Graphic designers are prevalent in almost every industry. They create logos, advertising, packaging, book covers, product design, website layout… the list goes on and on. If you constantly find yourself doodling in the margins or posting stellar photos on Instagram, a career in graphic design may be the perfect for you.
Graphic designers must have a passion for art and most companies require that you hold a bachelor’s degree in design or a related field. This typically takes four years to complete and give you the foundation for a successful career in graphic design.
As a graphic design student, your courses will cover art history, the elements and principles of design and how aspects of design are used to influence or appeal to a target audience. You will learn the significance of color, composition, symbols and typeface.
During the course of your education you will also take classes in photography, illustration and web design to help you develop your design skills. This is a great time to start putting together a portfolio. Keep all of your work and include your best pieces in a portfolio you can show off to potential employers.
You may want to consider certification programs for different types of design software (such as photo-editing software). A certification demonstrates your knowledge and gives you an advantage when looking for jobs.
Graphic designers often work for an agency that provides design services to clients or they work directly for a company in the creative department. Graphic designers can also choose to work freelance, with 20 percent of graphic designers being self-employed and working for a number of clients and organizations.
There are typically four steps involved in a graphic design project. First, the designer meets with clients and discusses ideas. Once they establish an idea or goal for the project, the designer develops the visual elements needed for the project. Next, they meet with the client again to go over the visuals and discuss where adjustments should be made. Finally, the designer edits the project and sends it to be printed, uploaded or sent to a web developer, depending on the project.
Salary and Job Outlook
The average salary for graphic designers in 2015 was $46,900, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry is expected to have little no change with a projected growth of 1 percent over the next decade.
Take our Careers in Graphic Design course to learn more!