Graphic Design Career Information

Design Student in the Graphics LabGraphic Designers design and create artwork to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as logos, packaging, exhibits and displays; and web sites.

Related job titles: Art Director, Creative Director, Designer, Digital Designer, Design Production Specialist, Graphic Artist, Online Producer, Packaging Designer, Presentation Specialist; Print Production Specialist; Production Artist, Publications Designer, Visual Designer, Artist

What Designers do:

  • Develop art and design for logos, signage, packaging, brochures, and web sites.
  • Work with clients to discuss and design projects based on the specific needs of the client and publishing/printing processes. 
  • Create designs, concepts, and produce layouts based on knowledge of design principles and visual literacy. 
  • Determine the style, size, and arrangement of visual content (text & imagery).
  • Use computer software and hardware to develop design projects

Education Required: Most employers require a four-year bachelor's degree; others look for community colleges coursework, degrees, and certificates. Often employers prefer prior experience. All will require a portfolio showing samples of your best work.

Job Training: Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, and some offer on-the-job training.

Annual Salary Ranges: On average Graphic Designers working in the state of California have higher annual salaries than those in other states.

Senior-Level: $85,760 - $97,290

Mid-Level: $50,370 - $56.810

Junior: $29,610 - $32,260

 Skills, Abilities & Knowledge Needed:

Technology Skills: *Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings

  • Graphics and photo imaging software —Adobe Photoshop*; Adobe Illustrator*; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite*; Trimble SketchUp Pro* 
  • Video creation and editing software —Adobe AfterEffects*; Adobe Premiere; Apple Final Cut Pro; Maxon Cinema 4D; YouTube*
  • Web & App development — WordPress* ; MySQL* ; HTML & CSS* ; JavaScript*; PHP; Unity; Social Media; User Interface design (UI) & User Experience design (UX)
  • 3D Modeling software* — MAYA*; Cinema 4D; Blender*; 3D Studio Max; ZBrush*
  • Desktop publishing software —Adobe InDesign*; QuarkXPress 

Skills & Abilities:

  • Originality— The ability to come up with unusual or creative ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop unique ways to solve a problem. 
  • Fluency of Ideas— The ability to come up with several ideas about a topic. The development of multiple concepts is essential to the design process.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged. 
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate without being distracted is often necessary.
  • Active Listening — includes giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made. Additional skills involve asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. 
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems. 
  • Public Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. 
  • Reading Comprehension — Basic reading and writing skills.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Collaboration — The ability to be a productive, engaged member of a team is essential to success in this career.

 Knowledge Required:

  • Design— Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in the production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models. 
  • Communications and Media— Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. Strategies include alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media. 
  • English Language— Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language, including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. 
  • Fine Arts— Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture. 
  • Computers and Design Technology— Knowledge of computer hardware and software and the use of tablets, scanners, and printers.
  • Customer and Personal Service— Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. Soft skills are needed, including customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. 
  • Sales and Marketing— Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. Knowledge in this area includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

Professional Associations:

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Last Modified Oct 16, 2019