What Does A Graphic Designer Do?

"My whole life all I’ve ever wanted to be is an artist. Nothing else interests me and I want to follow my passion. I know I’d never be able to make it as a fine artist, though—it is just too hard to get noticed. I want something that can pay the bills. A few artists I’m acquainted with online list that they are graphic designers on their social networking pages. I don’t really know any of them well enough to ask them about it, but that sounds like something maybe I could do for a living. They seem happy enough doing it, and for a lot of these people, art is life. I want to know more about what it’s like before I enroll in a degree program though. What do graphic designers do?"

asked by Jane from Concord, NH

Graphic design is a much more reliable way to make a living than fine art. Graphic design can be a fun, creative, and rewarding career which can pay very well. And the bigger your portfolio over time, the easier it will be for you to find work since you will have so much to show off.

About a quarter of graphic designers are self-employed (your friends online who list that on their profile pages are probably using those pages to search for contracts and show off their portfolios to prospective employers). So if you are interested in working for yourself, that is another plus. Self-employed graphic designers have to put extra time and work into finding contracts as well as doing day-to-day accounting tasks associated with running a business. When you work for yourself, however, you do have the power to work at home on many projects, and to structure your own time. You can also grow your business at your own pace.

As a graphic designer, you will work for (directly or as a contractor) companies that are trying to send a message to customers. Graphic designers may work in any industry. They help to prepare company advertisements, brochures, magazines, reports, and more. You may also find contracts working for nonprofit organizations from time to time. Designers create layouts as well as illustrations.

Let’s take a closer look at the duties associated with this job role. Here are some of the ways you might be spending your time as a professional graphic designer:

Because graphic designers often do their work on the computer, it is important for a prospective designer to not only have great artistic ability, but also technical finesse. Training in HTML can go a long ways toward landing contracts, because this allows a graphic designer to incorporate their art into web design seamlessly and without running everything through another team member.

As a graphic designer, you will work with images but also text as well, and you will often have the job of integrating the two for an overall effect. When designing webpages and even print documents, you will have to pay careful attention to how each element impacts the layout and the overall message communicated visually by the design. By carefully spacing page elements and adding in helpful graphics, you can make complex ideas easy to understand, and increase the readability of a document or website.

Becoming a graphic designer allows you to embark on an exciting career where you can bring your creativity into play every day. It is a practical job which gives you an opportunity to put your artistic skills to use on real-world projects. While demand is currently not very high and the field is growing slowly, the opportunities represented by those job openings are potentially lucrative and liberating.

If you discover that you have the drive and ambition to become a graphic designer, you will definitely want to get started by enrolling in a program to earn a degree and certification. You will also want to put extra time and effort into preparing an amazing portfolio which will impress potential employers. Your portfolio and degree will help you to stand out from the competition in this tough but rewarding field.

Career Spotlight: Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

A graphic designer possesses inherent artistic ability and creativity. Since graphic designers these days now use computers to aid in their drawings, you will also need to be familiar and comfortable [...]

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