Graphic design is often misconstrued as being simply the creation of graphic images. While this is a large part of any graphic design role there are other elements that in some cases are equally as important. The final product for any graphic designer should be a combination of graphical and textual elements that generate and convey the desired message. While this field clearly requires extensive amounts of creativity it also necessitates patience, logic, and an understanding of some of the most modern technological advances.
Modern graphic design has become a largely computer-orientated role. Whereas traditional designers would sit at a desk with pencil and paper, a modern designer’s tools predominantly consist of a mouse, a monitor and a keyboard. The scope of the designer will vary depending on the industry and the actual company they work at. It is not unusual for graphics designers to be responsible for designing websites, brochures, business cards, stationary, logos, and virtually any other visual element associated with a business.
Employment and Earnings Statistics
As multimedia and videogame designers enter the market, and with such a huge demand for these and other aspects of design, it is not surprising that average salaries have increased. The average annual wage for a graphic designer currently stands between $40,000 and $50,000. Senior professionals can expect to earn up to $60,000.
Basic web designers can expect to earn $60,000 with senior staff earning $75,000 and possibly more. An entry-level video game designer should be earning approximately $45,000 per year rising to $65,000 with several years of experience. Multimedia designers earn between $35,000 and $60,000 a year depending on experience, skill, and industry.
There are currently around 250,000 graphic designers in the US. Nearly three quarters of these designers work in a standard, salaried job, while the remainder are freelance designers.
Current National Requirements for Graphic Designers
Graphic designers are needed in many businesses throughout various industries. In particular, Internet-based businesses have a high demand for this kind of worker. It’s not only web designers they look for, but also print and media designers and those with a wide range of design expertise.
It is believed that designers with multimedia experience and online experience will be afforded the best jobs with the best companies for the best salaries. A degree from a graphic design school is also very beneficial.
The Best Course of Education
There are numerous graphic design schools in California that can cater to your educational needs. You should consider taking a good foundation course, either during high school or from a college or university. Once completed, you would be well advised to attain a degree.
If you know you are interested in a certain area, it is best to choose a more specialized design program. For example, if you prefer working with different mediums such as design, sound or animation, a multimedia design program will be better suited for you. If you are interested in the Internet and web sites, choose a web design program.
However, if you are undecided, a graphic design program will provide an excellent foundation that you can adapt to a myriad of design careers. You will learn about color theory, how different fonts can relay different meanings to an audience and how space, shapes and line weights can be used effectively. These basics can be applied in nearly all design careers, including web design, print design and multimedia.
Graphic Design Jobs
Graphic design jobs can be found in every possible industry. However, there are more levels within graphic design than you might originally think:
- Junior Designer – This is likely to be the first step out of college. Most junior designers retain their tag of being junior for at least two years. During this time, the junior graphic designer should expect to basically complete any task that the senior designer doesn’t. This can include what may initially feel like menial tasks but they will prove a solid basis for your future career.
- Middleweight Designer – One step up from the junior designer, the middleweight designer, will generally be given his or her own project to work on. In some cases this may be an entire project but more commonly it will actually be a small portion of a larger project. The middleweight designer should expect to be in this position for a minimum of three years although it is feasible to move on in a shorter space of time.
- Senior Designer – A senior designer takes on a more well-rounded approach and not only deals with individual partial projects but needs to be able to see the entire project as well.
- Art Director – An art director needs to generate the artistic ideas. However, it is normal for an art director to pass these ideas on to senior designers to work on. An art director is a highly revered job in many respects.
- Creative Director – The creative director is generally the customer-facing member of the graphics design team. They are responsible for meeting the client and ascertaining their exact wants and requirements.
- Multimedia Designers – Multimedia designers are just that. They are responsible for the design of multimedia projects. This includes video, sound and still images.
- Web Designer – A web designer was initially a title given to web developers because they were required to code the site as well as design it. Now, it is more likely that a web designer will use specialist software to create the design of the site and leave the development to a professional developer.
Graphic Design Program Details
As we’ve already discussed, a graphics design course doesn’t just look at the graphical aspects of design. You will be taught to use the appropriate software and, where necessary, hardware. In many cases you will also study more diverse aspects of design which can include marketing techniques, advertising techniques, and even business studies. The heavy use of computer software is indicative of a vast majority of graphic design jobs, hence why graphic design schools in California tend to devote a reasonable amount of time to this area. It is a good idea to ensure you have a general understanding of computers and, specifically, programs like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Gimp and other graphic design packages.