A career in graphic design jobs can be an exciting way to combine art, technology and communication. These professionals are needed on many projects in a variety of fields, including marketing and advertising, publishing, healthcare and digital communications. As you begin exploring jobs in graphic design, it is beneficial to understand your career prospects and what various positions entail. In this article, we explore 11 common graphic design jobs—including their average salaries, duties and requirements.
What do graphic designers will do?
Graphic designers create graphics and layouts for a wide variety of products, including company logos, websites, clothing, books, games and product user manuals. These professionals must possess a strong knowledge of color theory, image construction, font types and many other artistic principles to determine the strongest appeal to the brand’s target market. They use a variety of computerized design programs to sketch new designs and incorporate existing brand details to create innovative designs that appeal to the brand’s target demographic.
Graphic design jobs typically require the following skills and qualifications:
- Computerized sketching abilities
- Creativity and innovation
- Understanding of audience targeting
- Proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Corel Graphics Suite or Paintshop Pro
- latest design updates on market demand
Types of graphic design jobs
A degree relating to graphic design can be beneficial for a range of careers. The best job for you depends on your interests, skills, career goals and values. Here are 11 graphic design-related jobs to explore as you begin your job search:
1. Photo Editor
Primary duties: Photo editors work with real-life images to adjust, color-correct or combine images to create the desired final image. Image editing can be as simple as adjusting the lighting and color balance on a photograph or as drastic as changing garment colors or adding logo information or banners to the image.
Careers focusing on editing photography have less of an emphasis on graphic design, but they require a complete knowledge of Photoshop, which is typically covered in a graphic design program. It is often beneficial for companies to employ a designer who can alter images when the product image does not accurately represent the final product, as images may need to be taken before a design is finalized.
Requirements: An in-depth knowledge of Photoshop and other photo-editing software is required. Many companies may prefer an associate or bachelor’s degree in photography, graphic design or product design, but it may not be required for candidates who possess expert knowledge of photo-editing software and have a strong portfolio of work
2. Apparel graphic design jobs
Primary duties: Apparel graphic designers create individual, original images for clothing. They develop a strong understanding of the brand’s customers and ensure their graphics are cohesive and visually appealing to that audience. They design a variety of images and font-based graphics for screen printing on shirts, pocket-placed embroidery designs and any other special designs or prints the brand’s design executives want to include on their clothing.
This graphic designer works in CAD programs to develop the graphic and scale to fit within the clothing pattern size. They use creativity to display color in a simple, but noticeable way, as printing is often limited to eight or fewer colors.
Requirements: A Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and previous apparel graphic design experience—whether an internship or in an entry-level role—is typically required. These graphic designers may be employed by the apparel brand or by a third-party agency that designs graphics on a contract basis for multiple brands.
Primary Duties: Logo designers develop visually compelling graphics or symbols to represent a company, product, brand or service. They research the target demographic to gain a strong understanding of what symbols they find appealing and memorable. This designer then chooses distinct colors and shapes that relate to and establish the brand identity of the company or product. Logo designers must also be aware of other designs in the marketplace so they are not copying or recreating a trademarked logo.
Requirements: The job requirements of a logo designer will vary based on the company, but typically an associate or bachelor’s degree in graphic design is required. Strong illustration abilities and an understanding of consumer advertising can be considered in place of a degree. Logo designers can work on a freelance basis or full-time for an advertising agency, both of which are likely to require a strong portfolio.
4. Packaging designer
Primary duties: Packaging designers—or production designers—develop the box, container and labels on a product to protect the product during shipping and communicate important features to the customer. They use CAD software to write product details in an appropriate font, add graphics to explain the functions and show what the product looks like or how to use it. They often design the package as a marketing tool as well, so they partner with marketing and product design specialists to convey the important product details to the customer.
Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in graphic design, product design or art is typically required for a career in packaging design. Employers commonly prefer previous graphic or packaging design experience and a strong knowledge of their customers.
5. Web Designer
Primary duties: Web designers assist in developing websites by creating individual web pages, designing page layouts and developing graphics for the website. They are also responsible for designing the navigation menus, drop-down options and the website’s structure. They may have coding and programming skills, which would allow them to completely develop the website on their own. Web designers partner with the website’s brand or marketing team to determine what content is included on each page and where to place graphics, as well as to ensure continuity as consumers browse the website.
Requirements: As online sales and advertising continue to grow, employers are seeking web designers with a strong knowledge of technology, website layout design, programming and graphic design. Most jobs require previous web design experience, a strong portfolio and at least an associate degree related to web or graphic design.