How Do I Become a Computer Graphic Designer?

Computer graphic designers create visual solutions like illustrations, signs, photography, and advertising for their clients. Read on to learn some facts that computer design students should know before tackling a career as a computer graphic designer. Schools offering 3D Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A computer graphic designer finds the most effective methods of visually communicating information for his or her clients. According to the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD, nasad.arts-accredit.org), computer graphic design professionals use computer-aided design (CAD) techniques to plan and produce visual displays for products like marketing brochures, advertisements, packaging, and signs, which typically requires a bachelor's degree.

Important Facts About Becoming a Computer Graphic Designer

Common Courses Design and art theory, graphic principles, photography, digital publishing, typography
Similar Occupations Art director, desktop publisher, web developer, industrial designer, multimedia artist, technical writer, and drafter
Work Environment Design studio or remote work
Median Salary (2018) $50,370 (for all graphic designers)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 4% growth (for all graphic designers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

Computer graphic designer jobs generally require an undergraduate degree in computer graphic design, graphic art, visual communications, or a related field. These are usually Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees. Computer graphic designers need more than just artistic flair and technical know-how. They must also prove that they can succeed in a stressful deadline-driven environment. The NASAD recommends that future computer graphic designers complete accredited degree programs that provide comprehensive education in art and design theory, technical skills, and general subjects like English, math, and social science. Students will also want to look for programs that will help them build a graphic design portfolio to demonstrate their work to potential employers.

Continuing Education

Computer graphic designers use a variety of design software that is continually refined and upgraded with new functions. Computer graphic designers need to be familiar with the professional standards of graphic design, and they also need to be able to use standard software packages like QuarkXPress and Autodesk's 3ds Max, as well as all of the software included in the Adobe Creative Suite.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Computer graphic design is a fine art that many people find interesting and satisfying. As a result, competition for such jobs is fierce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the overall demand for computer-literate graphic designers is expected to increase, outsourcing of basic functions may decrease the number of technical graphic design jobs. The BLS reports that the median salary for all graphic designers was $50,370 as of May 2018, and that many graphic designers did additional freelance work outside of their permanent jobs.

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