Career path guide: How to Become a Graphic Designer

Jun 1, 2021

Are you creative? Do you walk around analysing designs wherever you go? Do you consider yourself a visual storyteller? Then you will ace a career in graphic design. The question now is, how do you become a Graphic Designer? We’ve compiled all the information you need to know to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

What does a Graphic Designer do?

A Graphic Designer uses various mediums, including software, art, and photos, to create visual concepts that inspire and convey information to consumers. Graphic design is all around you. A Graphic Designer has designed that box of cereal you love so much, that massive billboard by the highway, the brochures in your mailbox, the graphics on the website you always shop on, and even the layout of your favourite magazine.

Their focus could be creating logos, typography, posters and brochures, or designs and images that appear on apps and websites. They could also be involved in advertising, product design or pre-print production.

As you can see, the world would be very bland without Graphic Designers, and because of this, there are countless job opportunities available. From working at a magazine to holding down a job at an advertising or marketing agency – the world really is your oyster and the stats prove it.

Studies project a 3% growth of the graphic design industry each year, making graphic design jobs an important part of the marketing field for years to come. If you are considering becoming a Graphic Designer, you’ve picked the right career.

Are there different types of Graphic Designer?

As you can see, graphic design is not limited to one path. You can branch out into various fields and work in a variety of roles. How you become a graphic designer will in part be determined by which area you choose to focus on, although the way to get there is, for the most part, rather standard. That being said, it helps to know what your options are. These are just some of the jobs you can specialise in:

Logo design

Logo design is not just about creating a logo- it is about creating a brand identity for new and current organisations, products, and services. You need to align your work with a brand by carefully selecting and arranging colours, shapes, and designs that will be used to represent the brand in various forms, from advertising to web pages.

Packaging design

Imagine you are shopping for new headphones. There are several to choose from, so you select the brand that stands out. You then skim through the details that appear on the packaging before deciding whether or not to buy them. Many people may not realise it but a big part of that decision is based on how appealing the packaging is. The design is driving these sales.

As a Graphic Designer focusing on packaging, your role will be to use shapes, colours, graphics and typography to create packaging that persuades customers to buy the product.

Web and mobile design

Just because you don’t know much about programming, it does not mean you can’t still work in web and mobile design. In these roles, you will help design the pages and the layout of apps and websites and create the graphics that appear on them.

Layout and print design

In this role, you will combine text and graphics to create appealing and easy to read designs for newspapers, magazines, books, posters, brochures, websites, and more. Your responsibility will be to find the perfect balance between imagery, font selection and typeface.

How to become a Graphic Designer

A career in graphic design generally requires a good education as well as specific skills. If you are weighing up your options to further your studies, university and college are your best bets. Ideally, you would take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in graphic design, art and design, or illustration.

That being said, you can still get your foot in the door without further education. How? A good portfolio of your design, and experience in design specific programs, can help kickstart your career.

Getting qualified is a big step forward, but it is only part of becoming a graphic designer. Finding a job, and transitioning into the working world, can take time, patience, and confidence, which is where coaching could help. Imagine if you could be groomed for a job. It sounds too good to be true, but there are organisations out there that specialise in this. Graduate Coach is just one of them. Through coaching, courses, and workshops, we help prepare you for the working world.

Soft skills required

Most of us focus on the hard skills required for a job and forget that soft skills are needed to excel in a specific role. When it comes to graphic design, these skills are essential:

  • The ability to communicate with co-workers and clients
  • The ability to actively listen to, and understand instructions
  • Good time management skills
  • The ability to collaborate on projects
  • Creativity
  • The ability to cope under pressure
  • The ability to meet deadlines

What does a Graphic Designer earn?

Salaries vary according to location and experience. An entry-level job generally pays around £19,065, while a mid-career graphic design can earn approximately £25,037. An experienced graphic designer receives roughly £26,083, and a senior designer could earn £27,106.

Let’s talk career path…

Graphic Designers can work in various industries, giving you countless opportunities to develop your career. What’s great is that you can also work remotely, which means you have the freedom to work from around the world. You could also work as a contractor or as part of a team in an office environment. It all depends on what you want.

Are you looking for your next role as a Graphic Designer? Explore available Graphic Design jobs or get in touch with the team at Salt (a global digital recruitment agency) if you need a hand to find a role that suits you.

Featured image by Tranmautritam from Pexels

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