Graphic design jobs involve developing layouts and visual concepts to communicate ideas to consumers. The job is typically done on computer software, although some graphic designers may draft projects by hand initially. Their work typically ends up being used in advertisements, brochures, magazines or corporate material.
This job requires proficiency in graphic design software, including digital illustration and photo editing applications, since most work is done digitally. Graphic designers must have a good eye for detail, be able to recognize subtle differences in colors and fonts, and know how to combine images and text effectively. They also need to have good communication skills in order to clarify and confirm what their clients are looking for.
In 2017, the median annual wage for this field was $48,700. Jobs in advertising, public relations and specialized design services pay the most, and the highest 10 percent of earners make a median salary of $83,140.
While skill and experience are what matters most for this job, most employers require a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related area. Additionally, some software vendors offer certifications that can demonstrate your competence to potential employers. Graphic design students often use internships as a way to get experience, build professional relationships and build a portfolio that demonstrates their abilities and style. This is a highly competitive field; therefore, even slight advantages make a huge difference in your chances of finding employment.
Most work is done in studios with access to equipment, drafting tables and computers with the necessary software. A large percentage of graphic designers are self-employed and generally work alone; however, large projects generally require collaboration with a team.
Job outlook for this field is lower than average. Overall expected job growth from 2016 through 2026 is at 4 percent, but this includes more traditional publishing work, which is expected to decline. Employment based around digital design is expected to grow 20 percent over the same period, so prospects are decent for those willing to keep learning as new applications are developed.