The Day-to-Day as a Digital 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. They usually work onsite with a team of other Designers, Digital Designers, Art Directors, and Layout Designers. Digital Designers usually work 40 hours per week. They can find remote and freelance opportunities as well.
Digital Designers will find themselves doing tasks like client management, presentations of their work to their clients, concept creation, mockups, managing their active projects, planning upcoming projects, and designing and creating deliverables. Digital Designers often work on a creative team in collaboration with other Designers, Product Managers, Project Managers.
What Skills Should Digital Designers Have?
The most important skill for a Digital Designer is being able to communicate their vision and ideas through digital technology. Digital Designers are expected to know design theory like typography, color composition, design thinking, etc. You’ll need to be open to constructive criticism to provide clients with their desired end goals. Digital Designers will be doing collaborative projects, client management, and deadline planning on top of their design work on a daily basis.
Digital Designers must be proficient in software like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. They might also find it useful, depending on their niche, to be skilled with software for prototyping, animation, presentations, client management, and project management. They’ll also need skills like drawing, photo or video production, and any industry-specific technology.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Digital 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.
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.
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.
HTML & CSS
HTML is Hypertext Markup Language and CSS is Cascading Style Sheets. HTML is used to create web page structure and text while CSS is used to style the structure and text visually. HTML can be used to create objects like sections, menus, and functions within a webpage. CSS is used to select those objects and style them with fonts, colors, layout, and more to make the webpage visually appealing.
Sketch is a design platform used to create, share, and collaborate prototypes and wireframes.
Digital Designer Salaries
A Digital Designer in the United States makes, on average, $95,554 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Digital Designers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Digital Designer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $95K source n/a
- U.S. Average $95K source n/a
New York City
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
Typical Qualifications to Become a Digital Designer
Most employers look for Digital Designers who have a bachelor’s degree in design, art, marketing, or a related field or proven proficiency in digital design. A substantial portfolio can suffice in lieu of education.
Searching for Digital Designer Jobs
Digital Designers can find work in many different industries depending on their niche and skillset. They might find themselves working for an app startup, within a design agency, or for a large corporate company. Digital Designers can also find freelance opportunities if they are clear on their niche. Freelance Digital Designers can make a lucrative salary with proper planning and time management.
Digital Designers can find jobs on sites like:
Digital Designers can find freelance jobs on sites like:
Tips to Become a Digital Designer
Digital Designers are in-demand but they must have a substantial portfolio; it is the biggest factor in hiring. You might build your portfolio from scratch or work freelance to build up your portfolio and earn money while you look for a permanent position within a company. You’ll get more exposure by posting your portfolio on sites like Dribbble and sharing your portfolio on your LinkedIn.
If you do not have a four-year or even two-year degree, consider taking on freelance work to pad your resume and portfolio while you’re applying to more permanent positions. This shows employers that you are willing to take initiative, that you are skilled enough to get and complete digital design work, and it will fill out your portfolio. Real-world experience is the only replacement for a degree in this field.
Follow companies that you’d like to work for on social media and pay close attention. Regularly checking the social media of companies you want to work for will get you accustomed to their style, up-to-date with the industry, and may lead to job opportunities. Companies often post job openings on their site. Plus, interacting with their social media and connecting with their employees on LinkedIn might give you enough name recognition to boost your resume during the application process.
What Job Titles Would a Digital Designer Hold?
Depending on their niche, Digital Designers have a wide variety of job titles they could pursue. Some of these positions might require learning more about specific technologies, communicating with Developers instead of clients, or deepening their industry knowledge. Here are some of the positions you might consider as a Digital Designer.
- Digital Designer
- UX/UI Designer
- Digital Product Designer
- Digital Graphic Designer
- Social Media Designer
- Digital Modeling and Texture Artist
- Motion Graphics Designer
Digital design positions are similar to graphic design positions but they usually require more technical skills and knowledge of industry technology. Some Digital Designers might find themselves in combination positions that involve graphic design and UX or UI design; or graphic design and web design; or even 3D design and modeling.
Digital Designers are similar to Graphic Designers but typically have more technical skills, project management responsibilities, and work more with technology than with print or advertising. Digital Designers could easily take Graphic Designer positions but will likely see a pay decrease in that position.
All of these positions would likely lead to a pay increase for Digital Designers. Some of these positions will be wrapped up in some ways into more general Digital Designer positions at smaller companies.
Salary Comparison to Digital 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
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
Visual designers focus on what users see on their screens—banners, menus, graphics, navigation, and more. They use their knowledge of best practices to design digital elements such as page designs, banner ads, icons, and overlays. Working for platforms such as websites, apps, movies, games, and wearables, visual designers strive to provide beautiful user interface. Visual designers often work with software such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Photoshop, and more.Learn about becoming a Visual Designer
Designers work in a wide variety of industries and specialize in just as many mediums. Most designers create digital assets, but some designers work with hand-drawn sketches and illustrations. They start with an understanding of the best design principles and functional aesthetics. Common fields for designers include web, apps, print, fashion, animation, advertising, and UX design.Learn about becoming a Designer