A career in graphic design is an excellent choice for those who are creative and enjoy composing visual concepts using computer software. Most professional graphic designers have daily responsibilities that include crafting content that conveys a message to the consumer through logos, product manuals, advertisements, brochures, and many other channels. It’s important for these designers to understand the basic design principles and industry-standard software. The field of graphic design is vast and includes many exciting career options. Below you can read more about the top nine graphic design careers in 2021 and the specifications of each role.
1. Brand and Logo Designer
The primary role of a brand and logo designer is to create branding for a specific client, company, or product. These professionals need strong problem-solving skills and the ability to take a client’s idea concepts and use that information to determine the target audience and best design practices.
While these two functions are different, graphic designers working in branding must be able to develop electronic media for a variety of formats, including logos, websites, marketing materials, and social media. It’s also crucial that brand designers understand design principles and existing content in the field to ensure all branding materials are original and unique.
The average national salary for a brand and logo designer is around $64,000 per year, though this can vary depending on physical location and experience in the field.
2. Advertising Designer
Working as an advertising designer includes daily responsibilities like creating ad campaigns and marketing materials to reach a client’s target audience. It’s common for professionals in this role to work with a team to build both print and digital media. Advertising designers need strong attention to detail, a creative eye, and teamwork skills to succeed in this role.
The media created by designers in this position is typically found on promotional material like billboards, magazines, and infographics. Some advertising designers sketch their media by hand, while others use computer software to build visually compelling content. On average, the pay for advertising designers is $25.00 per hour in the United States.
3. Graphic Designer
The term graphic designer applies to many different roles and career positions, but generally, these professionals need to take a client’s vision and bring it to life through visual media. Graphic designers must have strong computer software skills, specifically with industry-standard apps found in Adobe Creative Cloud. The most common applications graphic designers utilize on the job include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Adobe XD.
For those looking to start a career in graphic design, it’s essential to understand the different employment options available. While some graphic designers prefer traditional roles working for a company on a team of creative professionals, others choose to freelance and secure their own work. Graphic designers in the United States have an average salary of $53,000 or $25.66 per hour.
4. Art Director
The main role of art directors is overseeing the creative process and determining the most efficient way to present visual concepts that match a client’s brand vision. Though this role is typically suited for those with extensive experience in the design field, art directors oversee other professionals such as graphic designers and copywriters. Art directors are hired in a variety of different industries, including public relations firms, advertising, and magazine or newspaper publishing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for art directors is expected to grow 11% through 2030. This is higher than the 8% national average, showing the vast opportunities for entering the industry. In the United States, art directors have an average salary of $97,000, though this can increase for those who work in the motion picture and video industries.
5. User Experience (UX) Designer
User experience (UX) designers work to ensure that products, websites, and services are functional and accessible for users. Essentially, this means that UX designers are concerned with customer experience functions such as finding information, the ability to complete tasks quickly, and ease of use. The daily tasks of a UX designer can vary with different types of employment, but some typical responsibilities are conducting research and product testing.
One of the easiest ways to break into the field of UX design is to complete a UX Design Bootcamp. These courses are immersive and provide students with real-life experience in the industry. On average, UX designers have a salary of around $89,000.
6. User Interface (UI) Designer
While UX and UI designers are often grouped under the term web designers, there are significant differences between these two roles. User Interface (UI) designers create the “look” of a website, advertisement, or app to ensure it meets the client’s creative vision and is easy for consumers to engage with. UI designers often work directly with UX professionals to ensure design plans are functional and visually engaging.
It’s important that UI designers have proficiency with interface design, grid systems, and layouts to secure a position. Most UI designers in the United States have a salary of around $78,000 per year.
7. Creative Director
The creative director position is a high-executive role that oversees and develops layouts and visual plans for different projects. These professionals often have years of experience in the graphic design field and some form of education or certification in design. In addition to planning visual design projects, creative directors oversee the team completing the work and ensure the client’s creative vision or branding needs are maintained.
Creative directors are typically employed by graphic design or advertising firms, though these roles are found in a wide range of industries. The salary range for this position can range based on experience level, but the national average for this role is $75,000.
8. Photo Retoucher
Another common career path for graphic designers is the role of photo retoucher. The duties of a photo editor can vary depending on the industry but require professionals to work on images and prepare them for different projects. Though photo editing has less of an emphasis on graphic design and more on creative elements, the two roles use similar software (like Photoshop).
There are different employment options for photo editors, including self-employment entrepreneurship or working for a professional firm. This can cause the average salary for this type of role to vary, though the national average is estimated to be around $$40,000.
9. Packaging Designer
Packaging designers are graphic designers that focus specifically on brand loyalty and designing visually engaging packaging for products. These packaging design professionals are responsible for every step of the design process, from conceptualizing design plans to using CAD software to build product labels, shipment materials, and promotional supplies.
While packaging designers need to master graphic design skills and software, there are additional responsibilities these positions require. It’s crucial these designers are familiar with packaging procedures and regulations, along with food safety regulations if applicable. Packaging designers make an average salary of $55,000 per year.
Ready to Start a Design Career?
If you want to start a design career, taking graphic design courses can help you master the software and skills needed to secure a position. Graphic design is a career path with vast opportunities across different industry areas, making it an excellent choice for those who want to work with their creativity. It’s not always necessary to commit to a four-year degree program when looking to switch careers and jump into the field when there are live online graphic design bootcamps available. One of the easiest ways to get started with finding classes is to search for graphic design bootcamps in your area. Whether you want to learn in-person or virtually from home, schools like Noble Desktop have options for students new to graphic design and those who wish to advance their skills.