Creative Graphic Designer Job Description

Creative graphic designers use design software to create magazine layouts, brochures, print advertisements, web graphics, and logos for clients. They work within pretty much every industry, as most industries need graphics as a part of their advertising efforts. Large corporations may have their own in-house creative graphic designers. Most creative graphic designers work in an agency that may specialize in a certain industry. When it comes to the office environment, things tend more casual than in a corporate office, such as a financial office. Some creative graphic designers are freelancers who often work from home. This is a project-based job, so one usually has to work more hours when there are heavy project loads and looming deadlines.

Within the hierarchy, the creative graphic designer is generally junior-level position, the next step up the ladder, senior creative graphic designer. They work in a collaborative environment with other members of the creative team, under the direction of the VP of marketing. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for graphic designers, which includes creative graphic designers, is set to rise 5 percent through 2026.


Creative Graphic Designer Duties and Responsibilities

Seeing a creative project through from brainstorming sessions to the final deliverable involves a lot of different activities. Our look at job postings for creative graphic designer positions revealed these activities to be common:

Meet with Clients to Determine Project Parameters

The first thing creative graphic designers do when they start a new project is meet with the client to determine his or her needs.

Participate in Team Brainstorming Sessions

Creative graphic designers spend a fair amount of project time collaborating with other team members to come up with creative concepts that meet the needs of the client.

Draw Project Mock-ups to Present to Team

Creative graphic designers need drawing skills to work out concepts on paper and present these rough sketches to their team to decide which designs will be produced.

Create First Draft of Project Deliverables

Creative graphic designers use computer software, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, to turn mock-ups into a computer-generated graphic that shows what the finished product will look like.

Edit Project Deliverables Based on Feedback

The final step of the design process is fine-tuning the project deliverables based on feedback from either the client or team leader, depending on whether the creative graphic designer is traditionally employed or a freelancer.


Creative Graphic Designer Skills

Creative graphic designers have to be artistic and tech-savvy to thrive in this position. They have to come up with solutions to design problems. They need a keen attention to detail—in the world of graphic design, every pixel matters. Creative graphic designers also have to possess technical knowledge, such as how to use photo editing and digital drawing software. In addition, creative graphic designers need the following skills to gain employment:

  • Actively listening to clients to determine design parameters
  • Collaborating with other creative graphic designers in brainstorming sessions
  • Designing graphics for both digital and print using Adobe Creative Suite
  • Constructively using feedback to fine-tune project deliverables
  • Managing time and prioritizing tasks to make sure all project deliverables are finished within deadline
  • Presenting finished project deliverables to clients


Creative Graphic Designer Tools of the Trade

The most common tools used by creative graphic designers include:

  • Adobe Creative Suite – a collection of software that allows creative graphic designers to lay out magazines, edit photos, create graphics, and more
  • Project mock-up – the blueprint to guide the project


Creative Graphic Designer Education and Training

Most creative graphic designers have their bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Coursework covers subjects such as typography, the principles of design, perspective, and how to use design software programs, such as Adobe Creative Suite. Most classes are project-based to help students build portfolios to help them in the job search.


Creative Graphic Designer Salary

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for graphic designers, which includes creative graphic designers, is $47,640. Those in the bottom 10 percent make below $27,950, while those in the top 10 percent make above $82,020.


Creative Graphic Designer Resources

Are you a creative person considering building a career as a creative graphic designer? If so, check out the list of resources below:

American Institute for Graphic Arts – The American Institute of Graphic Arts is both the oldest and the largest professional organization for creative graphic designers. It has more than 25,000 members and 70 chapters nationwide, each chapter holding several events throughout the year. Its website also has resources designed to improve one’s graphic design skills.

Onextrapixel – This website has a regularly updated blog covering the latest trends in web design and web development. It also has a lot of tutorials on everything from Photoshop to WordPress design.

Creative Nerds – Creative Nerds is a London-based graphic design agency that provides free resources to its community. These resources include free Photoshop brushes and a plethora of tutorial videos on YouTube.

Logo Design Love – Many creative graphic designers specialize in creating impactful logos to set their clients apart from their competition. This book breaks down the process of creating a visual identity for a brand, backing up the information with real-world examples.

Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills – This is an interactive workbook designed to improve both the breadth and depth of your design skills. In addition to 80 unique exercises, this book contains tips from the most successful names in graphic design.


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