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What Is a Digital Designer?

A digital designer is a professional who applies his or her technical and creative skills to a wide array of careers. If you are technically apt and visually inventive, a career as a digital designer may be an excellent choice. Get the full definition on digital design and learn more about digital design careers, including the necessary training required, and what digital designers do.

What Is Digital Design?

Digital design is a branch of graphic design, where individuals produce multimedia for viewing on a screen. Their tasks are similar to that of graphic designers, with an expanded skillset in using digital tools. Forms of media they may produce include online ads, digital billboards, and 3-D or 2-D animation. Professionals in this industry are often expected to be skilled in industry-standard tools, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and coding languages such as CSS, HTML, and Javascript.

What Does a Digital Designer Do?

Typically, digital designers work on multimedia and graphics projects and must be able to create, execute, and edit concepts and layouts for those projects. Depending on the specific career, digital designers may work on projects that range from developing fliers and brochures for ad campaigns to working on 2-D or 3-D animations for a video production. They may develop websites for companies or create video games for consumers.

Their work may also involve meeting and discussing with clients on the scope of their given project, along with implementing any desired changes during the life of the project, and reviewing any errors before publishing.

Important Facts About Digital Design Careers

Work EnvironmentStudio, office, home
On-the-Job TrainingSome training may be available, depending on employer
Professional CertificationAvailable through many software product vendors
Similar OccupationsWeb developer, art director, desktop publisher

Employment Opportunities

Within the ever-expanding world of digital media, digital design is a growing field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The title of 'digital designer' is broad and encompasses the areas of print, video, and multimedia. Digital designers may work in:

  • Web design
  • Animation
  • Video game design
  • Graphic design
  • Special effects
  • Advertising
  • Video production

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides employment data pertaining to a few digital design-related careers. According to the BLS, the number of working graphic designers is expected to increase 4% between 2016 and 2026. The median salary for these professionals as of May 2018 was $50,370.

During the 2016-2026 decade, job openings for multimedia artists and animators were projected to grow 8%. However, growth may be slowed, somewhat, due to animation outsourcing. These artists and animators earned a median salary of $72,520 per year as of 2018.

Education and Skills

Designers may be skilled in a variety of computer applications, markup languages, and scripting languages, such as Flash, Autodesk, Adobe Illustrator, PHP (scripting language), and HTML (markup language). Some digital designers attend a college or university and hold a bachelor's or associate's degree in visual communications, digital design, or graphic design, which focuses on not only the technical skills but also the creative aspects of the field. They may also choose to pursue degree programs in specialized fields such as web design or game design. Others may attend a technical school to gain training in particular software or equipment.

While computer and software training and skills are an essential aspect of this career, a substantial portfolio of completed design work is also important. Many digital designers build their portfolios through school, internships, or freelance work. Individuals are recommended to demonstrate as much creativity and originality as they can through their professional portfolios.