Graphic Design as a Career: An Overview

A graphic designers job can consist of creating logos for various brands, companies, mobile applications, etc. Designing UI or UX (user interface/ user experience). Designing eye-catching packaging for new products. There’s also print design for things like magazines or posters. And the list goes on. There’s many different avenues that graphic design can take you. There’s several ways you can work as a graphic designer. You can work for a regular company as their dedicated graphic designer. There’s also graphic designs firms, or you can be a freelance graphic designer online on websites like Freelancer.

If you’re interested in seeing just how many people are working in this field, here are some infographics and statistics about graphic designers in the U.S.

According to the Bureau of labor Statistics in the U.S.

 

Employment of graphic designers by state
States with the highest employment level in this occupation:

State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
California 29,750 1.86 1.24 $28.46 $59,210
New York 21,440 2.36 1.57 $30.17 $62,750
Florida 12,500 1.52 1.01 $22.09 $45,950
Texas 12,110 1.03 0.69 $23.25 $48,360
Illinois 9,630 1.63 1.09 $25.62 $53,290

 

annual mean wage of graphic designers

Top paying States for this occupation:

State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
District of Columbia 1,650 2.35 1.57 $33.41 $69,490
New York 21,440 2.36 1.57 $30.17 $62,750
California 29,750 1.86 1.24 $28.46 $59,210
Maryland 3,260 1.23 0.82 $28.17 $58,590
Massachusetts 5,020 1.45 0.97 $27.99 $58,210

 

Also, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics in the U.S., the typical entry-level education for graphic designers is a Bachelor’s degree, with no work experience in a related occupation and no on-job training. If you’re looking to get hired somewhere, they will be typically looking for someone with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and knows everything they need to get the job done when they start. Keep in mind this does not always apply to every company. Some places care more about your portfolio than any piece of paper you received. Considering how competitive this field is, a portfolio will be the thing that makes you stand out.

Graphic design is sort of like an umbrella term, because under graphic design is an array of different subgenres of graphic design. More often than not, as a graphic design you’ll be doing more than one of these things. Some of these subgenres include:

Marketing material design: flyers, postcards, posters, brochures

Magazines, books, catalogs

Web design

Visual identity: logos, letterhead, business cards

Packaging design

Presentation design


Education

College:

At most state college schools, you can find a graphic design or visual communications bachelor’s program. Some community or junior colleges have graphic design courses. There are also art and design schools that specialize in an art and design curriculum, but these schools tend to be very pricy and you can very often find a similar quality education at a more reasonably priced state college.

Boot camp:

Another option for learning graphic design is a boot camp. If you just want to learn all of the essentials of graphic design without taking any other courses that don’t pertain to that like you would in a traditional school, a boot camp may be for you. You will learn the skills you need to become a graphic designer quickly. Be careful because there are scams out there when it comes to this kind of thing, but there are plenty of reputable boot camps like Bloc.

Self taught:

You can also just teach yourself and build your portfolio. You will want to pick up some books on graphic design, and look for websites that can teach you what you need to know. There’s great free resources like Khan Academy. If you’d like to be taught online by a graphic design expert, there’s great websites like Skillshare where you can take classes with no commitment to a specific teacher. Get 1 free month of premium Skillshare here.

As a graphic designer you’ll mostly likely be required to know Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign.


Let’s talk about your visual identity

In our blog post about branding yourself, we talk about the importance of your brand as an artist or designer. It’s important that you take into an account that you can represent your work in more ways than one. That includes a personal logo, business cards, and your cover letter. Before you get into that, the biggest chunk of what will represent your work will be your portfolio. So let’s talk about that.

Your portfolio should be the best of your work, you portfolio represents you and what your skills are as a graphic designer.

Tip for graphic design portfolios: Don’t try to fill your portfolio with every single piece of work you’ve ever done. You want to highlight your strongest pieces.

You also want a variety of work. Graphic designers will usually be expected to do various types of work, so have a portfolio that reflects what diverse skill set you have.

There’s two forms of a portfolio, a physical one and an online one. A physical portfolio is great to have on hand during an interview, though an online portfolio is the most popular form. If you’d like to host your website for your portfolio I recommend Bluehost.

So now that you have your portfolio put together well, you’ll want to carry out your brand onto your logo and business cards. It’s important to be able to have a visual presentation of your work on hand with you information for whenever you need it. You never know where you can meet a potential client. I would recommend go for quality cards like you can get from PsPrint, 50% off their business card here.

 

If you have any tips or recommendations please feel free to leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you! Also, for forget to like and share!

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.upwork.com/hiring/design/what-type-of-designer-do-you-need/

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271024.htm

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm

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