Graphic Designer Job Description and Salary Information

graphic designer working on computer
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Are you a creative thinker who enjoys working with the latest technologies? Do you enjoy working on a variety of different projects? A job in graphic design might be for you. Graphic designers create images and text for a variety of purposes.

Are you considering a career in graphic design? Read below for information on graphic design job responsibilities, work environments, education and training requirements, average salaries, and more.

Graphic Designer Job Description

Graphic designers create visual communications to convey messages in an effective and aesthetically pleasing manner. They design web pages, brochures, logos, signs, books, magazine covers, annual reports, advertisements, and other communication materials. Graphic designers create these materials by hand or by using technology, including computer software programs.

Graphic designers meet with clients to gain an understanding of what they want their proposed communications to look like. They create or incorporate illustrations, pictures, and designs to reflect the desired theme and tone of the communications. Graphic designers select type size and style to enhance the readability of text and image.

They produce drafts for review by clients and make revisions based on the feedback that they receive. Graphic designers review final productions for errors and make sure final prints reflect client specifications.

Where Graphic Designers Work

Graphic designers work in a variety of environments. Some work for graphic design, public relations, or advertising firms, completing projects for various clients at the firm. Others work at communications departments within businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit groups, or other organizations. Some work in publishing houses, producing designs for specific newspapers, magazines, books, websites, and more.

Many graphic designers are self-employed. They have clients that they work for independently. Self-employed graphic designers have very flexible schedules.

Whether they work for a company or are self-employed, graphic designers' work loads vary. There might be times when they are busy working on many projects, and other times when they are waiting for a new project.

Education and Training

Many graphic designers complete a bachelor's degree with a major or concentration in graphic design at either a traditional college or art institute. However, people with bachelor’s degrees in unrelated fields can often gain the training they need through technical training programs, including software training courses. They might also take specialized courses in graphic design and complete internships or do freelance work.

A few graphic designers do not go through any sort of formal training, and are completely self-taught. These people typically have an advanced aptitude for computer-aided design.

Graphic design is a "show me" field, which means that hiring managers want to see evidence of your successful work from the past. Graphic designers therefore need to develop portfolios of their work to show to prospective employers.

Graphic design students develop their portfolios through hands-on classroom projects and graphic design internships. They also build up their portfolios through specialized courses and freelance work.

Graphic Design Skills

Along with a strong portfolio, there are certain skills that employers look for in a good graphic designer. These graphic designer skills include soft skills. These kinds of skills are hard to quantify, and reflect how you interact with others and your environment. Some of the most important soft skills for a graphic designer include communication, creativity, analytical skills, and time management.

Another important soft skill for some graphic designers is teamwork. If the designer works as part of a design team, he or she needs to be able to collaborate and get along with others.

Graphic designers also need a number of hard skills, including various technology skills, and a knowledge of both typography and color theory. These are skills that can be learned through coursework and practice.

Graphic design majors also gain a number of these skills through their coursework and internships. Here is a list of skills that graphic designer students develop.

Graphic Designer Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics's Occupational Outlook Handbook, graphic designers earned an average of $47,640 in 2016. The bottom 10% of graphic designers earned less than $27,950 while the top 10% earned at least $82,020.

Jobs in graphic design are expected to grow a little less than the national average between 2016-2026. The projected percent increase in employment is 5%. The national average is 7%.

Read More: Graphic Designer (Occupational Outlook Handbook) | Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs