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Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

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The Builder
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The Creator
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The Persuader

Spotlights

Similar Titles

Graphic Artist, Production Artist, Layout Artist, Multimedia Designer, Illustrator

Job Description

Graphic designers design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs using a combination of typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to produce the final result. They may use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Seeing things you created in the store or on a website.
  • Being creative.
  • Getting to create something from scratch.
The Inside Scoop
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Software: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Eye for composition, typography and layout.
  • Attention to detail
  • Project management skills
  • Networking and “selling” yourself: Many graphic designers work project by project so they are constantly finding new clients and pitching their talent and services.
  • Listening and communication skills: You must be able to digest your client’s needs and articulate your ideas and concepts both verbally and written.
  • Empathy
  • Design for digital media: more and more companies need designers for their web presence, apps or social media presence. Print is still prevalent but if you want to be marketable, you must understand the digital media space.
Employment Types
  • In-House for a company: Working for a company that needs graphic design for their marketing or product.
  • Advertising/Branding/Design Agency: An agency is hired by companies to advertise or brand their product.
  • Freelance/Contract: You are your own boss. You work for many companies who need graphic design for their product or marketing of their product.
Current Industry Trends
  • Companies are using social media and constantly changing their websites, their Facebook page and e-mail campaigns. Thus, they need designers to constantly create new designs and pages.
  • With the increased use of the Internet, designers will be needed to create designs and images for portable devices, websites, electronic publications, and video entertainment media.
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Drawing!: Just couldn’t stop doodling even during class.
  • Liked creating the programs or posters for school activities (like prom, sports events…etc).
2016 Employment
266,300
2026 Projected Employment
277,400
Education Needed
  • HS diploma or GED is mandatory.
  • Recommended degrees:  
    • Graphic Design
    • Illustration
    • Interactive Design
    • Advertising
University vs. Art School
  • If you eat, sleep, breathe, and obsess about art and your portfolio makes people weep,  go to art school.
  • If you like art, have a pretty good portfolio, think you want to earn a living as an artist but want to add some diversity to your education, go to university.
  • Art school is pretty expensive and very hard to get a scholarship.
  • Training at an art specific school might be better to learn how to conceive ideas to production. Some people say that state schools don’t always train you with the whole process. Some art schools train you on how to market yourself, get and retain clients.
Things to do in High School and College
  • Take lots of art classes: Practice your craft.
  • Put together a portfolio: If you want to design online, then mock up something for online.
  • Ask questions to anybody who is doing design as their career.  
  • Go online and start reading blogs, looking at the best portfolios.
  • Figure out your brand and how to market that brand.
Education Stats
  • 13% with HS Diploma
  • 14% with Associate’s
  • 43.1% with Bachelor’s
  • 7% with Master’s
  • 1.1% with Doctoral
Typical Roadmap
Graphic Designer roadmap gif
How to land your 1st job
  • Must have a portfolio.
  • Network!
  • Sign up at a creative staffing agency: The agency might place you at a company as a temporary employee. A lot of the times, the temporary position turns into a full-time position.

Job Sites (both freelance and full-time positions) 

Creative staffing agencies

How to stay competitive and stay in the game
  • Get involved with AIGA – The Professional Association of Design.
  • Stay up to speed with new technology/styles in the industry.
  • Network!
  • Freelance: write up contracts, know your rates, know timing (how long it takes to finish the project), under promise/over deliver!
Qualities of those who climb the ladder and enjoy it
  • Raw talent.
  • Being able to adapt quickly.
  • Being able to work quickly, in a fast-paced environment.
  • Taking direction and being creative at the same time.
Words of Advice

“Seek out advice. There are probably a hundred job titles in the field of graphic design that are really different. Evaluate what you like about art and creating and try to talk to somebody that fits the route you are interested in.” - Chrissi Hernandez, Art Director, Sephora

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Graphic Designer Gladeographix

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Source: Interviews, Bureau of Labor Statistics
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