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Graphic Designer


How to Become a Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of Graphic Designers
Salaries of Graphic Designers
Influential Professional Graphic Designers
Leading Graphic Designer Organizations
Top Cities for Graphic Designer Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Graphic Designer

In order to obtain a position as a graphic designer, individuals usually need an associate's or bachelor's degree in graphic design. College and university course work includes classes in art and technical design as well as a broader liberal arts background. Associate degree programs generally focus on the technical aspects of design with little or no coursework in liberal arts. Graduates of such programs who do not already possess a bachelor's degree in another field generally qualify for assistant positions.

Individuals just starting out in the field of graphic design can expect to spend one to three years in an entry level position gaining on the job experience and skills before advancing.

What does a Graphic Designer do?

Graphic designers create visual solutions to communications problems by analyzing the situation and finding the best means of getting the message across. Designers employ a variety of methods including color, typeset, illustrations, and photographs to create an overall layout. They may design the overall layout of publications, promotional displays, marketing brochures, logos, signs, web pages, and television and movie credits.

Graphic designers begin by identifying the needs of the client and gathering information about the target audience. Next, designers prepare sketches or layouts to illustrate their vision for the client. They select all elements to be included in the final design and consult with copywriters about any text that accompanies their work.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Graphic Designer?

Aspiring graphic designers put together a portfolio of their best work to show prospective employers. Often, a designer's portfolio is the deciding factor in whether or not they receive the job. Graphic designers must be creative and able to communicate their ideas not only visually, but also verbally and in writing. Successful graphic designers also have an eye for detail and keep up with the latest trends in consumer tastes and expectations. Graphic designers must also have the ability to work independently and under pressure to budget their time and meet deadlines. Increasingly, knowledge of and experience with graphic design software is crucial. Individuals who expect to freelance or run their own business need business sense and sales ability.

How much do Graphic Designers make?

The earnings of graphic designers vary depending on level of experience, skill, and position held. In 2006, the median annual earnings of all wage and salary graphic designers were $39,900 with the middle fifty percent earning between $30,600 and $53,310. In 2007, those in entry level design positions earned a median annual income of $35,000 while those in the role of director or creative department head earned a median annual income of $98,600.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) coined the term "graphic designer" in 1922 to describe the various activities in which he engaged: book design, illustration, typography, lettering, and calligraphy. He attacked contemporary book designers in An Investigation into the Physical Properties of Books before organizing a series of trade books. He was probably the most influential individual in improving book design in the 1920s and 1930s. Dwiggins helped establish the Bookbuilders of Boston, a professional group of publishers. After his death, this organization renamed their highest award the W.A. Dwiggins Award.

David Carson is probably best known for his experiments in topography and typesetting. His work helped define the grunge era of the nineties and has been widely imitated. Carson has never been afraid to break with convention; even those who are not fond of his work call it innovative. After working as a designer for publications such as Transworld Skateboarding and Beach Culture, Carson launched Ray Gun and finally opened his own studio, the David Carson Design Studio in New York City where his cliental has included several high profile corporations.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Institute of Graphic Arts, commonly known as AIGA, was founded in 1914. With a membership of over 22,000, AIGA is both the oldest and largest association for professional designers. Through this organization, design professionals exchange ideas and participate in research and critical analysis. AIGA is committed to supporting designers at all stages of their careers and is considered a leader in the designing community.

The Art Director's Club was founded in New York in 1920. It is the first international organization of its kind and is committed to connecting design professionals from around the world. The organization supports those starting out in this field and promotes high standards and excellence in the field of design. The Art Director's Club sponsors top exhibitions and awards within the design community.

What are the top cities for Graphic Designer jobs?

Currently the top city for aspiring graphic designers to find work is New York City. Chicago, Illinois has the second most openings. Chicago is followed closely by Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. Another city with good job prospects for individuals hoping to find employment as graphic designers is Washington, D.C.

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