Are you thinking about becoming a graphic designer? We’ve put together this fact sheet, gathering together all the information you need to know about career progression, salary, and a graphic designer’s day-to-day activities.
Firstly, a graphic designer must meet with clients in order to gain an understanding of the business objectives and how graphics can be incorporated to help the client achieve these objectives. Once an initial discussion has been held, a graphic designer must determine how long the job will take to complete and provide the clients with quotes.
Once a graphic designer has developed a detailed design brief, they must come up with creative concepts for whatever it is they’ve been asked to design, from websites and user interfaces to brochures and posters. It’s also likely that a graphic designer will have to think outside the box, showing initiative and innovation in order to impress their clients.
When a brief has been fulfilled, it is the graphic designer’s responsibility to present the finished work to clients or account managers and obtain any feedback, making changes to their work where necessary.
It is rare for graphic designers to work on a project alone; copywriters, illustrators, photographers and web developers would more than likely be a part of the design process, too.
Skills and qualifications
Besides the obvious qualifications in graphic design, there are other subject areas which can prepare you for a successful career in graphic design. These include:
- Fine art
- 3D design
- Communication design
- Visual art
Not all graphic design roles will require specific qualifications. In these instances, a candidate will likely be assessed by the standard of their portfolio of work. However, it should be noted that progressing up the career ladder will prove difficult without formal qualifications, as the majority of graphic designers have a HND or a degree.
In addition to drawing and digital design skills, those seeking a role as a graphic designer should:
- be able to demonstrate a natural creative flair
- be a confident communicator
- have meticulous time management skills and attention to detail
- be comfortable when presenting their work
According to data from adrem.com, the average salary for a junior graphic designer is £22,000. This rises to £30,000 once the designer has reached mid-weight level. A senior graphic designer can expect a salary somewhere in the region of £40,000.
Career development and prospects
In order to develop your career as a graphic designer, it is best to try your hand at using different design software packages rather than using the same programme every time; the broader your skillset the better your prospects. Packages you should be familiar with include Dreamweaver, Acrobat, InDesign and Illustrator.
With technology developing rapidly, it’s important for graphic designers to stay on top of technological advancements in their field. Any one project could require technical knowledge in a specialist area, so graphic designers must be open to ongoing learning processes. While those who have employers may be lucky enough to receive funded training courses, freelancers must be willing to pay for such training out of their own pockets.
In terms of career progression, it is possible to progress from a junior position within a couple of years, as long as you work hard to develop a reputation for yourself. Those who excel in the role may find themselves reaching senior level within five years of launching their career.
It is common for graphic designers to change jobs fairly frequently as this helps to make their portfolios more varied. Many aim to become self-employed.
If you're interested in becoming a graphic designer, LCCA offers an HND in Graphic Design and a BA in Graphic Design and Visual Communication. You can contact one of our programme advisors to find out more.