Graphic designers are responsible for creating and designing graphics for a wide variety of formats including applications, websites and publications, both print and digital. Designers work with their supervisors or clients to determine what they need to create and use a wide range of tools, to turn their ideas into a reality.  Design work is being done more on computers than by hand  now, which makes it essential for a designer to be tech savvy and can learn software tools used in design.  In addition to full-time opportunities, there is a thriving need for freelance designers to work on a project basis which can be a viable career for those who build a good reputation.

On average, a Graphic Designer makes between $26,250 and $77,490 annually.

Average Starting Salary:
The average starting salary for a graphic designer is between $29,641 and $37,843 annually.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Meet with clients or higher ups to determine needs for a project
  • Advise clients on how to appeal to specific audiences
  • Determine the message the project  should portray
  • Create graphics, illustrations, logos and website designs
  • Choose colors, images, text styles and layout for projects
  • Present projects to supervisors
  • Change projects as suggested by client or higher-ups
  • Review designs for errors before publication

Necessary Skills:

  • Analytical skills
  • Artistic ability
  • Communication skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Creativity
  • Computer Skills
  • Time management
  • Artistic eye
  • Out-of-the-box thinking
  • Problem Solver

Degree and Experience Requirements:
Graphic designers typically require a Bachelors of Arts degree in graphic design or another artistic field. They  also need to have technical skills for computer software and other tools  they will need to use. In addition to taking  traditional arts courses, it is wise for aspiring Graphic Designers to take courses in writing, web design, marketing and business as they would be helpful for a graphic designer’s career. Graphic Designers often are responsible for creating websites and sometimes responsible for writing the content to populate the site and sometimes for marketing the site as well. Graphic designers who are well rounded in both design and business have more opportunities and can be a major asset on a project team.

Getting Started:
To get started as a graphic designer, an internship can open up a lot of doors while one is a student and can lead to full-time or freelance opportunities after school. Internships also give one real world work that they can use as a part of a portfolio to show their work to potential employers. Most employers require Graphic Designer candidates to submit a portfolio so they can get a sense of their work and see if it is what they are looking for from their employees. Graphic design work is often done on a contract or freelance basis where a designer works on a specific project or task and then move on, and this can be a very comfortable living if one builds a good client base. Freelancing can be a great opportunity to get started and build a portfolio of work and there are some instances when a client may bring a freelancer on full-time.

Future Outlook: 
Employment for Graphic designers is expected fro grow 7% in the next ten years, which is slower than the average for all occupations. There will be shrinking opportunities for graphic designers in traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines, and other print media however, there is a rising demand for them for web media , portable devices, websites and videos. There is a large amount of competition for Graphic Design positions, so having a portfolio of one’s best work is crucial in standing out from the pool of other candidates. There are also more opportunities for those who have experience with multiple types of media such as websites and print publications.

Companies That Employ Graphic Designer:

  • Manufacturing
  • Design Services
  • Newspapers, publications, books and other publishers
  • Advertising and Public Relations
  • Design Firms
  • Wholesale trade
  • Web design firms

Traits of A Good Graphic Designer:

  • Creative
  • Artistic
  • Responsible
  • Team Player
  • Eye for design
  • Passionate for Design

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About the Author

MikeMike Gdovin has been blogging about technology since 2006 on his blog, He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Media from Kutztown University with a minor in Journalism, Public Relations and Business. In addition to blogging about technology, Mike is a video producer, technology consultant and social media expert.