Graphic designers create visual presentations in all sorts of media. The work of a graphic designer can be used for advertising, signage, print publications, and electronic media. This is a great career choice for men and women with a passion for art. Sometimes, a client has very specific ideas about how a design should look. Often, however, the designer is given a great deal of freedom. Many graphic artists began in the fine arts and discovered a love for the technical aspects of artistic creation. For these professionals, graphic design is a lucrative way to fulfill their passion. Some excellent distance learning programs in graphic design are available.
Despite the creativity inherent in the job, graphic design is a business, and so it requires the ability to attract clients. Graphic designers may work alone or as part of a firm. Solo designers often develop a specialty, like Web design, and work exclusively in that field. A design firm usually employs expert designers in all sorts of areas. A project usually begins by discussing requirements with the client. Then, the designer will draw up some preliminary sketches or models and allow the client to comment. Once a design plan has been selected, the graphic designer will use specialized computer design programs to construct a detailed version. This edition may be subject to modifications as well. Graphic designers must be simultaneously creative and responsive to the needs of clients.
To land a job, graphic designers usually need to have obtained a bachelor’s degree in the discipline. In particular, aspiring designers need to master the various computer design programs. Most graphic design curricula include topics like printing techniques, Web design, and studio art. These programs are found most often in liberal arts universities, so students will probably have to take general coursework in arts and sciences. Many graphic designers find it useful to take courses in business management.
Some community colleges offer two-year associate’s degrees in graphic design. These degrees are typically geared towards a specific skill or computer program. As with college and university programs, entry to these associate’s degree programs requires presentation of a portfolio. It is important that the portfolio contain examples of computer-based and freehand work.
Staying ahead in the field of graphic design requires constant attention to trends and advances in technology. A graphic designer will usually be given on-the-job training for any specific tasks, so it is more important to obtain a solid foundation of design knowledge and skill. It is typical for a designer to spend between one and three years in an entry-level position before taking on any significant responsibility. Large firms hire a great number of recent graduates and use the first few years of their employment to evaluate whether any are suitable for management positions. Becoming a supervisor or head of a design department usually takes ten or fifteen years of diligent work.
In order to teach graphic design, one must have at least a bachelor’s degree and professional certification in the subject. In addition, most colleges and universities prefer to hire professors who have some experience in design. Many freelance graphic designers teach part time, as a way of supplementing their income.
The average annual income for a graphic designer is $42,400. However, one in ten makes more than $74,000 a year. Graphic designers make a better-than-average living when they work with computers or in advertising and public relations. Those who provide specialized design services also tend to make more money. Graphic designers who work for publishers (both newspaper and book) make significantly less than the average. Professional organizations assert that an entry-level graphic designer can expect to make about $35,000 a year. With experience, wages can increase dramatically. Graphic designers who oversee the work of others earn about $60,000 a year.
The demand for graphic designers is expected to increase at an average pace in the future. There will be intense competition for the most prestigious and lucrative jobs. Graphic design is an increasingly popular profession, and there is expected to be particular growth in Web design and computer animation. Many graphic designers will find work in online advertising, even as the demand for graphic designers diminishes in the world of print.