A Career in Grahic Design
A graphic designer uses text and images to communicate ideas and information. This is a role with wide scope and you could be working on projects from billboard advertisements to food packaging designs. If you’re really creative and full of ideas, this could be the perfect career for you.
You will need to have drawing and IT skills; be a good communicator and problem solver. You’ll have to work to tight deadlines and be able to remain cool under pressure. You will also need to have excellent spelling and grammar.
The job has elements other than just designing and drawing. You will discuss project briefs with your colleagues and your employer’s clients and will be involved in costing each project. You will be responsible for selecting the most suitable materials for the project and defining its style and look.
You may be required to use specialist computer software to produce visuals to show to the client as well as making rough sketches. The final layout you produce will be to exact specifications and within a set budget and deadline. Some projects may involve producing 3D designs for use in exhibitions and displays or even for packaging.
The job is usually studio or office based although you may be required to visit clients and print companies from time to time. Graphic design studios usually have a standard 9am to 5pm working day, although this would not be set in stone when you are working to a deadline.
Your starting salary would be somewhere between £14,000 and £17,000 per annum. When you are more experienced, you could earn up to £30,000 per annum and as a senior designer your income could be anything up to £50,000.
Qualifications and entry requirements
Qualification-wise, it’s usual for professional graphic designers to have a good degree in graphic design or some other art or design-oriented subject. There are plenty of these courses available but you should check with colleges or universities as entry requirements do vary.
Prospective employers will also expect you to have a working knowledge of design software; Illustrator, InDesign or QuarkXPress, together with an image editing package like Photoshop. It’s possible to acquire this knowledge through self-study, college or from a private training provider.
You will need to have a current portfolio with examples of your work to show to employers. This is just as important as having the right qualifications and any flare for design and creativity you can show could just give you an edge. Take advantage of any work experience or internship opportunities that arise and set up your own website where you can showcase your talent.
Competition for graduate jobs is fierce and it’s well worth approaching local companies and design agencies on spec.
Training and development
As a graphic designer your training will be ongoing and much of it will be “on the job”. You must keep your skills up to date and keep up to speed with new software packages that arrive on the market.