Graphic Designers work within the graphic design and graphic arts industries such as advertising and design agencies. Everything that is seen on posters, adverts, brochures, signage, brochures and websites (and countless more images) has been created by a graphic designer. Typically, graphic designers work with Art Directors who interpret the needs of their clients and then give a brief – or steer – to the graphic designer’s work.
Graphic Design Jobs
Is it for you?
Many graphic designers are employed in the creative departments of advertising agencies or large organisations and are termed ‘Creatives’. You’ll be working in a fast-paced ‘ideas-led’ environment where your work will be looked at, revised – sometimes even criticised – but you’ll always need to keep going and come up with your designs. Indeed, constant revisions to your designs as the needs of clients change means you’ll have to be both persistent and good natured.
It is a job in which you can express yourself and develop your own style – and see the results of your work out in the real world. If you want to do more than design and present your ideas but also brief and guide others then you can aim to become Senior Designer or Head of the Creative Department whereby you are in overall charge of creative output.
Qualifications and Skills
You may have a natural ability to design and draw – and you may have developed your flair for colours and layouts at school, however, you will need formal qualifications to become a graphic designer. Typically such courses include BA (Hons) in Graphic Design or Product Design; a Dip HE in Illustration, Interactive Media Design, Interior & Spatial Design or Photography.
There are foundation courses in Art, Design and Media and City and Guilds qualifications in sketching, drawing, painting, fashion design and illustration. Nearly all graphic designer jobs demand proficiency from popular graphic design software programmes such as Adobe, Photoshop, Illustrator etc – as well as the good old QuarkXPress that was once the preferred choice of designers across the world.
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Opportunities and salaries
There is an abundance of jobs for graphic designers – but so too is there an abundance of designers. It is also an industry where freelancing and contract work is very common as rewards can be high for good freelancer designers who don’t wish to be tied to one particular company or agency.
You can basically choose to work ‘agency-side’ or ‘client-side’. In the former you’ll be employed within an agency to work on their clients’ work. This means you’ll be working on a wide variety of brand names and different requirements, thus building your experience and challenging you every day. In the former, you could go ‘in-house’ working in the creative department of a large corporation. The benefits could be less frantic working hours and even a more secure job but you’ll only be working on that company’s output – or brand.
Salaries start quite low in either camp and you could start out on something like £17k rising to £25k after a few years. As a Senior Graphic Designer or Art Director this will increase to £35k upwards. However as Creative Director in a recognised agency your salary could easily by £70k plus.