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A Graphic Designer uses elements like space, texture, color, line, size, form, and shape to create an aesthetic and functional design. They usually work at graphic design agencies, design studios, marketing firms, for corporations, at nonprofits, or on their own as freelancers. They can find work both full-time and part-time as well as remotely. Graphic Designers are in-demand in a variety of industries from entertainment to retail, education to technology.
Graphic Designers usually work on a team with Experience Designers, other Graphic Designers, a Creative Director or Design Director, a Production Manager, a Brand Identity Developer, an Illustrator, or a Layout Artist. A day in the life of a Graphic Designer will depend on their employer but they will probably be attending daily meetings, collaborating with clients, creating prototypes, solving problems with teammates, making graphics in Adobe Illustrator, conducting research, creating mood boards, and iterating on prototypes.
A graphic designer should understand design theory and composition as well as aesthetics. They should have a deep understanding of typography including how to create or select fonts, line spacing, logo creation, and storyboard creation. Graphic designers must be proficient in common technology used in their industry including the Adobe Creative Suite, basic HTML and CSS, and Sketch. Nearly half of all Graphic Designers have taken at least one computer science course.
Soft skills are arguably one of the most important skill categories across the board for any career. You may be the most talented graphic designer in the world, but without soft skills, you cannot get hired or work well on a team. You’ll need to master client communication which will include asking the right questions, active listening, and regular liaising for the duration of each client project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Graphic Designer in the United States makes, on average, $49,545 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Graphic Designers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Graphic Designer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
Many graphic designers complete college degrees but it is not required to have a graphic design career. Any graphic designer will be required to demonstrate their skills beyond what is listed on their resume or contained in their portfolio. Most employers or clients who are looking to hire a graphic designer will also be looking for soft skills like good communication, active listening, and asking the right questions.
Graphic Designers may be employed within a marketing agency, as a part of an in-house team at a corporate company, or for a publication. If you have strong time management, communication, and business skills, you may find more satisfaction working as an independent contractor or freelancer. Freelancers and independent contractors can make just as much – if not more – money as an agency-employed graphic designer. They can take on multiple clients and projects which provide variety, motivation, and satisfaction in a career.
Graphic Designers can find jobs on these sites:
You can find freelance and independent contractor Graphic Designer jobs on these sites:
Graphic 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 or online Meetups yields opportunities over time if you stick with it for a few months.
Graphic Designers can apply for a wide variety of positions which may be narrowed down based on industry, skills, interests, location, and desired employer. Graphic Designers might start out in junior or entry-level positions but will find that rising the ranks to a Senior Graphic Designer is possible and will result in a better annual salary. Here are a few options you might be qualified for as a Graphic 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
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
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
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
Glassdoor Avg. Salary
$60K / 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