How to become a Graphic Designer
A graphic designer creates visual concepts, from logos to bus wraps, and everything in between. They work on all areas of a project, from the initial consultation to the final design. Graphic designers can work in-house or on a freelance basis.
Graphic designers create different types of visual concepts, including logos and pictures, for websites. They execute the entire process of a concept’s creation: from the research, to the brand guidelines, to the actual creation of the design. Nowadays, most of a graphic designer’s work is done on the computer, but sometimes computer drawing pads are used to create hand-drawn images.
Graphic designers will often be the sole undertakers of a project. Their job will include:
- Discussing the requirements of a brief with the client.
- Creating a quote with labour time and additional costs in mind.
- Deciding on the correct programmes, material and technology to use – sometimes the client will have an input with this.
- Creating the design, which will often include a few rough drafts and the final product.
- Communicating with the client throughout the whole process, and collaborating with any non-graphic designer staff who are involved in the project.
- Freelance graphic designers will also need to market their business.
Most people who become a graphic designer will have specific qualifications; the most common being a degree in graphic design, illustration, or art and design. Graduates will then go on to apply for graphic designer roles, often in marketing teams, or they may start their own freelance business straightaway after graduation.
However, for those wondering how to get into graphic design without university education, it is possible to do so with a college diploma, or to take a vocational route by acquiring work experience and developing a strong online portfolio. Apprenticeships in design are also a good way into the career.
Prospective candidates will also need to show proficiency with design software, such as InDesign, and image manipulation software like Photoshop. They should also be prepared to demonstrate key skills like excellent attention to detail and communication abilities.
Typically, competition for graphic design jobs is fierce, and many candidates find it challenging to get into the industry. A comprehensive portfolio of design work and proof of taking supplementary courses would put someone in a good position when applying for jobs, courses, or apprenticeships.
Many people opt to become a freelance graphic designer, starting up their own business and relying on private clients. Graphic design is one of the best careers to do on a self-employed basis, as many companies hire designers just for a one-time project. Of course, this means that freelancers must constantly pitch and market themselves in order to find work.
What degree is most commonly held by a Graphic Designer?
- Diploma / BA of Graphic Design
- Diploma / BA of Marketing
- Diploma / BA of Design and Visual Communications, General
- Diploma / BA of Communication Design
- Diploma / BA of Photography
- Diploma / BA of Art and Design
- Diploma / BA of Illustration
Career Transportability across Countries
What is the Salary of a Graphic Designer?
|Experience||Average salary | year|
|Graphic Designer||1-3 yrs||$35,000||£24,000||$31,651|
|Graphic Designer||3-5 yrs||$50,300||£31,300||$34,394|
|Graphic Designer||5-10 yrs||$72,300||£45,000||$41,258|
What skills are needed to become a Graphic Designer?
- Graphic Design
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Logo Design
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Web Design
- Social Media
- Microsoft Office
- Branding & Identity
- Art Direction
- Customer Service
- Corporate Identity
- Social Media Marketing
- Creative Direction
Graphic Designer Courses
- Programming with GUIs
Learn what a Graphical User Interface is and write your own GUI-based applications with this practical course for teachers
- Video Game Design and Development: Video Game Character Design
How and why do video gamers identify with the characters they control Find out with this introduction to character design
- Introduction to Web Development
- UX Design: From Concept to Prototype
Better understand the UX design process and learn how to build a user-centred product from concept to prototype
- 3D Graphics for Web Developers
Use WebGL to develop high-quality interactive 3D graphics applications that run natively in browsers
- Introduction to UX and Accessible Design
Explore the world of user interfaces and accessible design and discover how you can start a career as a UX designer
Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?
Programming with GUIsLearn what a Graphical User Interface is and write your own GUI-based applications with this practical course for teachers.Show course overview
Video Game Design and Development: Video Game Character DesignHow and why do video gamers identify with the characters they control? Find out with this introduction to character design.Show course overview