Career Development

What Does a Graphic Designer Do?

Find out what a graphic designer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a graphic designer.

Graphic designers are responsible for creating visual elements that communicate a message or tell a story. They may work on everything from print materials to digital interfaces, but their goal is always the same: to use design principles and techniques to create compelling visuals that effectively convey information.

Graphic designers must be able to think creatively and conceptually in order to come up with ideas for projects. They also need strong communication skills so that they can effectively collaborate with clients and other team members throughout the design process.

Graphic Designer Job Duties

Graphic designers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing effective visual solutions for print and digital media by creating concept sketches, storyboarding, or 3D models of computer generated images
  • Identifying the target audience and determining how they will react to different visual elements such as color schemes, images, or text styles
  • Developing a strategic plan for visual elements that reflects current trends in design, art, technology, and culture
  • Creating layouts for print materials such as brochures, magazines, postcards, flyers, catalogs, and business cards
  • Collaborating with clients to determine their needs and goals and creating a design solution that meets those needs and fits within the client’s budget
  • Designing advertisements, including creating the artwork and developing the layout using computer software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Creating visual concepts for a wide range of products or services such as computer software, cell phones, retail stores, billboards, and television commercials
  • Developing a style guide for an organization’s visual identity system that includes font usage, color theory, and other design principles to ensure consistency across all marketing materials
  • Preparing digital files that are suitable for printing, including creating CMYK color separations from RGB

Graphic Designer Salary & Outlook

Graphic designers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company or organization they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $93,500 ($44.95/hour)

The employment of graphic designers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Graphic designers will be needed to design advertisements and other marketing materials for print and online media. However, automation and the use of mobile apps for simple graphic tasks are expected to limit employment growth for graphic designers.

Related: In-Depth Graphic Designer Salary Guide

Graphic Designer Job Requirements

A graphic designer typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Graphic designers are typically expected to have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, fine arts, computer graphics or a related field. Some of the coursework that graphic design students complete includes graphic design, art, computer graphics, computer-aided design, advertising, business and marketing.

Training & Experience: Most graphic designers will receive on-the-job training from their new employer after they are hired. This training will help the new employee learn the specific software and computer programs the company uses. It will also familiarize the new employee with the company’s workflow and procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: Graphic designers do not need a license or certification to get a job. However, certification can show a potential employer that you have the necessary skills and dedication to succeed in the role.

Graphic Designer Skills

Graphic designers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Creativity: Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and solutions. This is an important skill for graphic designers, as they often use creativity to develop new designs. Creativity can also help you think of new ways to use your design skills, such as by creating marketing materials, advertisements or logos.

Typography: Typography is the practice of combining letters to form words. It’s important for graphic designers to understand the different styles of typefaces and how to combine them to form readable and appealing text. This includes understanding the different styles of fonts, such as serif, sans-serif and script.

Illustration: Creating illustrations is a common task for graphic designers, and it’s a necessary skill for the profession. Creating illustrations can include drawing or painting realistic or fantastical images. This can include creating characters, scenes and other elements that can be used in marketing campaigns or other graphic design projects.

Multimedia skills: As a graphic designer, you may be required to create and develop multimedia elements such as videos, animations and interactive elements. Having strong skills in these areas can help you create more complex designs and campaigns.

Technical skills: As a graphic designer, you should have a basic understanding of computer software, including image-editing software, design software and productivity software. You should also have an understanding of various computer operating systems, including Windows and Mac. This can help you adapt to various computer systems and software.

Graphic Designer Work Environment

Graphic designers typically work in studios, where they have access to drafting tables, computers, and the software necessary to do their work. They usually work normal business hours, but they may work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. Graphic designers often work on several projects at the same time, so they must be able to juggle multiple tasks and meet deadlines. The work can be stressful, and designers may experience anxiety about meeting deadlines and impressing clients. However, most designers find the work to be creative and challenging, and they enjoy the satisfaction of seeing their designs in print or online.

Graphic Designer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how graphic designers work. Graphic designers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Digital Designer

The role of the graphic designer is changing as technology advances. With the rise of digital media, designers are now responsible for creating content that works across a variety of platforms and devices.

This trend means that graphic designers need to be well-versed in digital design tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud. They also need to be able to think like a developer, so that they can create content that is both visually appealing and functional.

More Collaboration Between Designers and Other Professionals

Graphic designers are increasingly collaborating with other professionals in order to create more complex and effective designs. This trend is being driven by the need for businesses to stand out from the competition in a crowded marketplace.

As a graphic designer, you can take advantage of this trend by developing strong relationships with other professionals in your field. This will allow you to work together on projects that require a wide range of skills and expertise. In addition, you can also learn from each other and share ideas about how to improve your designs.

A Greater Focus on User Experience (UX)

User experience (UX) has become an increasingly important focus for businesses in recent years. This is because customers are becoming more and more demanding, and they are not satisfied with products that do not meet their expectations.

As a graphic designer, you can help to ensure that products have a great UX by paying attention to details such as layout, color scheme, and typography. You can also collaborate with other members of the team, such as product managers and developers, to make sure that the entire product is meeting customer needs.

How to Become a Graphic Designer

When starting your graphic designer career, it’s important to consider what type of work you want to do. Do you want to specialize in web design, print design, or something else? You should also think about the types of clients you want to work with. Some designers prefer to work for large companies, while others prefer to work for small businesses.

No matter what type of work you want to do or who you want to work for, it’s important to have a strong portfolio that showcases your best work. Make sure to include examples of both print and web designs so that potential clients can see your range of skills. You should also make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in design so that you can offer the best possible solutions to your clients.

Related: How to Write a Graphic Designer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Graphic designers may advance in their career by taking on more responsibility within their organization, such as managing a design team or taking on larger design projects. They may also choose to start their own graphic design business. As they gain more experience and a strong portfolio of work, they will be able to command higher fees for their services.

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