Which Industries & Professions Use Graphic Design?

Are you considering a career in graphic design and unsure about the types of job opportunities available to you? This article will help you understand the diverse applications of graphic design skills across various industries, from advertising and branding to promotional advertising and public relations, and the specific tools required for each.

Key Insights

  • Graphic design, a subset of fine arts, is crucial for businesses aiming to visually communicate and connect with their audiences, majorly in the advertising and branding sectors.
  • The field of graphic design is expansive, allowing creatives to work on varied projects such as designing logos, webpages, or infographics across industries ranging from publishing to non-profits.
  • Brand development is a high-demand graphic design application, where professionals work on creating a consistent brand identity across consumer-facing projects. Experienced designers in this field can earn higher starting pay.
  • The promotional advertising field is rapidly growing, providing opportunities for graphic designers to work on marketing materials for live events in venues and theaters.
  • Social media management and marketing positions frequently utilize graphic design skills to create engaging and memorable content across various platforms.
  • Design tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, are industry standards, and Noble Desktop provides comprehensive in-person and online graphic design training classes for these tools.

An essential aspect of receiving professional training to set yourself up for a career change is learning what kinds of fields and industries that training will help you find work in. Each industry will have different requirements and expectations for prospective employees and you should consider these expectations when you start your training. This is true for students who have an idea of what kind of work they want to do and those who aren’t yet sure what path they want to take after learning graphic design skills.

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is a field of creative arts that focuses on projecting visual communication, often built of combinations of text, images, photographs, and other visual elements, with specific goals. Graphic design covers a wide array of different artistic disciplines and endeavors. Still, at its core, it is the act of using visual imagery to communicate with audiences and convey feelings and ideas that language alone wouldn’t be able to express. As a subset of the fine arts, graphic design skills are used in virtually every industry, but they are particularly prominent in advertising and branding. Advertisements, product packaging, logos, branded merchandise, and other promotional materials all demonstrate graphic design skills. Any business or organization looking to reach an audience will want to hire those skilled in graphic design.

Since graphic design covers a wide range of artistic disciplines, no two Graphic Designers will be working with the same toolset or on the same kinds of projects. Some will work in traditional print mediums, such as the publishing or magazine industry. Some will work on designing logos and branded merchandise for companies to place on billboards, hats, and other promotional materials. Some will work on digital projects, building webpages and mobile application assets. Others will design infographics, posters, and signage for activist organizations or non-profits. Graphic design is a wide-open field of diverse artistic endeavors, and learning graphic design skills will open many doors for creatives.

Read more about what graphic design is and why you should learn it. 

What Can You Do with Graphic Design?

Graphic design represents a wide-ranging field of visual expression, which means there is virtually no limit to the kinds of images that sufficiently skilled creatives can create. As the field of graphic design is so expensive, creatives can make use of their skills in both professional and personal contexts. As professional Graphic Designers, creatives will be tasked with building imagery that is both evocative and communicates complex persuasive ideas to their audience of consumers. Graphic Designers will build the iconography of companies and brands, build the images that audiences come to associate with those companies, and help construct memorable advertising campaigns, promotional material, and product packaging.

Graphic Design Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

Graphic design skills are also useful for non-professionals who want to persuade large audiences. Small business owners, start-up entrepreneurs, or even creatives working in marketplaces like Etsy may wish to learn more about graphic design to build their brand identities and set themselves apart from their competitors. Activists and organizers can learn graphic design skills to build more visually appealing and persuasive designs for flyers and infographics. Politicians will hire graphic designers to build campaign materials. As long as someone attempts to communicate visually to an audience, they will benefit from either learning graphic design skills or working closely alongside someone who knows them.

Common Industries That Use Graphic Design

While graphic design tools are used in almost every industry with a significant customer-facing component, each industry has its own niche use of the tools and techniques you’ll learn as an aspiring Graphic Designer. Some industries will significantly use InDesign, while others will require designers to master Photoshop and Illustrator. Each industry will work with graphic design tools differently, so the kinds of skills you need to work in any given industry will vary and if you are interested in a specific kind of work, you’ll want to work to ensure that your portfolio emphasizes those skills.

Print Publishing

The print publishing industry is a fairly expansive one and it encompasses everything from newspapers and magazines to publishing houses to print advertising firms. These fields rely on tools like Adobe InDesign to create the base layouts upon which they will build every single page of their finished products. This can be as simple as designing single page layouts for newspapers, or as advanced as building multi-page magazines spreads, brochures, or even full books. Using InDesign, creatives will create and populate the layouts for these projects aiming to make them visually appealing and effective at communicating information.

In addition, print advertising and publishing tend to make extensive use of Photoshop as a means of creating the images that will eventually be placed onto these designs in advance of publication. While it is most commonly associated with things like ensuring that advertisements look perfect or touching up photographs in fashion magazines, Photoshop is used by virtually all professional photographers who plan to work in the print publishing industry to make photographs look better on the printed page, particularly since digital photography has become the standard in virtually every facet of the print publishing industry.

The print publishing industry is in the process of contracting as more and more of its primary functions move online. However, while the traditional print publishing industry may be shrinking, it isn’t dying, particularly in the fields related to book publishing, and very few major employers are vanishing, they are simply moving their focus online, giving aspiring designers a chance to find gainful employment in their online publishing departments.

Brand Development

One of the most common uses of graphic design tools, particularly Adobe Illustrator, is in the field of brand identity development, particularly concerning things like logos, merchandising and branded marketing materials. These Graphic Designers are tasked with ensuring that a company or organization presents a coherent and consistent brand identity across all of its consumer-facing projects and companies pay top dollar to ensure that their branding is effective and memorable. This is an important part of building an online presence in increasingly competitive marketplaces, meaning that the demand for these jobs is rapidly increasing.

There are two main types of branding development employees. Some employees are hired to work in-house at massive companies or organizations that regularly need the services of Graphic Designers who can build or modify product branding, packing, logos, or other important marketing materials. Some of these companies include firms like Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Amazon. The other major part of this industry are Graphic Designers working at consulting and design firms contracted out by smaller companies and organizations to assist in developing branding and marketing strategies. These professionals will work on a wider variety of projects then their in-house counterparts. 

Graphics Designers working in brand development may find that their starting pay is higher than comparable designers working in related fields because their skills are in high demand. This is especially true for experienced designers who can work in management capacities in these brand management firms.

Promotional Industries

One of the fastest-growing industries for Graphic Designers is the field of promotional advertising. This is a wide-ranging field that encompasses everything from design promotional material for world tour concerts and professional sports franchises all the way to small local theaters and entertainment venues. This work primarily focuses on constructing and designing promotional material for live events that are being put on at venues and theaters, making it an industry that is constantly expanding. Graphic Designers working in this field will likely be contracted by venues or performers to design marketing materials such as posters, playbills, tickets, programs, and much more. Some more experienced designers may work in-house at theaters, concert halls, or other venues to design regular rotations of material for different seasons and some designers may work directly with individual event organizers or even individual performers to produce promotional material for their events.

These professionals will use a wide variety of design tools to construct this promotional material, but the most common tools will be the common suite of Adobe Creative Cloud. The tools will vary depending on the kind of promotional material you are building. Thus, if you are tasked with designing a promotional poster or a program for a musical, you are likely to use InDesign to build the layouts for these materials. On the other hand, if you are tasked with designing band logos that will go on branded merchandise, you are more likely to use InDesign to design these aspects of the project.

As more and more venues via for consumers’ limited time, money, and attention, these industries will become even more attentive to the promotional materials they are producing, resulting in even greater demand for Graphic Designers who can build compelling and evocative work. As one of the fastest-growing sectors of the graphic design industry, looking for jobs in the entertainment or promotional industries is a good strategy for aspiring Graphic Designers.

Social Media Management

Alongside brand development positions, social media management and marketing positions regularly make use of graphic design skills to create content that is evocative, memorable, and on-brand for a client or firm. It is important that individuals, brands, and firms have a coherent online presence and social media engagement is a vital part of this strategy. While it may seem simple, Social Media Managers will use tools like Photoshop and Illustrator to build much of the content that their clients share on their accounts in an effort to become noticed and maintain relevance. Even something as simple as professionally editing Instagram photos or creating a memorable watermark for the content you produce goes a long way to strengthening a social media marketing strategy, so graphic design skills will see a lot of use in this industry.

Social Media Managers and Marketing Specialists are unlikely to get by only knowing graphic design skills, since they will need to learn how to run digital marketing campaigns and build strategies for specific platforms, but learning graphic design skills will be an important piece of the puzzle. Learning how to judiciously build designs in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign will give you more tools to manage client’s brand identities and produce a more coherent image across multiple platforms. You will also be setting yourself up for success in learning other important social media management skills, like visual design or motion graphics design.

Social media specialists are a subset of public relations specialists, a field that is expected to experience above-average job growth over the next decade. This is also a position that strongly rewards freelance workers, so it is a solid industry to explore if you are interested in working for yourself.

Learn Graphic Design Skills with Noble Desktop

Interested in learning graphic design? There are a few different options available. It’s possible to either study individual graphic design tools in accelerated bootcamps or learn complementary graphic design skills in more career-focused training programs. Both graphic design training courses are available to students through Noble Desktop, both in-person and online. These courses are taught by experienced instructors who can teach students important graphic design techniques and give them vital feedback on their designs. Even online, Noble strives to keep class sizes small, ensuring that students can interface directly with their instructors. Plus, all of Noble’s courses have the option to retake the course for free within a year. This allows students to hone their skills, cover material that may have given them difficulty, or just get more hands-on practice and feedback on their designs.

For students looking to learn the programs most commonly associated with professional graphic design, Noble offers a wide selection of bootcamps. These include training courses in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, all of which are industry-standard tools. These courses will provide students with hands-on training in the advanced techniques to manipulate and edit photos, build vector graphic illustrations, or construct layout designs. Each of these courses will guide students through practical exercises replicating the kinds of projects built by professional Graphic Designers. Each of these courses will teach an individual tool, but because they are all part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, learning one tool will ease future training and greatly expand how creatives can use multiple programs simultaneously.

Students looking to build a career in graphic design may wish to consider Noble’s Graphic Design Certificate program. This accelerated training program will teach students all three major 2D graphic design tools. Students will learn Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign work separately, then they will learn how these programs complement one another, introducing students to new and expansive ways to build graphic designs. Since this is a career-focused bootcamp, students will receive one-on-one career mentorship. The final portion of the course is dedicated to helping students build a practical portfolio of sample design that they can take onto the job market. For students looking to turn a passion for graphic design into a career, Noble’s certificate programs are an ideal place to receive the necessary skills training. You can also browse the full list of schools for graphic design classes on the Noble website.

Key Insights

  • Graphic design is an incredibly versatile skill set that finds itself utilized in a wide variety of different industries.
  • Graphic design skills are most commonly used in advertising or branding adjacent industries since visual communication is such a vital part of creating an evocative and memorable product identity.
  • Major areas of growth for Graphic Designers are in the promotional advertising industry and the field of public relations.
  • Graphic design skills are also still utilized in print media and advertising industries, though many of those jobs are migrating online.
  • Regardless of what field you hope to enter into using your graphic design training, Noble Desktop is available to help you prepare with comprehensive in-person and online graphic design training classes.

How to Learn Graphic Design

Master graphic design with hands-on training. Graphic design is the production of digital and print media that follows certain conventions of style, color, and typography in order to evoke a positive reaction from its viewers.

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