Graphic designers use computer software to create visual concepts, such as images, logos, or brochures, to deliver a message chosen by their clients. In the process they select colors, text style, images, and the layout of a design and present it to their clients or management for approval. They may need to incorporate recommendations into the final design after their client has looked at an earlier version. Graphic designers work closely with a company's advertising, public relations, and marketing department to produce materials for consumers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identifies the following duties as common to the graphic design profession:
- Create images, brochures, logos, magazines, and other visual forms of communication to deliver a message
- Meet with clients to determine the needs of a project
- Select colors, images, and layout or a product
- Present the designs to clients and incorporate any changes they suggest
Becoming a Graphic Designer
Graphic design jobs typically require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related subject. Some employers may consider applicants who have degrees in other fields, such as web design, as well as extensive technical training in graphic design. In addition to a degree, candidates must also send in a professional portfolio that showcases examples of their work. This is particularly important to this profession because employers place great value on a candidate’s design skills and creativity.
Undergraduate graphic design programs give students the chance to develop their skills while also allowing them to build a strong portfolio. Graphic design courses may include design fundamentals, web design, history and theory of design, color theory, and print production. These courses offer hands-on experience using graphics software, such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign, to create images, brochures, logos, or websites. Students interested in graphic design schools should check to see if they’re accredited by the National Association of Schools of Arts and Design (NASAD). The NASAD approves colleges that meet an external set of criteria, which demonstrates a commitment to a high standard of academic quality and institutional integrity.
Since graphic designers work with computer graphics and design software they need to stay up-to-date on any updates that are released. Most companies don’t have a set requirement for continuing education, and there are no licenses needed to work in a graphic design career. There are graphic design certificates available for current professionals in other fields, such as web design. These certificates, which are offered by junior colleges and universities, feature study in drawing, digital imaging, and computer illustration.