Graphic designers are visual storytellers who use computer software or hand illustration to transform ideas into original concepts. Keep reading to find out more about this career and if it’s the right one for you.
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Is Graphic Design a Good Career?
Graphic design can be a rewarding profession with a wide range of tasks, earnings, and job opportunities.
If you’re thinking about a career in graphic design, you probably have a lot of questions about the industry and whether it’s right for you. For example, you may have wondered if graphic design is a good career path to pursue. What does a graphic designer do on a daily basis, and what skills are required?
Graphic designers are visual storytellers who use computer software or hand illustration to transform ideas into original concepts. A career in graphic design involves lots of projects that, depending on the role, require a range of art skills and techniques. Keep reading to find out more about this career and if it’s the right one for you.
What is Graphic Design?
There is an ongoing misconception that graphic design is simply about creating logos or branding. In reality, graphic design involves all forms of visual communication, from typography and product packaging to video games and illustrations.
The main goal of a graphic designer in any of these niches is to inspire, inform, and captivate consumers through artistic communication of a specific concept, message, or idea. This can range from an infographic, poster, or brochure to a website, mobile app, or digital tool such as software.
What Does a Graphic Designer Do?
A graphic designer aims to use typography, photos, illustrations, and graphic elements to create messages that catch our attention, make us think about their meaning, and stick with us. But what does that involve on a practical, daily basis? While every workplace and employer is different, the following are some of the typical tasks a graphic designer may be responsible for:
- Changing designs in response to client feedback.
- Creating the layout and appearance of posters, brochures, websites, software, product packaging, and other printed materials.
- Client meetings to discuss projects and present concepts.
- Checking designs for accuracy and quality.
Your responsibilities will be affected by factors such as your level of experience, the industry you enter, and if you are a self-employed freelancer or part of an in-house design team. You may be required to work in the evenings and on weekends to communicate with and update your clients. As a result, carefully comparing job descriptions and asking thoughtful questions during the interview process is critical.
Career Paths in the Graphic Design Industry
Working as a graphic designer is not the only way to make a living as a graphic designer. Graphic design skills are useful in many other roles such as:
- UI/UX Designer
- Art director
- Designer for book covers
- Packaging designer
- Typography designer
- Creative art worker
- Content Creator
- Creative Strategist
Graphic Design Skills
Graphic designers, like all professionals, need to balance hard and soft skills to perform their jobs successfully and easily. Time management, creative thinking, and strong verbal and written communication skills are examples of key soft skills for designers. Graphic designers need to have experience with HTML, typography, and programs, as well as a working knowledge of a suite of software applications such as Adobe Illustrator.
To excel in this role, you need a range of hard skills. These include knowing design tools like Sketch and InVision, understanding design principles, and having experience in UX and UI design. You should also be comfortable learning Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, and be familiar with HTML.
Understanding each client’s unique voice, aesthetic, and branding, especially for social media, is very important. Also, being able to design for non-digital and print media, such as posters or magazines, is a valuable skill.
Graphic designers should also have strong communication skills to effectively interact with clients and team members. This includes providing presentations and project updates. Design is a constantly evolving field, so designers must be committed to lifelong learning and professional growth.
Why Be a Graphic Designer?
If you want to work in a creative field, graphic design offers opportunities to do so as a remote employee, in a workplace environment, or as a freelancer. Typically, you’ll work on different projects to meet a variety of client needs. Working with clients from various industries allows you to stay inspired and broaden your artistic horizons.
You can be self-employed and work as a freelancer if you prefer to be your own boss. Working as a freelance graphic designer can give you more creative freedom and the freedom to work when and where you want.
When pursuing a graphic design career, you can focus on your preferred creative field. You’ll find opportunities to match your creative goals whether you enjoy working with typography, illustration, or web design.
How to Become a Graphic Designer?
A degree in graphic design is not required to work as a Graphic Designer. Some employers may require a degree or certification before considering you for a position, but most employers are more interested in a Designer’s portfolio and skills. Experience is also essential. Graphic Designers need to always be practicing their craft and working on personal projects to give themselves a leg up on the job market. Here are some suggestions for enhancing your opportunities in the field:
- Utilize job search platforms like LinkedIn to find local internship opportunities.
- Engage in hackathons, which are intense events where design teams compete to develop innovative solutions within a short timeframe, typically 24 to 72 hours.
- Join professional organizations related to graphic design to expand your network and connect with fellow designers.
- Establish your personal brand by creating a website that showcases your contact information and your work examples.
- Consider taking on freelance projects, ideally working with a diverse range of clients, to gain valuable experience and expand your portfolio.
- Aim to become an Adobe Certified Professional, which can enhance your credibility.
Do You Need a Degree to Be a Graphic Designer?
Many employers looking for graphic designers prefer candidates with a degree in graphic design or a related field and a strong portfolio. Graphic designers have a bachelor’s degree in 68% of cases and an associate’s degree in 23% of cases. However, a degree is not required. Some graphic designers at big businesses have only a high school diploma or GED, but they have gained the technical skills needed for success.
A graphic designer typically has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field of study. Other educational opportunities include:
- Associate of Arts in Graphic Design: You can learn and use programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You can use your class projects to create a portfolio of your creative work.
- Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design: Your college career will begin with general education courses and art courses such as art history.
- Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design: Many universities and colleges offer a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, and some offer a visual communication degree that focuses on graphic design, UX design, and motion design. To apply for a fine arts master’s program, you need a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
Certifications are also a brilliant method to add value to your resume and show how eager you are to learn about new topics. Graphic design certification programs are available in specialized fields such as Adobe Certified Expert, Autodesk #DS Max Certified, and Adobe Certified Instructor.
Graphic design can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice. It offers opportunities to showcase creativity, work across diverse industries, and make a meaningful impact through visual communication. However, it’s important to be aware of the competitive nature of the field and the continuous need for skill development. Remember, becoming a successful graphic designer requires passion, dedication, and a commitment to lifelong learning. If you have a love for design and the drive to constantly improve, graphic design can indeed be a suitable career for you.