Graphic Design as a Career

Monday, October 04, 2010
Written by Doug Wade

What Do Graphic Designers Do?


Graphic design is everywhere. When it’s good, it has a way of feeling organic—like a natural part of our environment. However, if you stop to notice the lines and colors in ordinary objects, you can see that someone put thought into making them both functional and appealing. A quick survey of almost any room, city block or town square will yield several examples of graphic designers’ work. Graphic designers influence how we view the world using colors, illustrations, photos and fonts. Look at a book or magazine, go to a coffee shop, or take a drive. When you do, you’ll encounter graphic design. From company logos, to road signs, to product packaging, design is part of our everyday lives.

What Graphic Design Tasks are required?

In a graphic design job, you may be responsible for the following kinds of tasks:

  • Brainstorming and mocking up design ideas
  • Presenting ideas to clients
  • Meeting with clients and adjusting designs to fit their needs or taste
  • Projecting budgets and schedules
  • Using computer software to execute designs
  • Working with others, such as printers, programmers, developers or other technicians, to complete the final product

What skills are needed?

Artistic Sensibility - In the last few decades, computer software and technology have revolutionized the graphic design industry. Even so, there is no substitute for artistic sensibility. Knowledge about design elements, such as color and composition, is vital for graphic designers. Artistic ability and creativity are essential.

Technical Skill – A graphic design job requires the technical skills to use design software programs such as Adobe CS or web development tools like Joomla Content Management (CMS). You may learn other specific software in graphic design school; however, a general interest in computers and an aptitude for learning new technology will be beneficial. As technology continues to develop, graphic designers hoping for longevity in the field need to be able to adapt.

Communication Ability – Sometimes known as visual communication, graphic design requires the ability to effectively present ideas—both verbally and visually. You’ll need to be able to sell your ideas to clients and work with them to achieve the end product they want.

Organization – Graphic designers need to be organized in order to meet deadlines and stay within a budget. General business skills will come in handy, since many graphic designers work on a freelance or contract basis.

Problem Solving Ability – Graphic design is a brainteaser. Choosing just the right fonts, colors and lines to create a balanced composition, while simultaneously conveying meaning, is complicated. In order to succeed in a graphic design job, you’ll need to have strong problem solving skills and love a good challenge.

Is a graphic design job right for me?

If you have a good eye for color and composition, a love of technology, and skill in communicating ideas, a graphic design job will allow you to combine all of these elements in your work. A career in this field may be just right for you.

Web links for local schools:

Sinclair Community College
School of Advertising Art
Columbus College of Art & Design
Art Academy of Cincinnati

Types of jobs to apply for:

  • Web Designer
  • Web Developer
  • Internet Specialist-Internet Marketer
  • Presentation artist
  • Video production
  • Commercial artist
  • Print designer (brochures, stationery, logos, posters, signs)
  • Film production
  • Ad agency
  • Marketing communications

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