Graphic designers are visual communicators. They use a variety of print, video and electronic media to create designs that meet clients’ advertising or promotional needs. Many graphic designers provide layout and overall design for newspapers, magazines, publications, or corporate reports. Others produce messages and visuals for Internet pages, mobile phones and electronic devices. These professionals may also do any number of the following duties:
- produce promotional displays and marketing brochures
- design distinctive company logos for products and businesses
- develop signs and signage systems–called environmental graphics
- produce the credits that appear before and after television programs and movies
Most graphic designers use computer software for selecting and arranging design elements and for presenting their sketches or rough drafts to clients. With the increased use of interactive media for advertising and communication, it is increasingly important that career graphic designers keep up with the latest computerized graphic design programs. Some graphic artists specialize in the digital areas of animation, video game, web site or multimedia design.
What to expect in graphics design training
In this competitive field, some formal training in fine arts or graphic design is essential. An associate degree may lead to an entry-level position as an assistant, but employers generally prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree, with a portfolio demonstrating strength in conceptual design and computer graphics.
Many public and private colleges offer two and four-year degree programs in fine arts or graphic design. Look for graphic design programs that offer grounding in technical skills, like color and composition, drawing board skills and conceptual design. The curriculum should include training in the latest computer graphics and electronic imaging software.
Key graphics design courses include:
- Drawing, Painting, Perspective
- Color Theory
- Fundamentals of Design
- Illustration, Digital Illustration
- History of Art, History of Design
- Advertising Design
- Web Site Design
- Professional Development
- Typography, Print production
Students profit by real world projects that they can turn into professional quality portfolios. The combination of technical and professional development courses in the better graphic design schools help students develop skills in critical thinking, communication, and problem solving while offering career counseling and hands-on experience.
Employment outlook for graphic designers
Most career designers are employed by specialized design firms, advertising agencies, printing and publishing firms and computer systems companies. Due to increased demand for multimedia marketing by ad agencies and computer design firms, job growth of about 13 percent is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.