Graphic Designers create visual concepts with their hands and through computer software. They assist in developing the layout and production for advertisements, magazines, reports and brochures and may work with bigger companies as part of the design team. They use their artistic skills to communicate ideas that inspire, inform and captivate readers and viewers.
If you’re a graphic designer or are thinking about a career as one, check out this page to learn a bit more about the job and to make a related resume.
Let’s begin by reviewing the three main resume formats.
See What People are Saying About Us
Job duties of a graphic designer
Graphic designers play a significant role in advertising, promotions and marketing, and as part of a team in public relations. They are responsible for combining art and technology to communicate ideas through impactful images. They support ad campaigns and help develop marketing materials, as well. With their artistic ability and expert knowledge of graphic design software, they come up with incredibly unique designs.
Some of the most common duties of graphic designers are:
Collaborate with clients to determine the scope of the project.
Creating visual elements such as logos, images and illustrations to deliver their client’s intended message to their customers.
Coordinating with full-time and freelance copywriters to work on ideas.
Document UX designs through wireframes.
Define the creative vision for projects.
Update marketing collateral, including websites and email marketing.
Working with various media, including computer-aided design (CAD) and keeping up to date with emerging technologies.
Graphic designer median salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a graphic designer in the U.S. is $52,110 a year, going up to $103,493 depending on skills, certifications and experience.
Top skills for a graphic designer
Graphic designing is the art of using technology to produce creative assets for marketing, advertising or other product-creation purposes. To become a successful graphic designer, you will need to collect both technical and soft skills.
Below we have listed some top skills you’ll need to land you a position as a graphic designer.
- Expertise in trending technical tools Designers use software to create images and infographics for social media, product mock-ups for marketing campaigns, logos for branding projects and even videos. The most commonly used software is Adobe Creative Cloud, especially Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. Other available software, such as Affinity Designer and Xara Designer Pro X, but Adobe is the most popular in the U.S. They should also be familiar with which software can handle different resolutions, colors, and designs better. To gain proficiency in several Adobe software tools, you can pursue various Adobe Creative Cloud Training Courses available. In many cases, graphic designers are also expected to be proficient in using Mac products over PCs.
Also, newer technologies are becoming crucial to design agency work, such as 3D rendering, motion graphics, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality and artificial intelligence (AI). These cutting-edge technologies are being implemented in marketing campaigns and product testing and launching. While not all companies have adopted these higher-tech options, specializing in one or two of them, especially 3D rendering and motion graphics which are most commonly used in graphic design, can give your candidacy a competitive edge. As an up-and-coming graphic designer, you should keep an eye on these trending developments and how these could align with the needs of a particular brand or company. To keep yourself updated, make a habit of reading newspapers, articles and journals, and discuss trends with your colleagues or become a member of a professional design organization. Don’t forget to check the job listings of the roles you want so you prepare for the specific requirements of the company you‘re applying to.
- Print designing Print media still holds an important place in the designing industry since magazines, newspapers and billboards are still being printed. Newer printing practices are also taking over the industry, such as the emergence of Print-on-Demand businesses, which add more methods to the market. Although not all graphic designing roles require you to work with art for printing, many are looking for someone qualified to work with Digital and Offset, Lithographic or Flexographic printing methods. The designers should develop a solid knowledge base of adequately setting up designs for different printing methods because companies specialize in printable products or use multiple processes. As a graphic designer, you can expect to be familiar with how to adjust the resolution, size, colors, file type, bleed and crop marks for the method and product your company uses. A graphic designer who oversees the print quality of designs printed on T-shirts and mugs will have different expertise than a graphic designer who works in creating and preparing books and pamphlets. However, employers tend to search for designers who are familiar with multiple printing processes instead of just being an expert in one type of process. You can develop expertise in print designing by referring to various books available on user experience, online tutorials, training and courses. Some examples are the Print and Digital Elements of Design Course offered by Coursera or the Flexography certifications provided by the Flexographic Technical Association.
- Advertising and marketing knowledge Many graphic design roles are found in marketing and advertising agencies, so familiarity with industry standards is necessary. Branding knowledge is important because designers create assets that represent a company's mission. For example, branding allows consumers to recognize Nike by seeing their curved check-mark logo and their “Just do it” slogan, as well as Skittles’ “Taste the rainbow”
- Photography Many graphic designers either shoot subjects for their campaigns or work with photographers to do it for them. This is especially important for graphic designer roles in the marketing department of a company. Creating unique photo assets for ads and social media posts can be part of the designer’s responsibilities. Some companies require you to prepare the photoshoot and take the pictures yourself, while other roles expect you to set up the photo shoot or communicate your vision to the team taking the pictures. But you can’t tell someone what to do if you don’t know how to do it yourself. That’s why knowing how to communicate changes in exposure, contrast, saturation, and other camera settings can help you and your co-workers come up with quality images.
- Creative problem-solving Your creativity brings a company’s vision to life. Thinking outside the box, finding sources of inspiration, and executing complex design ideas are just some of the duties of any graphic design role.
- Organizational and time management Prioritizing tasks when working on multiple projects simultaneously and staying motivated throughout is a critical skill to keep working. . If you can learn how to be organized, you’ll be able to meet all your deadlines and maintain your company’s productivity goals. Not only that, but a good organizational process can help you maintain all the files for multiple assets in place and top-of-mind.
- Oral and written communication skills Graphic designers collaborate with multiple departments, clients, and managers. Also, storytelling is a crucial skill for a successful designer because it makes the content they create connect with the customer on an emotional and personal level, which leads to better conversions because customers are more willing to purchase. Thus, it produces better results in the marketing campaigns they are working on.
- Eye for detail Knowing what customers will find aesthetically pleasing is just as important as knowing how to use the design software. That’s why, besides being an expert at visual design theories, such as color theory, visual hierarchy, typography, and composition, you must also understand what will be considered visually pleasing to the eyes of the target customer
Educational requirements for graphic designers
A degreeMost graphic designer jobs require a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field, such as advertising, marketing, communications or art history. However, people with a degree in another field may complete technical training or an associate degree in graphic design and gain practical experience to meet qualification criteria for graphic design jobs.
Some well-known universities offering BFAs in graphic design include the New York Film Academy, Boston University and the Maryland Institute College of Art. In contrast, the University of Miami and University of Florida offer combined majors which are hybrid degree programs in more than one academic field like graphic design and multimedia, and graphic design and visual communications. You could also consider a degree in graphic information technology offered by Arizona State University, which encompasses front-end web design and development, print and digital publishing, commercial photography and videography and motion graphics and visual effects.
CertificationsKeeping yourself up-to-date with the newest and latest industry practices is a must to gain a competitive edge.
For-profit online companies: Certifications like the short term courses in typography, image editing, microsoft courses, and motion design and animation can be valuable credentials to give you an advantage in your career.
Coursera also offers a graphic design specialization that will teach you how to apply graphic design principles to branding projects. This specialization is for aspiring graphic designers who don’t have or don’t want to get a bachelor’s in graphic design. You’ll learn the fundamental skills in interface design, motion graphics and editorial design.
Apart from these certifications, many other short-term courses can train you in more specialized skills, such as a certificate course in 3D environmental modeling and motion graphics and data visualization.
Technology companies: Since Adobe Creative Cloud is the most popular software in the industry, getting certified as an Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign can give you a competitive edge. You can consider doing all three courses to become an Adobe Certified Professional, Expert, and Master.
Graphic designer resume-writing tips
Here are some tips that will help you make a distinctive graphic design resume and help you grab interviewers’ attention.
- Spotlight your skills: Graphic design needs a high level of technical and creative skills. Choose these skills carefully to suit the job description.
- Read the job description carefully. Add some soft skills to your resume required for the job; they don’t have to be mentioned directly in the report.
- Creativity is one of the most critical skills for graphic design. You can write out academic accomplishments that show your creative side.
- Make your resume SEO-optimized: Some companies use software to scan resumes called an applicant tracking system (ATS). It scans for certain keywords they are looking for. Make sure you have the ones they listed in the job description on your resume.
- Include your portfolio: Always make sure that you have a link to your portfolio of accumulated work. Working in the design industry employers are keen on seeing past work and your capabilities.
What does being a graphic designer consist of?
A graphic designer is a person responsible for web designing, typesetting, illustrations and user interfaces. They work with several designing tools, especially Adobe Creative Cloud, to create and communicate through multiple mediums such as video, sound and imagery.
What proficiency is required for the position of a graphic designer?
Graphic design needs a deep sense of creativity. This requires a strong foundation of drawing, sketching and excellent computer skills. Working on these skills will help you strengthen your resume.
Is graphic design a promising career or a dying career?
With advancements in technology and ever-increasing competition in the advertising market, every company spends a good percentage of its budget on marketing. There will always be a need for good graphic designers to represent the best interest of companies and clients visually.