physical and digital ads. Marketing teams commonly work with managers and presenters in the company to create small graphics to help in business meetings.

Marketing teams are not made up solely of designers. Most teams include web designers and creative heads from other departments. Marketing researchers sometimes join the team as well, helping to advise designers and give a better idea of who the project is intended to reach.

Skills Necessary for a Career in Graphic Design

Graphic design involves multiple skills. To be successful, creativity and artistic talents are two of the most important of these skills. Graphic designers must be comfortable with their chosen medium, whether that involves making hand drawings or using computer software to create images. Good designers know how to research their chosen market.

Designers must be able to effectively communicate their vision to clients, as well as take feedback from their clients. Designers do not always have the luxury of working on projects they are personally interested in and this cannot detract from the quality of work. Even if you do not have a strong interest in your chosen project, you must give it all your effort and listen to what the client wants.

Communication is even more important if you are working as part of a team. You may think your vision for a project is better than the original proposal, but if you are working with a separate style compared to everyone else, your project is going to look disjointed once it is finished.

Being adaptable is an important skill for designers as well. This is especially important in the early stages of the project. Many projects exist where designers end up combining multiple proposals to create a whole new project. Designers must be comfortable adapting to new technology and design techniques.

Training and Education Requirements

Education requirements for a career in graphic design vary depending on who you work with and which company employs you. If you are a freelancer, you technically do not have any requirements. Clients do respond better if you include some sort of credentials, such as a degree in graphic design or marketing.

Becoming certified in printing techniques or website design looks good on a resume. For most clients, experience is the main requirement to hire a designer. If you are just starting out, consider an internship with a marketing firm or ad agency to build up your experience.

How Much Does a Graphic Designer Earn?

Graphic designers are frequently in high demand. Advertising is always important for businesses, and many businesses now have markets for both print media and online content. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts the demand for graphic designers will continue to rise, with a 2016 report estimating a four percent increase in design careers over the next ten years.

The amount you make depends on your experience level and how many projects you are comfortable working. Designers who work with a marketing team or ad agency have an average salary of nearly $50,000 annually, according to data from 2017.