Graphic designers fuse creativity and technology to create engaging graphics that convey a message.
If you’re creative, have a good eye for color and composition, and love technology, then graphic design may be the career for you. Graphic designers’ duties vary widely and include tasks like web design, laying out catalogs and newsletters, designing logos and marketing collateral, and creating any other digital and print materials your company or clients require.
The demand for well-designed graphics - and skilled graphic designers - is rising. From multimedia advertising campaigns to print publishing and package design, clients expect modern branding initiatives to boost sales and elevate their status. Self-employment opportunities abound for talented designers with an entrepreneurial spirit. Contributing to graphic designer job growth is the omnipresent need for innovative digital designs now that almost every business wants an eye-catching web presence.
While graphic design can be fun, a graphic designer career should not be taken lightly. To be a successful designer, it’s important to carefully construct your learning plan, continually advance your skills to keep pace with the latest digital design technologies and build on your portfolio of work. Word of mouth and feedback from past employers typically play into the decision to hire graphic designers, so reputation and quality of service are essential to long-term success.
Graphic design courses can unlock your natural talent and prepare you for a job you love. There are numerous graphic designer training programs and specialized college degrees featuring coursework in print and digital design. Compare the top-rated graphic design courses & degrees in the U.S. and online.
a.k.a. Graphic Artist | Digital Media Designer | Web Designer | Adobe Graphic Designer | Interactive Media Designer
Graphic Designer Skills & Responsibilities
Typical day-to-day activities and in-demand skill sets for graphic designers include the following. Graphic designers:
- Design websites, email and newsletter templates, and social media posts.
- Plan layouts for magazines, brochures, and other print publications.
- Design corporate logos, business cards, and company letterhead.
- Make promotional displays, teasers, and signs for public exhibitions.
- Create banner ads and rich media marketing campaigns for web pages.
- Work closely with copywriters, creative directors, and marketing managers.
- Are proficient in Adobe's digital design suite, including Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat.
Graphic Designer Salary
The median annual salary for graphic designers is $57,000, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Average salaries for graphic design specialists and related positions:
- Packaging Designer: $57,000
- Multimedia Designer: $64,000
- Web Graphics Designer: $65,000
- Interactive Graphics Designer: $67,000
- Catalog Designer: $77,000
- Graphic User Interface Designer: $83,000
- Senior Art Director: $98,000
Top paying cities and metropolitan areas for graphic designers:
- Seattle, Washington: $84,000
- San Francisco / Oakland, CA: $81,000
- San Jose / Santa Clara, CA $78,000
- Washington DC Metro: $77,000
- Boston / Cambridge, MA: $73,000
- New York City Metro: $70,000
Some graphic design positions pay hourly; in these roles, designers earn an average of $27 per hour. Hourly rates for graphic designers will vary widely based on location, experience, and portfolio of work.
Graphic Designer Education Requirements
An undergrad or graduate degree in graphic design, fine arts, multimedia production, or a similar field of study in the creative arts is required education for most graphic design positions. Hands-on visual design experience is just as necessary - or more so, depending on who you ask - so regardless of how you learn or where you train, be sure to keep a comprehensive portfolio of your best design projects, as this is how professional graphic designers showcase their work to prospective clients and employers. Because your design portfolio is a critical factor in getting hired, all of the best graphic design training programs include assistance in graphic designer portfolios and resume creation.
As the demand for graphic designers continues to increase, colleges and private design schools are bolstering their degree and certificate programs with coursework in modern digital design topics, such as 3D computer animation, interactive media, web and mobile application design, and digital photography & image manipulation. Expertise in the latest graphic design software is also vital, especially the Adobe Creative Suite, the most respected and widely used collection of graphic design programs. Prospective print designers should learn Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop & Acrobat Pro, while web designers should focus on Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, XD & Spark.
Research and compare the top-rated graphic design training programs in the U.S. and online below.
Graphic Designer Training
Our technology and design school network offers various training programs for graphic designers. Compare online courses, degrees, and certificates matching the graphic designer education requirements.
- Online multimedia certificates in:
- Digital Painting in Adobe Photoshop
- Animation using Maya and Toon Boom
- VFX Production in Houdini & Nuke
Graphic Designer Certifications
Marketable certifications for graphic designers include the following:
Graphic Designer Jobs
Your skills and training in graphic design may qualify you for a range of positions:
Graphic Design Job Outlook
Graphic designer employment will grow by 3% from 2022 through 2032, in line with all occupations, but this statistic is industry-dependent; work for graphic designers in print media (newspapers, magazines, catalogs, etc.) is expected to shrink by more than 20%, while the job market for digital artists should see decent gains.
Graphic artists with web design and 3D animation experience will be especially sought-after as demand increases for design projects that utilize interactive media for websites, mobile apps, video games, and emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). In addition, the continued growth of Internet advertising will drive increased opportunities for digital designers.
- Web Developer
- Video Game Designer
- User Interface Developer
- Mobile Application Developer
- Computer Animator