Graphic design is a career that requires creativity and an artistic eye to develop visual communications. It encompasses a broad range of areas, including digital design, marketing, and video production, among many other specialties. Many people are unfamiliar with the graphic design field and may wonder what these professionals do each day for their career roles. You can read more below on what a graphic design career entails and the specifics around daily functions and environment.

What Does a Graphic Designer Do?

Before discussing the daily functions of a graphic designer, it’s important to understand the role of a designer in the field. It’s not uncommon for people to wonder what a graphic designer does during their workday and the type of projects they work on. Essentially, a graphic designer is a professional that works to combine images, text, and media into content for a client or company.

Some graphic designers work independently as freelancers and communicate directly with clients on project goals. Other graphic designers have full-time employment positions with companies and often work in a team setting to complete projects and reach business goals. Graphic designers craft a variety of content, including branding materials, marketing campaigns, and other advertisements either by hand or with computer-based software. The most common software used by graphic designers is found in the Adobe Creative Cloud, along with additional programs like WordPress and Sketch.

Graphic Designer Daily Functions and Responsibilities

Due to the graphic design industry having such a wide range of specialties and functions, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact daily routine and responsibilities of someone working in the field. The day-to-day role can also depend on whether the designer works as a freelancer or is employed by a company and works with a team of other design professionals.

Some of the most common daily functions and responsibilities of a graphic designer include:

  • Meets with clients or team members to discuss project goals
  • Communicate with team members and collaborate on creative ideas
  • Develop content such as graphics, web pages, logos, advertisements, or brochures
  • Craft content using industry-standard software, such as the apps found in Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Make revisions and edits as requested
  • Ensure final product meets all goals and is ready for publishing

Work Environment and Schedule

A graphic designer’s daily work environment and schedule are challenging to pinpoint, as each professional is employed differently and works on different types of projects. For freelance graphic designers, much of the work environment and daily schedule will depend on their specific work style and current project load. One main challenge freelance designers face is developing time management skills so they can stay motivated and meet important deadlines. Freelancers are responsible for being proactive and responsible for their own schedule and environment, which does not work for every designer. Many freelancers use sites like Upwork to gain experience and build their portfolios before looking for full-time employment.

Some designers prefer to secure traditional employment with a company or organization. It’s common for these graphic designers to work onsite and complete projects with a team of other professionals. These employees are subject to specific company practices and schedules, which is why it’s difficult to pinpoint specifics. Many designers who work in an office follow standard business hours, while freelancers may work at odd hours of the day or night.

Average Salary and Career Outlook

Starting a career in graphic design can provide lucrative options for salary and career outlook over time, as the industry is expected to grow in the coming years. The BLS estimates the graphic design industry will grow 3% through 2030, which will result in around 20,000 new job openings each year. Most of these openings are expected to fall within the areas of design services, marketing, advertising, and the public relations industries. The average salary of a graphic design professional falls around $55,000 per year, though this can increase with experience, additional training, and a strong portfolio.

Is a College Degree Necessary?

It’s a common misconception that a college degree is required to start a graphic design career or secure full-time employment. It is unnecessary to obtain a college degree just to start a career in graphic design, as there are countless other options for training and learning the fundamental skills needed to work in the industry.

In addition to traditional four-year degrees, there are graphic design certificate courses for those who want to learn more about the industry without such a long time commitment. Certificate or workshop-style courses tend to be more affordable than college degrees but still provide the same immersive training and hands-on experience. It’s not to say that a bachelor’s degree won’t help with the job search, but it is not a requirement to start working as a freelancer or professional designer for a company. It’s also common for those with minimal experience to secure an internship that provides valuable training and networking within the design community.

Graphic designers are vital to the visual arts industry, as they combine images, text, and motion graphics in their final products. They carry various duties and responsibilities in their career roles and must utilize industry software during the creative development process. If this type of career sounds intriguing and you want to learn more, graphic design classes are available that cover fundamental skills.

If you’re looking to take a shorter course option that still covers essential topics, make sure to search for graphic design bootcamps in your area. If you prefer to learn from home and want to avoid commuting to a school, live online graphic design bootcamps are also available from providers like Noble Desktop.