Graphic Designers: Job Description, Salary & Career Path

Illustration of two people posed around a computer monitor with various art-related symbols like paint swatches and color wheels to signify graphic design

Graphic designers are in high demand in today’s economy.

With the ever-growing popularity of social media and digital marketing, businesses need professionals who can create visually appealing and effective graphics.

But what does a graphic designer do, exactly? What education and training is needed to become a graphic designer? And what are the career growth opportunities for someone with graphic design skills?

What does a graphic designer do?

Graphic designers are responsible for creating visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers.

They develop the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Graphic designers also select the colors, images, text style, and layout of websites and printed pages.

Graphic designer job description:

What education & training do graphic designers need?

Most graphic designers have at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field though an associate’s degree is also acceptable in many cases.

There are also instances where a traditional degree is not necessary as long as you’re able to demonstrate that you’ve had some formal training.

While there are exceptions to the rule, most entry-level positions require an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate.

What certifications do graphic designers need?

There are voluntary professional certifications available for graphic designers.

Some of the most popular graphic design certifications include:

  • Certified Graphic Designer (CGD)
  • Registered Graphic Designer (RGD)
  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)
  • Master Graphic Designer (MGD)

These certifications can demonstrate to employers that a designer has the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the field.

Graphic designer duties & responsibilities

Some common duties and responsibilities associated with a graphic designer role are:

  • Meeting with clients or art directors to discuss the goals and objectives of a project
  • Developing creative concepts and designs based on client needs
  • Using computer software to create layouts, designs, logos, illustrations, and other graphics
  • Selecting colors, images, text style, and layout
  • Incorporating changes suggested by clients or art directors into final designs
  • Proofreading designs for errors before printing or publishing them

It should be noted, the specific duties and responsibilities of a graphic designer vary depending on the industry they work in and the type of project they are working on.

What hard skills should a graphic designer have?

In order to be successful in the role of graphic designer, you should possess the following hard skills:

  • Knowledge of design principles and aesthetics
  • Proficiency in graphic design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Strong typographic skills

What soft skills should a graphic designer have?

The most important soft skills for graphic designers to possess include:

  • Creativity and artistic talent
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Problem-solving ability

Graphic Designer Salaries, Low & High Ranges

Job TitleSalary Range
Graphic Designer Salary$50,000-$100,000
Brand Manager Salary$70,000-$145,000
Art Director Salary$115,000-$150,000
Creative Director Salary$115,000-$190,000
Product Designer Salary$120,000-$190,000

What job growth opportunities can a Graphic designer expect?

With time, advancement and success, graphic designers can transition to more senior roles, including brand manager, product designer, art director and creative director.

What is a Brand Manager?

Brand managers combine graphic design expertise with digital marketing skills and are responsible for overseeing the development and execution of marketing plans to build brand awareness and equity.

What is an Art Director?

Art directors are responsible for the overall creative vision of a project.

They work with clients and other members of the creative team to come up with concepts and designs that meet the client’s objectives.

Art directors typically have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field, as well as several years of experience in the field.

What is a Creative Director?

While art directors oversee major projects, creative directors are responsible for the overall creative vision of an organization.

They work with clients, art directors, and other members of the creative team to develop concepts and designs that meet the client’s objectives.

Creative directors typically have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field, as well as several years of experience in the field.

What is a Product Designer?

Product designers combine their knowledge of graphic design, user experience, and engineering to create products that are both functional and visually appealing.

They work with clients and other members of the product development team to come up with concepts and designs for new products.

Product designers typically have a bachelor’s degree in industrial design or a related field, as well as several years of real-world experience.

Understanding graphic design jobs and salaries

If you’re in the graphic design field or you’re interested in becoming a graphic designer, you’ll find a world of opportunity open to you.

With the right skills and experience, you can land a job in just about any industry. The sky’s the limit when it comes to graphic design jobs and salaries.

The most important thing is to have a clear understanding of the role you want to play in the graphic design field to put yourself on a path to success.

Looking for your next Graphic Design gig? Let us help. 

Every year, Mondo helps over 2,000 candidates find jobs they love.

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