Thinking about becoming a graphic designer? One of the best ways to decide on a career path is by getting familiar with the daily activities of professionals in the field and seeing if they match your interest and align with your personal goals. This article contains all the relevant information on the job of graphic designers and gives you insight into a day in the life of a graphic designer.
What Is a Graphic Designer?
A graphic designer is a professional who creates visual content with the intent of communicating a message. They typically design posters, websites, billboards, packaging, logos, and other marketing and advertising designs.
This job requires problem-solving, time management, typography, branding, presentation, and effective communication skills. Another asset is knowledge of Adobe’s creative apps and, most importantly, creativity.
What Does a Graphic Designer Do On a Daily Basis?
A graphic designer will typically start their day by going through their calendar to see the scheduled events, then proceed to check their emails for new developments, messages from clients, and other important notices. The rest of the day will depend on these two actions.
- Prepares their daily schedule. At the start of the day, these professionals prepare their daily plans by prioritizing important tasks, usually whichever ones have the closest deadlines. This can involve setting up client meetings, responding to clients, and arranging meetings with partners depending on their design firm or industry.
- Reports and creates a schedule. Reporting on tasks and deliveries to clients or partners is an essential part of a graphic designer’s day. Customers need to know when to expect their projects and need to be kept up to date with any deadline changes caused by new developments. Delays can also affect the billable hours of work put in by designers.
- Meets with clients. After updating clients on tasks and deliveries, these experts often meet up with new or returning clients about new jobs and discuss the design process and their expectations. If necessary, they may also meet with existing clients to discuss the progress of ongoing projects.
- Creates concepts, drafts, and prototypes. Prior to working on the main task, most graphic designers go through a creative process using the concept given by the client. They may work on a sample draft, then a prototype for the client to see the proposed outcome of the design. Not all designers work on a draft and prototype, however, as some choose just one option to demonstrate to the client.
- Designs and finishes up the day. After going through a variety of design choices, they decide which one they like best. Then, they proceed to the actual work of designing or completing any outstanding work for a project that had already been started. They do this until the end of the day and finish by informing clients of new ETAs and developments.
How Can I Become a Graphic Designer?
You can become a graphic designer through various learning paths. The best path for you depends on your preferred learning methods as well as the opportunities you have. For instance, you can go to college and get a degree or you can also choose to learn through various online programs, visual design bootcamps, or certifications.
Graphic Designer Degrees
A college degree is a traditional way to break into any field. You get to learn beyond the basics of the field and can easily start a career upon completion. The same goes for graphic design. You can enroll in college for a degree in graphic design, graphic arts, or any related program. The program is typically four years long but could be more or less depending on the school.
Graphic Designer Online Courses
Online graphic design courses are a great way to start a career in many fields like graphic design. They teach you the basics and offer courses that can help you upgrade your skills in your field. Online programs can be taken by anyone but are more common among those looking to upgrade their skills or transition from another career.
Graphic Designer Bootcamps
Graphic design bootcamps aim to equip students with the relevant skills needed to become professionals in the field. You can join a graphic design bootcamp if you don’t want to go to college or are transitioning from another career. They are typically short-term programs that can be taken in multiple formats, including online, in-person, part-time, and full-time. They often include ways of connecting you to potential employers.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Graphic Designer Certifications
Graphic designer certifications are best for those who already have professional experience in the field. They generally serve as proof to employers of your skills. Certifications usually require the completion of an exam and are typically respected by employers. They help you secure jobs faster as they prove that you can deliver efficiently.
Graphic Designer Internships
Internships are a common way to start a career in graphic design. An internship allows you to work under professionals while learning and practicing the skills you’ve gained over time. They are more common among college graduates but are available to those who have learned through other means as well, as long as you’ve learned the necessary skills.
Graphic Designer Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are programs that allow you to earn as you learn. They are open to people of all skill levels and are usually best for beginners in the field. With a graphic design apprenticeship, you can learn under the supervision of an experienced professional who can teach you the skills required to start your career in graphic design.
How Can I Get a Job as a Graphic Designer?
You can become a graphic designer by following these steps. They include getting an education, developing your skills, starting a career by freelancing, building a portfolio that can be showcased to clients, and becoming a member of the graphic design community. These steps will help you secure your first job as a professional graphic designer.
Steps to Finding a Job as a Graphic Designer
- Get training or an education
Before you can get a job as a graphic designer, you need to learn the necessary skills. You can enroll in college, take online courses, join a bootcamp, or apply for an internship or apprenticeship. Any of these options will get you started on your journey and get you real-life experience.
- Develop your skills
Once you’ve received training, you’ll have to keep practicing to develop your skills. While an education or training is beneficial, you’ll still need to practice on your own. This will improve your chances of landing a good job, as your honed skills will make you more hirable.
Freelancing is one of the easiest ways to start your graphic design career. You’ll have the opportunity to apply for graphic design jobs independently, build your client base, try out different kinds of projects, and set your earnings. This will help you earn more, learn new skills, gain experience, and discover your strengths and weaknesses.
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- Build a portfolio
A portfolio is your way of showcasing your graphic design skills. An image is worth a thousand words, and your work needs to speak for itself. Potential employers and clients will often ask to see your portfolio so that they can gauge your skills. You’ll build your portfolio as you grow and learn and increase your chances of securing a good job.
- Join an industry community
Industry communities can provide you with the opportunity to mingle with other professionals in the field. They can update you on industry trends and share news of job openings at various companies. By joining a community, you would be at an advantage and stay in the know through workshops and other events they organize.
What Is the Average Salary of a Graphic Designer?
The average annual salary of a graphic designer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $53,380. While this is the general amount for graphic designers, their salary could differ based on other factors like the state of the industry, their skill and experience level, and the type of design they specialize in.
Salary for an Entry-Level Graphic Designer
According to PayScale, an entry-level graphic designer makes an average salary of $39,659. This salary is calculated based on 564 survey responses gathered by PayScale and includes tips, bonuses, and overtime pay. Those who fit into this category have work experience of a year or less.
Salary for a Mid-Level Graphic Designer
The average annual salary of a mid-level graphic designer is $50,272, according to PayScale. This amount is based on the data gathered from 5,752 salaries. A mid-level career graphic designer is one with between five to nine years of work experience.
Salary for a Senior-Level Graphic Designer
A senior-level graphic designer with 10 to 19 years of experience will earn an average annual salary of about $51,558, based on information gathered from 2,931 salaries from PayScale. Additionally, a senior designer in their late career with over 20 years of experience will earn an average annual salary of $53,062.
Job Outlook for a Graphic Designer
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected employment growth of graphic designers is three percent. This is slower than the average when compared to all occupations but is still significant. The BLS also reports that graphic designers are expected to have about 23,900 job openings every year. This is due to the need for companies to have an online digital presence, which makes graphic designers essential.
Should I Become a Graphic Designer?
Yes, you should become a graphic designer if you are passionate about design and have the skills required to pursue it. The graphic design industry is highly rewarding, especially for those who are hardworking, skilled, and up to date on industry trends. If you follow the proper steps combined with a love for the work, graphic design is a promising career to delve into.
A Day in the Life of a Graphic Designer FAQs
Every day, a graphic designer creates concepts and design ideas, brings those ideas to life, communicates with clients, sets up meetings, and delivers on deadlines.
Being a graphic designer is fun if you are creative, have a love of design, and enjoy working on multiple projects in different areas. It can be even more rewarding when working as a freelance graphic designer as you can work with clients from various industries while setting your own salary and workload.
Graphic design isn’t a dying field. Its professionals have many job opportunities, as the projected job growth is positive. The advancement of technology and more companies going digital will provide more career opportunities for graphic designers.
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Yes, graphic design is a promising career to go into in 2021. The salary is rewarding and the job growth is stable, making it an excellent career to jump into now.
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