Graphic Designer

Graphic designers utilize a number of various print, electronic, and film media to create designs that visually solve communications problems. Considering cognitive, cultural, physical, and social factors, they create designs that best address the specific needs of their clients. They develop the layout of magazines and newspapers, create promotional displays for products and services, design logos, produce the credits for television shows and movies. More and more designers work on multimedia projects for Web sites and other computer-driven technologies.

Job Skills

Graphic designers must have well-developed artistic abilities and a desire to create. They need to have self-discipline, imagination, and persistence. It is also important for them to be able to work independently and to effectively communicate their ideas in written, verbal, and visual ways. Problem-solving skills are essential, as well as sharp business and sales ability for those who start their own business or do freelance work. Above all, a strong esthetic sense is the most important trait a graphic designer can possess.


In 2002, graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $36,680. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $21,860, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $64,160. The highest median annual salaries were found in advertising and related services, and the lowest in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers.

Training and Education

Most entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree, and many potential employees obtain a master’s degree to increase their likelihood of being hired. Some candidates receive certificates or associate degrees from 2- and 3-year professional schools. Graduates of 2-year programs usually qualify for assistant positions or go on to enter bachelor’s degree programs. Beginning designers receive 1 to 3 years of on-the-job training before they qualify to advance to higher management positions. For those interested in freelance work or business ownership, courses in business management, marketing, and art are recommended.


Out of the nearly 532,000 design jobs in 2002, about 212,000 people were employed as graphic designers, the largest group in the design category.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of graphic designers is expected to increase about as fast as the average. However, compared to other design professions, graphic design will provide the most new jobs. This is largely due to the rapid expansion of the Web-based and video entertainment markets.

Directory of Graphic Design Schools
Directory of Visual Communications Schools
Directory of Advertising Schools