Design Editor: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a design editor. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Design Editor?

Design editors lay out ads and text for online and print-based publishing companies. They create designs either by hand or by using computer software, with the goal of communicating a message to those who will view their work. They often are tasked with developing logos, illustrations or product packages. They must meet the needs of their client, and consider things such as color and typeface. Read the chart below to find out more about this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Graphic design
Training Required A yearlong internship may be required by some college programs
Job Growth (2014-24) 1% for graphic designers*
Median Salary (2015) $46,900 for graphic designers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Editorial Design Programs

A bachelor's degree program in graphic design can help prepare you for a number of design positions, including design editor. In these programs, you'll learn the basics of design theory while you explore the ways in which images and print interact to create visual messages. You'll receive extensive instruction in the software programs used by graphic designers, such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Concepts covered in the program coursework include typography, photography, form and composition, digital technology, symbology, optical and tactile sensations and more.

Graphic design bachelor's degree programs are often 5-year programs, in which the final year is spent working as an intern in the graphic design field. This experience will allow you to add work samples to your portfolio. Your portfolio is a collection of your graphic design work and, along with your degree, will be a helpful tool for convincing employers you have the skills needed to get the job done.

Job Duties

Your exact job responsibilities will largely depend on the area of the publishing in which you find employment. Design editors are employed by magazines, journals, newspapers, book publishing houses and other publishers of printed material. Design editors are sometimes referred to as layout editors.

Whether you're working on a daily newspaper or a quarterly magazine, your main responsibility will most likely be creating and maintaining the overall look and aesthetic quality of your publication. Using design software, you'll lay out the pages and arrange the photos, graphics and text in an easy-to-read and visually appealing fashion. You'll work with managing and section editors, as well as with production staff, to ensure the layout corresponds to the content of your publication. You might be responsible for training and managing other design and layout staff.

Potential Earnings

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for graphic design professionals was $46,900 as of 2015 ( The highest paying field was at the federal level with an average salary of $78,200. The last 10% of graphic designers earned a median of $27,560 a year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include art directors, industrial designers and multimedia artists and animators. Art directors lead the execution of graphic projects for things like newspapers and products. Industrial designers come up with the design for manufactured products. Multimedia artists and animators design visual concepts for media such as motion pictures and video games. All fields require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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