What do graphic designers do?
Using their creativity and acquired computer design skills, graphic designers create visual elements found in a variety of print and digital media. They might create the graphical layout for a print advertisement, design concepts for a brand’s new logo, or come up with a website’s color palate and fonts, among other things. They work with image-editing software to make these concepts come to life.
How does someone become a graphic designer?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) reports that most graphic designers are expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a similar area of study, as well as a creative portfolio showcasing their design talent. However, a lesser degree may be sufficient depending on an individual’s skills and other factors. Taking art and computer design classes in high school may help your chances of getting into a graphic-design degree program, as schools sometimes require applicants to submit design samples.
During their studies, aspiring graphic designers may want to join a student group belonging to a design association like the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) in order to help polish their skills and connect with like-minded individuals. And while graphic design and other fine-arts programs have traditionally required face-to-face instruction, some are now being made available online.
When trying to find the best graphic design schools for your needs, it’s good to reference trustworthy educational resources like U.S. News and World Report, who named the following grad schools as having the top graphic design programs in 2012:
1. Rhode Island School of Design
2. Yale University
3. Maryland Institute College of Art
4. Carnegie Mellon University
5. Virginia Commonwealth University
What are some career opportunities for graphic designers?
Entry-level graphic designers may hold the title of junior designer. After several years in the workplace, they could have an opportunity to advance to a position such as a senior designer, art director, or creative director (BLS, 2012).
Those interested in a graphic design career may want to specialize in web design or other interactive design areas to increase their employment chances (BLS, 2012). Over half of graphic designers and related design artists are now involved with web design says the AIGA Survey of Design Salaries.