Art and Design

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What You Need to Know About Becoming a Graphic Designer

All kinds of visual communications fall under the umbrella of graphic design. Professionals in the field develop advertising, entertainment, and news features in all kinds of formats used around the globe. Whether through print publications, digital broadcast media, social platforms, or web browsers, graphic designers help get powerful messages across in memorable ways.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected seven percent job growth for graphic designers from 2012-2022. This modest increase is mostly due to decreasing demand in the world of print media. For graphic designers in computer systems and related services, a much stronger 35 percent increase is projected.

When it comes to salaries, graphic designers earned a national median wage of $45,900 as of 2014. Designers with the highest salaries are typically those who have advanced training or work for custom design firms.

An In-Depth Look at Graphic Design

Graphic designers work to relay specific messages through images. They try to elicit emotions and prompt actions based on their clients’ objectives. Graphic designers are often asked to create branding materials or logos that stick with consumers and communicate a clear company identity in the process.

Some of the most common specialty areas for graphic designers are:

  • Typography
  • Web design
  • Desktop publishing
  • Interface and user experience design
  • Branding and advertising
  • Product packaging

The Key Steps to Becoming a Graphic Designer

Starting early is a good idea when it comes to developing any key career skills. It’s especially important in the world of graphic design because you have to develop solid practical abilities on which to add new theories and concepts. Sharpening design skills in high school is a great way to start on the path to a successful career as a graphic designer. Taking art classes and helping with the school newspaper are two good places to begin.

Obviously, earning a degree in graphic design is another vital step toward becoming a successful professional in the field. A bachelor’s degree is the best option here, and there are many schools that offer online programs. Coursework will cover a variety of topics, including studio art, design principles, advertising, web design, and commercial graphics. If a degree program offers an internship with a design firm, so much the better.

A compelling portfolio is crucial for every aspiring graphic designer. Everything from print ads and animation demos to website graphics might be included in these portfolios. If you don’t have much professional work to include, providing your best design samples is the way to go. Focusing on quality over quantity in a portfolio isn’t unusual for graphic designers who are just starting their careers.

Essential Attributes for Graphic Design Success

Sharp analytical skills are vital for graphic designers, but they must be complemented by artistic talent. Communication abilities are also very important, both for getting messages across on behalf of clients and for collaborating with other members of a design team. Time management skills are essential as well, because graphic designers often have to work on multiple projects at the same time.



4 schools found

Centura College

Type: Private For-Profit

Institution Level: Between 2 and 4 years

Location:4455 South Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, and South Carolina, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school experience, we are committed to the education and personal enrichment of each student. Whether you are a recent high school graduate just starting out, planning to return to the workplace in a new career field, or a member of our Armed Forces preparing to enter the civilian workforce, Centura College can get you the training you need quickly. At Centura College, it's all about the training!

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Keiser University

Type: Private Non-Profit

Institution Level: Between 2 and 4 years

Location:1500 NW 49th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

At Keiser University we are here to help you succeed by providing the professional and academic foundation to meet your educational goals and objectives. Keiser University continues to be a valuable partner to employers, the community, and, above all, a valued choice for students serious about their education and career.

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Los Angeles Film School

Type: Private For-Profit

Institution Level: Between 2 and 4 years

Location:6353 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Our goal is to prepare the next generation of creative professionals for a future in the entertainment industry. We offer degrees in Film, Audio, Animation, Music, Graphic Design and Entertainment Business. Whether you begin your journey on our Hollywood campus or choose the flexibility of online classes, our programs are designed to help you along your path.

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Southern New Hampshire University

Type: Private Non-Profit

Institution Level: Between 2 and 4 years

Location:2500 North River Rd Manchester NH 03106

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

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