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What Does a Graphic Designer Do?

The creative work of a graphic designer is everywhere you look – from the product packaging you see on grocery store shelves to the billboard advertising a new movie. Using computer software or their hands, graphic designers create eye-catching visual communications to convey information in an effective and aesthetically pleasing way.

Also called graphic artists, they select photos and font types to create designs for advertisements, packaging, logos, websites, posters, brochures and marketing materials. They rely on their design skills to know how the elements best fit together.

Graphic designers often work for publishing, marketing or advertising companies. Many are self-employed. Designers often specialize in a particular area, such as book covers or package design.

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$ 29,000 - $ 93,000
$ 53,000
20,000+
A graphic designer studies a color palette at her desk
Graphic designers are constantly on the lookout for inspiration to help them create innovative concepts. (Credit: ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

A Day In the Life

A Day In the Life

"For an artist or designer, a high level of creativity and ambition usually comes naturally," says Pauline Lu. "But the willingness to take critique, be flexible and work together with a team is what makes someone good at this job."

She’s got more smart advice for anyone who thinks they want to be a graphic designer.

Job Responsibilities

  • Discuss the scope of project with client or team member
  • Plan layouts, mock up concepts and refine designs
  • Illustrate concepts and reinforce messages using design skills and layout software 
  • Proofread work
  • Submit work to client for approval
  • Make suggested edits and complete final version
  • Contribute to team efforts by accomplishing tasks as needed

Education + Training

An associate or bachelor’s degree in graphic design, web design, art, animation or a related field is typically required. A degree may not be required if you have highly developed computer skills, with a mastery of applications such as Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator. Designers also gain experience through internships.

Designers showcase their talent by developing a portfolio, a collection of work that demonstrates their style, creativity and ability. Employers rely heavily on a designer's portfolio when hiring. Continuing education and staying up to date on technology is essential to remain competitive.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Are creative and able to express ideas artistically
  • Are good at managing multiple tasks and meeting deadlines
  • Have good analytical skills
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have strong computer skills
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Are self-motivated

Job Type Training Programs

Graphic Designer Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Media Communication, A.A.

Haskell Indian Nations University
Lawrence (130.4 Miles)
Hutchinson Community College logo

Visual Media Design - Emphasis in Graphic Design/Web Technologies, A.A.S.

Hutchinson Community College
Hutchinson (138.4 Miles)
Oklahoma City Community College logo

Digital Media Design - Photography/Digital Imaging Option, A.A.S.

Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City (156.7 Miles)
Oklahoma City Community College logo

Digital Media Design - Graphic Design Option, A.A.S.

Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City (156.7 Miles)
Oklahoma City Community College logo

Digital Media Design - Photography/Digital Imaging Certificate

Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City (156.7 Miles)
Oklahoma City Community College logo

Digital Media Design - Graphic Design Certificate

Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City (156.7 Miles)
North Arkansas College logo

Information Technology, Emphasis in Digital Media, A.A.S.

North Arkansas College
Harrison (157.4 Miles)
North Arkansas College logo

Digital Media Certificate

North Arkansas College
Harrison (157.4 Miles)

Graphic Design, A.A.S.

Pratt Community College
Pratt (169.3 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Digital Media Production Option: Web and Graphic Design, A.A.S.

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Digital Media Production Certificate

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Digital Media Production Certificate of Proficiency

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)