The Day-to-Day as a Designer
A Designer plans the look or functionality of a project or product before it gets made or a plan is executed. This is usually done through a digital or physical mockup or prototype after a design process. This is an umbrella title that can encompass everything from Digital Designers, Game Designers, Graphic Designers, Print Designers to User Experience Designers, User Interface Designers, and Motion Graphics Designers. The specialization a designer chooses will determine who they work for, how they work, what tools they use, and what format they work in.
Some Designers might be creating prototypes, designing clothing, creating advertisements, building a functional wireframe, making graphics for a video, or developing the brand assets for a company. They might work on a team of other Designers, Videographers, Developers, Photographers, Writers, Project Managers, or Researchers. These Designers could work at an agency or firm, network, startup, corporation, as a freelancer, or even within the government. A Designer’s day-to-day tasks mocking up, using digital design tools, communicating with their manager or client, working within a team or alone, or implementing edits requested by the client or manager.
What Skills Should Designers Have?
Design, at its core, is communication. Designers will use their skills to communicate what a client or manager requests of them. Having a deep understanding of the audience the design needs to communicate to as well as the client that the Designer is working for will be the basis of all of a Designer’s work. Verbal communication skills will be at the forefront of every project. Designers need to be detail-oriented and good at planning. They’ll also need to be able to accept critical feedback and make suggested edits to their work, within reason, regardless of whether that edit is their preference.
Designers will need to be familiar with design thinking and principles, be able to research the audience they are creating for, ask appropriate questions, and keep up with industry trends even when they are not actively implementing them.
Adobe Creative Suite is the toolbox of the digital age. Most Designers will use one or more of these applications for the majority of their work. This might be Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, or Premiere Pro. Some Design professionals will also need tactile design skills like wireframing on paper, making templates, patterns, or stencils, and tangible models or prototypes. Various digital design specializations will also need to be proficient in other softwares like InVision, AutoCAD, or Sketch.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Designer
Graphic design is the creation of visual content to communicate a message. Graphic design uses visual hierarchy, typography, photo editing, spacial awareness, empathy, color theory, and more to create visually appealing and communicative images. Graphic design can be done with software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, Figma, and Sketch.
Web design is the process of creating the look and feel of a website. This includes web page layout, content production, copywriting, graphic design, typography, user-flow, and some coding. Web design can be done using tools like a code editor, templates, and photoshop.
Video editing is most commonly the use of digital software to manipulate and organize video and sound files into a final deliverable. Video Editors use software like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Filmora, and others to create videos that compel, convert, inform, or tell a story.
Photoshop is a software application created by Adobe for image editing and photo retouching on Windows or macOS computers. Photoshop can be used to manipulate and retouch photos. It can also be used to create compositions, collages, design comprehensives, and more.
UX Design stands for User Experience Design which is the practice of designing software and other applications with the user in mind. This means researching, testing, and designing a product using empathy and end-user avatars.
Adobe is an international software company based in the United States. Adobe is best known for its web software ecosystem Flash but also distributes creative software like Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Lightroom, InDesign, XD, Muse, Dreamweaver, Spark, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and more.
InDesign is a computer software created by Adobe for publishing and typesetting. It can also be used to create posts, flyers, magazines, brochures, newspapers, books, and presentations.
AutoCAD is a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software developed by Autodesk. AutoCAD is used to create 2D drawings and 3D models.
Visual design is a set of strategic best practices used to improve a design or product's aesthetic appeal and usability through the selection of appropriate images, typography, use of space, hierarchy, color, and layout.
Illustrator is a computer program for design developed by Adobe. Illustrator is used by designers to create and edit vector graphics. It can be used for print, web, applications, videos, animations, and more.
Motion graphics are pieces of digital footage or animation that create the illusion of motion. They are usually combined with audio and used in multimedia projects. Adobe After Effects is the most popular motion graphics software.
A Designer in the United States makes, on average, $73,897 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Designers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Designer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $73K source n/a
Orange County, CA
Los Angeles, CA
New York City
- U.S. Average $73K source n/a
Typical Qualifications to Become a Designer
There are no standard educational requirements for design positions, but some employers may prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in visual design or another art form. There are no industry certifications for these positions. Designers are usually hired based on their portfolio, not their education level.
Searching for Designer Jobs
Designers can find jobs on these sites:
Tips to Become a Designer
Designers are in demand in nearly every industry. Design jobs can be difficult to land, though, especially if you do not have a strong portfolio. Designers will find that there are dozens of free websites where they can post their portfolio and services. Setting up a profile on Dribbble or a similar site will certainly get recognition. Connecting with Designers who are already employed, people who work at the companies you’re applying to, and consistently adding to your portfolio will help you build momentum in your job search. Even if you are looking for a more permanent position, freelancing while you look for a job is a great way to give yourself more experience and show employers you are motivated.
For Graphic Designers who would like to freelance, platforms are great ways to start but asking friends and family might be even more efficient for you! Fiverr is fantastic if you’ve already got an idea of the packages and services you’d like to offer while Upwork is a good place to start if you’re not sure what you’d like to offer. You’ll also find that networking on LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, or online Meetups yields opportunities over time if you stick with it for a few months.
What Job Titles Would a Designer Hold?
Designer is a broad term referring to creatives in many fields. You can find several different relevant job titles depending on your specialization. Some entry-level design positions are labelled “junior” roles, but most do not indicate the Designer’s level of employment. The industry, specialization, and employer will determine a Designer’s salary which varies in every category.
Designers can look for these job titles:
- Graphic Designer
- Industrial Designer
- Interior Designer
- Web Designer
- Brand Identity Designer
- Digital Designer
- Game Designers
- Print Designers
- Motion Graphics Designers
- UX/UI Designer
Additional Designer Resources
- Designer Job Description
- What Software Do Designers Use?
- Best Cities for Designers
- Is Design a Good Career?
- Is Design Right For Me?
- What Degree Do You Need to Become a Designer?
- Designer Career Path
- Designer Certifications
- How to Become a Designer Without a Degree
- How to Become a Freelance Designer
- How to Become a Designer in 3 Months
- Designer Interview Questions
- Designer Resume Guide & Tips
- Designer Cover Letter
- Designer LinkedIn Profile Guide & Tips
- Where and How to Secure Designer Freelance Jobs
- Designer Portfolio Website Guide & Tips
- Designer Job Outlook
Salary Comparison to Designer
Graphic designers work with both digital and physical media to create art that communicates and inspires. Using graphics, text, colors, and animations, graphics designers develop media assets for branding, advertising, and messaging. Graphics designers can work for agencies or themselves. They create a wide variety of design elements, such as brochures, infographics, marketing material layouts, and design elements for print, video, or web use.Learn about becoming a Graphic Designer
User Experience Designer
User experience (UX) designers are responsible for ensuring that digital products offer a seamless user experience, through prototyping, user research, and user testing. They will test the navigation and functionality of websites, apps, and more. UX designers must stay current on design trends to ensure ongoing adherence to best practices. They will also conduct ongoing user research to understand the habits and needs of users.Learn about becoming a User Experience Designer
Web designers design the appearance and workings of a website. They use their understanding of both visual design and technical design principles to create functional web layouts. Some web designers work from home and enjoy the flexibility of freelance work, while others work for agencies or businesses. Good web designers have the experience and foresight to anticipate the end-user experience and design for ease of use and navigation.Learn about becoming a Web Designer
Motion Graphics Designer
Glassdoor Avg. Salary
$87K / yearglassdoor.com
Motion Graphics Designers, sometimes referred to as MoGraph professionals, use visual effects and animation to create artwork for: television, film, tech devices, software, live-video, video games, applications, and the web.Learn about becoming a Motion Graphics Designer
Digital Designers make graphics, animations, and other visual effects. Depending on their preference, a Digital Designer might choose to niche down to work exclusively on pre-print, web, or digital marketing. These niches that the Digital Designer is designing websites, applications, advertisements, or publications.Learn about becoming a Digital Designer