What Is Computer Graphic Design?

Computer graphic design combines skills in technology, business and art, using computer-generated images and words to create unique concepts and messages for publishing and advertising. To learn more about opportunities in this field, education programs and career information, read on. Schools offering 3D Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Computer Graphic Design Defined

Computer graphic design is everywhere in the modern world. You see it on street signs and in restaurants, television programs and magazines. You're seeing it right now as you read this. Computer graphic designers use technology to manipulate and combine words, images, color, typography and sound in order to elicit emotions and deliver messages to viewers. Continue reading for information about specific aspects of computer graphic design.

Important Facts About Graphic Designers

Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree
On-the-job Training None required but work experience and training can help with advancement
Key Skills Artistic ability, creativitiy, analytical skills, communication skills, time-management skills, and computer skills
Work Environment Work independently, in a team, or at a firm in visual arts studios

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Digital Design

Whenever you see an image that has been manipulated or changed, that is digital design in action. In this subspecialty, you focus on the aesthetics and perception of the image you create. Artwork and images created for an advertising campaign or a billboard are often the work of a digital designer.

Multimedia Design

The presentation of information and images on a website is encompassed in multimedia design. Multimedia design can be used to combine timing and sound with text and images to grab your attention and explain a concept. Computer software programs such as QuickTime can be used to create animations or videos, which are a form of computer graphic design.

Type Design

Often you might skim over the words in an ad or just read the text for its direct meaning, without noticing the typeface that was used. The formal construction of the words in an advertisement or design may not receive much notice by the reader, but it has an impact on how the image is perceived. By working in type design, you draw and present letters and words in ways that are aesthetically pleasing or unique in order to draw more attention to your message.


Undergraduate programs are available in computer graphic design at many universities, community colleges and trade schools, and graduates can qualify for entry-level design positions. If you're interested in teaching or managerial positions, a graduate degree might be necessary. Classes you might complete in a computer graphic design program include graphic communication, documentary production, broadcasting, illustrating, art fundamentals, mass media and critical thinking.


Building up a great portfolio can be crucial to getting hired. Using completed school projects is an easy way to flesh out your portfolio. You can also add computer graphic designs you have created in your off time to your portfolio and show your work to an instructor for some feedback. Additionally, participating in internship or externship opportunities may provide you with some practical experience in the field as well as the opportunity to build up your portfolio.

Career Opportunities

As a computer graphic designer, you have several career options to choose from. If you are solely interested in expressing yourself creatively, you might want to become an artist.

If you're more interested in helping a company, business or organization convey a message to an audience, then you might want to pursue a career as a graphic designer. In this career, you'd consult with your clients to understand the message they want to send and identify the target audience and then create appropriate media. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the expected overall job growth rate for graphic designers from 2016-2026 was 4%, though opportunities should vary widely by industry. For example, jobs as computer systems analysts were forecast to increase by 9%. As of 2018, graphic designers earned a median salary of $50,370.

If you're more interested in organizing and formatting existing information and images, then you may want to consider a career as a desktop publisher. These professionals decide on the arrangement of text and images for brochures, calendars, newsletters, newspapers, books and magazines. However, you should be aware that a 14% decrease in employment is predicted for the 2016-2026 decade. In 2018, desktop publishers earned a median annual wage of $42,910, all per the BLS.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »