graphic designer
Explore the graphic designer career path, including skills and responsibilities, education requirements, training and certification programs, outlook, jobs & salaries.

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.

Featured Graphic Design Programs

Explore flexible online certificates and degrees in graphic design.

Southern New Hampshire University

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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

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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.

Graphic Designer Salary $57,000


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.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Analysis of Online Job Boards

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.

Admissions advisors can provide more info about graphic design programs, admissions & start dates, distance learning, career services, tuition costs, and financial aid options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual classes from accredited degrees.
CG Spectrum
  • Online multimedia certificates in:
    • Digital Painting in Adobe Photoshop
    • Animation using Maya and Toon Boom
    • VFX Production in Houdini & Nuke
Southern New Hampshire University
  • Create Stunning, Interactive Websites
  • Graphic Design Training in Adobe Suite
  • Learn UI / UX Design and Development
  • Build a Multimedia Design Portfolio
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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:

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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.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook

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About the Author

IT Subject Matter ExpertDaniel Greenspan is the founder and Editor-in-chief of ITCareerFinder. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers, and hiring managers since 2005 has given him unique insight into the information technology job market and the skills and credentials IT pros need to succeed.