Graphic designers work on the websites you visit, the advertisements you see, the movies you watch, the games you play, branding & rebranding of a company, and the packaging & logos of the products you buy. And while an eye for design can’t necessarily be taught, most graphic designers have attended an art or design school to get where they are in their careers.
Graphic designing requires creativity, and the road to career success looks different for everyone. After some thought, you’re starting to consider pursuing a graphic design career path. But before you commit the time and money it takes to acquire the formal training many employers require, you want a better idea of the potential job prospects will look like after graduation.
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Whether you’re a beginner who’s curious about how to become a graphic designer or a seasoned professional looking to transition into a different field, keep reading to explore the most popular career paths for graphic designers in 2022. This blog is all about a career in graphic design and how you can pursue one.
WHO IS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
Graphic designers are visual communicators who create concepts using specialized graphic design software. They communicate ideas to inspire, inform, or captivate consumers through both physical and virtual art forms that include images, words, or graphics. By constant communication with clients, customers, and other designers, they ensure that their designs accurately reflect the desired message and effectively express information.
Graphic designers combine art and technology to communicate ideas by using a variety of design elements to achieve artistic or decorative effects. They develop the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports. This usually starts out by producing rough illustrations of design ideas, either by hand sketching or by using a computer program.
1. JOB PROFILE OF GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
Job Description: Graphic designers create nice pictures and graphics that are published in printed or electronic formats for educational, entertaining or advertising purposes.
Salary: According to BLS, the mean annual wage for graphic designers in the U.S. in 2018 is $54,680.
Job Security: Decent since good graphic designers are in high demand right now.
Job Satisfaction: Good if you love to be creative at work.
Work-Life Balance: Good since you will have free weekends and also don’t have to work at nighttime as a graphic designer.
Physical or Mental Work: Mentally demanding.
Future Outlook: Decent since good graphic designers will always be needed in the future.
Requirements: You need a degree for becoming a graphic designer.
2. JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
Advertising art director
Interior and spatial designer
Graphic designers may also be employed by advertising firms, design companies, publishers and other businesses that need designing professionals. Most designers can earn bachelor’s or post-graduation degrees, these education programs help them to develop better technical skills, and they are able to create portfolios of their work that can help them bag easy employment after education.
3. SALARY STRUCTURE OF GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
According to BLS, the mean annual wage for graphic designers in the U.S. in 2018 is $54,680.After a good experience of around 6 Years in the industry, the salary of a designer gets stagnated to a level of $54,680 p.a. However, with the advent of the internet, there is a huge scope of freelance designing for multiple clients even while working for a specific company. You can also create, run & manage your own campaigns on sites like Instagram, WordPress, Blogger, etc. and earn extra revenue by hits, likes & visitors.
4. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
Graphic Designers create visual concepts to communicate information. They create everything from posters and billboards to packaging, logos and marketing materials. Graphic Designers use elements such as shapes, co
lors, typography, images and more to convey ideas to an audience. Graphic Designers can work in-house, creating designs specifically for one brand, or at an agency or as a freelancer, where they work with a variety of clients.
The role of Graphic Designers varies depending on where they work. Some tasks that designers may work on include selecting photos and typefaces, developing layouts, and designing logos. Graphic Designers may specialize in a particular area, such as motion graphics or print media.
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5. EDUCATION REQUIREMENT FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
To be successful in the graphic design industry, you must have an eye for style, overall layout, and function that is shaped by a deep understanding of composition, typography, color theory, and graphic design principles. In addition to your artistic ability, you must also be highly skilled in the use of a variety of computer software packages, including design software, photo editing software, and layout software.
Other key skills required for graphic designer jobs include:
Excellent communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.
Technical skill and proficiency with specialized graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Detail-oriented with strong project management skills.
Ability to think beyond traditional design concepts and generate design ideas that inspire and captivate consumers and satisfy the requirements of clients.
Knowledge of HTML and basic coding used in web design.
6. GRAPHIC DESIGN PROGRAM FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
Motion graphics, animation, design theory, project management and portfolio development are some of the main objectives in Graphic Design program. Courses like the Business of Digital Media, Interactive Publishing and Digital Effects teach a broad base of knowledge that would be useful all across business and marketing fields.
Advanced Typography and Advanced 3D Modeling are examples of specialized courses that provide more specific skills valued in the industry. Overall, students in these programs should be equipped with technical design skills as well as useful project management and general business knowledge.
If you don’t see yourself specializing in one area, you should remain open to all types of graphic design jobs to get experience and learn more about what you like and what you’d rather not spend your time on. The industry is versatile enough to give you plenty of choices.
TYPES OF CAREERS AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Graphic Designers have a range of responsibilities depending on their specialty and workplace. Typically, they will meet with clients or art directors to determine design needs. Using design software, they will combine images, illustrations, and text to bring an idea to life. They may also need to present their ideas and incorporate feedback from colleagues or clients into subsequent drafts. Some of the main careers as a graphic designer are:
1. LOGO DESIGNER
Logo designers develop visually compelling graphics or symbols to represent a company, product, brand or service. They research the target demographic to gain a strong understanding of what symbols they find appealing and memorable. This designer then chooses distinct colors and shapes that relate to and establish the brand identity of the company or product. Logo designers must also be aware of other designs in the marketplace so they are not copying or recreating a trademarked logo.
The job requirements of a logo designer will vary based on the company, but typically an associate or bachelor's degree in graphic design is required. Strong illustration abilities and an understanding of consumer advertising can be considered in place of a degree. Logo designers can work on a freelance basis or full-time for an advertising agency, both of which are likely to require a strong portfolio.
2. PHOTO EDITOR
Photo editors work with real-life images to adjust, color-correct or combine images to create the desired final image. Image editing can be as simple as adjusting the lighting and color balance on a photograph or as drastic as changing garment colors or adding logo information or banners to the image.
An in-depth knowledge of Photoshop and other photo-editing software is required. Many companies may prefer an associate or bachelor's degree in photography, graphic design or product design, but it may not be required for candidates who possess expert knowledge of photo-editing software and have a strong portfolio of work.
3. USER INTERFACE (UI) DESIGNER
The user interface designer is responsible for ensuring every webpage or operational step of the final product follows the user experience (UX) designer's intent. They typically have basic coding skills and are able to develop the designer's vision by working with software programming experts. UI designers make webpages, advertisements and electronic programming easy for the consumer to interact with. They must ensure that the UX design is feasible and well-executed.
A minimum of a two-year degree in UI design, graphic design or computer programming is commonly required for UI designers. However, some employers may prefer that prospective employees have a bachelor's degree. A solid background in all three specialties is beneficial for combining a strong design appearance with a functional technological interface.
4. USER EXPERIENCE (UX) DESIGNER
UX designers make products, services and websites enjoyable and accessible for users. They consider the intended end-use of the product and how the product feels to the consumer to ensure it is a user-friendly product or service. UX designers most commonly work in web design to make websites visually pleasing and easy for customers to navigate. They also work with other technology-based products, including software, gaming systems, computers and automobiles to develop visual aesthetics and graphics. UX designers ensure the product has a logical flow from one step to the next. They test the product under normal usage and resolve any inconsistencies in the appearance or flow.
UX design roles typically require a two-year degree in UX design, graphic design or computer programming. Knowledge of all three specialties is beneficial for combining a strong design appearance with a functional product. Some employers may prefer candidates to have a bachelor's degree.
5. WEB DESIGNER
Web designers assist in developing websites by creating individual web pages, designing page layouts and developing graphics for the website. They are also responsible for designing the navigation menus, drop-down options and the website's structure. They may have coding and programming skills, which would allow them to completely develop the website on their own. Web designers partner with the website's brand or marketing team to determine what content is included on each page and where to place graphics, as well as to ensure continuity as consumers browse the website.
As online sales and advertising continue to grow, employers are seeking web designers with a strong knowledge of technology, website layout design, programming and graphic design. Most jobs require previous web design experience, a strong portfolio and at least an associate degree related to web or graphic design.
6. GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATOR
Graphic illustrators are usually tasked with creating illustrations for commercial and editorial purposes, as well as illustrations that live on web designs and social media. These types of graphic designers will often create their illustrations digitally, but some may also use more analog tools and then digitize their images.
As a graphic illustrator, you’ll work on:
Blog post & articles
Books & Magazines
And so much more…
If you’re a graphic illustrator, you might also create stock illustrations for wider use. This can be a good source of passive income as well as a way to build a reputation as an illustrator.
7. MULTIMEDIA DESIGNER
Multimedia designers create complex animated images and videos using art and computerized animation programs. They plan out the animation by sketching, creating scale models and developing computerized graphics to build the story. They are responsible for developing the graphics for the story's characters, background scenes and props.
A career in multimedia design requires creative thinking and strong imaginative abilities to develop innovative, fantasy designs. Typically, an associate or bachelor's degree in a visually creative field, such as graphic design, multimedia digital art, web design or user experience design is required for multimedia designers.
8. APPAREL DESIGNER
Apparel graphic designers create individual, original images for clothing. They develop a strong understanding of the brand's customers and ensure their graphics are cohesive and visually appealing to that audience. They design a variety of images and font-based graphics for screen printing on shirts, pocket-placed embroidery designs and any other special designs or prints the brand's design executives want to include on their clothing.
A Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design and previous apparel graphic design experience whether an internship or in an entry-level role is typically required. These graphic designers may be employed by the apparel brand or by a third-party agency that designs graphics on a contract basis for multiple brands.
9. PACKAGING DESIGNER
Packaging designers or production designers develop the box, container and labels on a product to protect the product during shipping and communicate important features to the customer. They use CAD software to write product details in an appropriate font, add graphics to explain the functions and show what the product looks like or how to use it. They often design the package as a marketing tool as well, so they partner with marketing and product design specialists to convey the important product details to the customer.
A bachelor's degree in graphic design, product design or art is typically required for a career in packaging design. Employers commonly prefer previous graphic or packaging design experience and a strong knowledge of their customers.
10. ADVERTISING DESIGNER
Advertising designers use graphic design, sketching and photography to create visually compelling marketing materials for a brand or company. They create billboards, magazine advertisements, website advertisements and any other requested promotional materials. They sketch or use software to develop an initial concept based on marketing and public relations strategies. They may create a few variations of a concept to present to the advertising leadership.
A career in advertising design requires a strong knowledge of design and marketing techniques. Many jobs require a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic or CAD Design as well as a strong knowledge of the employer's customers. Coursework in advertising, marketing or business can also help these professionals develop a working knowledge of best advertising practices.
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11. PUBLICATION DESIGNER
Publication designers develop the layout, visual appearance and graphics for a range of printed publications. Companies that create annual reports, research papers, books, catalogs and user manuals use internal or freelance publication designers to add images and graphics to the written information. The designer is responsible for developing the images and graphs and incorporating them into the publication in a visually appealing manner.
A bachelor's degree in graphic, visual, user experience or print design is typically required for a career in publication design. These designers possess a high level of creativity in translating written information into a sketch and developing the appropriate graph to best display data.
12. ART DIRECTOR
The art director is a high-level executive responsible for guiding the design team's vision, directing the theme concept and overseeing all design artwork. They can work in a variety of industries including fashion, print publications, advertising, television or consumer products. The director may be employed by the brand or as a freelancer, but they always work closely with the client or sales team to understand their artistic vision.
Art director positions typically require extensive experience in the related industry for a strong understanding of the business goals. A bachelor's degree in any art or design field is commonly required, but some employers may prefer candidates to have a master's degree in business or art.
13. LETTERING AND TYPE DESIGNER
An often-overlooked specialty of graphic design is lettering and type design. These graphic designers create everything from typefaces and fonts to hand-lettered designs. Type and lettering designers need to have a thorough grasp of typographic principles, what makes a typeface legible, how concepts like kerning and line-height play into a typographic design’s overall readability.
Hand-lettering artists often create things like signs, flyers, murals, and even wordmark logos. They may create designs either by hand or digitally. On the other hand, type designers often focus more on creating typefaces. There’s a lot of overlap between what lettering and type designers do.
14. DATA VISUALIZATION AND INFOGRAPHIC DESIGNER
Data visualization and infographic designers need to have a solid understanding of how to represent data accurately and in ways that make it easier to understand. Working in this type of graphic design role means you need to understand how to work with large data sets and how to make that information digestible for people who aren’t data scientists.
It’s helpful for data visualization and infographic designers to have at least some background knowledge and experience with data science. The better they understand the data they’re presenting, the more equipped they are to translate that data into easy-to-understand visuals. Infographics and data visualizations may be static or interactive.
Whether you choose to specialize in a particular type of graphic design or become a jack of all trades, you should keep in mind that those who do have a focused specialization can often command higher prices and are typically more in demand for the work that they do. Whatever type of design career you choose, remember to build a compelling design portfolio that reflects the type of projects you want to get hired for.
A career in graphic design is one of the most popular professions that a lot of people with creative quality and skills take on these days. If you think you have the potential and the imagination, you should definitely go for it. It is not easy to succeed in a career in this field, so you either have to be really confident or develop rare skillsets or go for higher research-based education. The competition in graphic design is fierce but the demand is widespread as well.