Graphic Design Careers

A graphic designer is a professional artist who creates pieces of digitized design. A graphic designer’s main purpose is to create quality images that convey an intended message.

Graphic designers must have extensive knowledge of design, design software, computers and communications in order to be successful at their jobs.

Due to the importance of aesthetically pleasing visuals in today’s world, graphic design jobs are rapidly emerging. Furthermore, many more graphic design opportunities will emerge in the future, making graphic design an especially promising career path. Read on to learn more about graphic design work, degrees, the necessary qualifications for landing a graphic design job and the broad spectrum of careers within the graphic design field.

Graphic Creations

Graphic design is all around you. Much of the clothes you wear, movies you watch, games you play and websites you visit contain some form of graphic design. This is because in a competitive market, branding is necessary for success.

Companies create a brand for themselves to ensure that consumers will remember who they are and what they stand for. Unique images are crucial to a brand’s identity. Graphic designers create these unique images in various mediums.

Specifically, graphic designers create:

  • Books, magazines, catalogs and newspapers.
  • Visual identity such as letterheads, business cards, brand guides and logos.
  • Marketing materials like flyers, brochures, postcards, one-sheets and posters.
  • Product packaging and labels.
  • Presentations.
  • Shirt and apparel designs.
  • Logos, illustrations and clip art.

Brand images must be simple yet detailed enough to grab the attention of consumers. The success of brand images are measured by the extent of their reach. Graphic designers who achieve the most far-reaching images are often the most successful.

Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree or certificate from an accredited trade school is usually considered essential for a graphic design position. However, after a career history has been established, the graphic designer’s experience and number of years in the business are the primary qualifications considered. A portfolio is the prime method for demonstrating these qualifications and is usually required to be shown at job interviews. A portfolio contains samples of the artist’s best pieces and is constantly developed throughout a graphic designer’s career.

All of the following types of degrees can be obtained in graphic design:

  • Associate’s degree in Applied Science (AAS)
  • Bachelor’s degree (BA)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA)
  • Master’s degree (MFA)

The degree programs available to designers vary depending upon the institution. Typically U.S. graphic design jobs require at least some degree, even if it is not in graphic design. Fortunately, there are some online education options for graphic design, increasing the education options for those interested in entering this field.

Current graphic design jobs demand proficiency in one or more graphic design software programs. A common software package used in the graphic design industry is Adobe Creative Cloud. This software package contains the three main programs used by graphic designers, which are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. These programs are the industry standards for many graphic design positions. Another common software package is CoreIDRAW Graphics Suite.

Additionally, graphic designers must be able to solve visual communication problems. In doing so, the designer must identify the communication issue, gather and analyze information related to the issue and generate potential approaches aimed at solving the problem. Approaches to a communications problem are developed in the context of an audience and a media channel. Graphic designers must understand the social and cultural norms of that audience in order to develop visual solutions that are perceived as relevant, understandable and effective.

Graphic designers should also have a thorough understanding of production and rendering methods. Some of the technologies and methods of production are drawing, offset printing, photography, time-based media and interactive media, including film, video and computer multimedia. In addition, graphic designers are frequently called upon to manage color in different media.

Graphic Design Positions

Since graphic design jobs require a mastery of skills in many different areas, there are a plethora of opportunities for someone with graphic design training. Graphic designers can find jobs in any industry involving visual communication, including television, advertising, public relations, publishing, marketing, architecture, engineering and manufacturing. Currently, several positions are widely available within the graphic design field.

Multimedia designers create video, audio and animated images, as well as sketches, plans, scale models and drawings. Multimedia designers are responsible for designing props, sets and costumes, directing set assistants on design interpretations and advising on other areas of technical production such as lighting and sound, to ensure the production set closely resembles their designs.

Multimedia design jobs require imagination and creativity combined with technical expertise in applying a wide range of software applications. Multimedia design jobs can be found in career fields like television or film production, audio production, set design, animation and many other multimedia fields. Jobs in the multimedia design field tend to be competitive, so it is important to choose a multimedia design program that offers thorough training and a lot of hands-on practice.

Many graphic designers work as web developers. These professionals must be highly skilled in computer graphics, graphic design and the latest computer technology. The primary job of a web developer is creating the layout, pages and graphics for web pages, as well as designing and creating the structure and navigation style of a site.

While there are web developers that focus on coding and back-end development, graphic designers generally focus on website design. Web designers must make sure there is continuity between the different pages of a website. To do this, factors like where graphics and navigation are placed and which content is included must be considered.

Today’s multimedia industry is quickly growing, creating high demand for web designers. Additionally, web design training can also prepare you for jobs in multimedia design, entertainment, web development, advertising or e-commerce.

Additional Positions

One creative job for graphic designers is art direction. Also known as creative directors, these professionals manage a team that creates artwork for television, the internet, magazines, billboards and more. Ensuring that each member of the team finishes her or his work in a timely fashion and to the satisfaction of the client is of the utmost importance.

Since an art director holds a leadership position, much of the job involves supervision. That said, advanced training in graphic design is still required, as art directors often do some designing themselves. Job seekers looking for art director positions can find employment through advertising agencies, magazines and newspapers, public relations firms and manufacturers. Many art directors are also self-employed or freelance.

Many e-commerce companies have a need for product photographers, a job that goes hand in hand with photo editing and requires the abilities of a graphic designer. Photo editors need to be proficient in software like Photoshop. Those who are not familiar with it should receive training in order to advance in their careers.

Photoshop training courses are beneficial because they will teach you to manipulate and customize images, create compositions of several layers, design graphics with high resolution, manage color at the pixel level, learn how to scan old photos and repair damaged images.

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