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Graphic Design

Graphic designers use their art, technology and typography skills to communicate advocacy, consumer or educational messages. Keep reading to learn more about degree programs, course topics, job growth and salary potential for graphic designers.

Is Graphic Design for Me?

Career Overview

Graphic designers use a variety of visual techniques to express a particular message or image that a company or client is trying to portray. Most graphic designers are skilled at using a computer, as well as image editing and Web design software. If you're a creative and visually oriented individual who enjoys working independently, then a career in graphic design might be a good fit for you.

Employment and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that jobs in graphic design were expected to increase by a slower-than-average rate of 7% between 2012 and 2022. While print-based graphic designers will experience a decline in openings during the same 10-year period, professionals in the computer systems design industry can look forward to a dramatic 35% growth in employment from 2012-2022. According to the BLS, graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $44,830 in May 2013 (www.bls.gov).

Some of the highest paid positions in graphic design may include design director and corporate design supervisor. Graphic designers who have completed a degree program in graphic design and gained a few years of experience may have the best opportunities for advancement.

How Can I Become a Graphic Designer?

Degree Programs

Most employers prefer graphic designers who have completed some postsecondary education. A bachelor's degree in graphic design is usually required for most entry-level jobs, although an associate degree in the same field of study may be sufficient for some positions. Although uncommon, a master's or doctoral program in graphic design can help you prepare for an academic or teaching position. Additional education in business or marketing can be useful if you wish to eventually operate your own design company.

Curriculum

A graphic design curriculum typically includes topics in logo and Web design, design history, layout and typography. You'll also learn how to use common industry design software, such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Individual programs may provide opportunities for internships and the chance to acquire some hands-on skills in the field. Graduation requirements can include the development of a professional portfolio.