Graphic Designer Job Description
Working for agencies, on in-house design teams or as freelancers, Graphic Designers’ primary job is to apply artistic and design principles to develop an array of visual assets for commercial use, such as product packaging, websites and marketing materials. Graphic Designers frequently work in fast-paced, deadline-driven environments, often in cross-functional teams that take input from clients and other stakeholders.
Graphic Designers typically report to a Creative Director, Art Director or Project Manager, though they often have a high degree of autonomy in how they complete their work. The average Graphic Designer salary is about $48,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other online sources. Working in both print and digital, Graphic Designers are in demand across many sectors, including information technology, advertising, entertainment and marketing. The BLS projects demand for Graphic Designers to increase 7 percent through 2022, about 8,600 job openings per year.
Graphic Designer Duties and Responsibilities
To accomplish their main objective of communicating visually, Graphic Designers perform many tasks. We analyzed several job listings to identify these core Graphic Designer duties and responsibilities.
Create Visual Assets
As a Graphic Designer, you use an variety of design techniques, tools and technology to create logos, illustrations, graphics and other visual assets. Working in both print and digital media, Graphic Designers create brochures, advertisements, websites and more. During a trip to the supermarket, for instance, the work of Graphic Designers is all around, from the store’s signage to the stickers on the bananas.
Present Design Concepts
Graphic Designers often are tasked with presenting their design concepts to management, clients and other stakeholders. This can occur as a casual meeting at work or as a formal off-site presentation. In either scenario, you must be able to clearly communicate how your design concept accomplishes the goal you have been tasked with accomplishing.
Adjust Concepts Based on Feedback
While a Graphic Designer may spearhead the creation of a logo or other visual asset, the end result likely will include input from other team members and stakeholders. Graphic Designers need to be able to take ideas and direction from many sources and incorporate them into a single cohesive design.
Ensure Brand Consistency
As a Graphic Designer, you play an important role in protecting an organization’s image. Graphic Designers ensure that visual assets across all media are consistent with established style guidelines. Graphic Designers also often participate in discussions about how to update or overhaul an organization’s brand identity.
Graphic Designer Skills
Both creative and business-minded, Graphic Designers are organized and have strong attention to detail. They are flexible and can adapt to changing circumstances, while still meeting deadlines. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are seeking Graphic Designer candidates with the following skills.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Graphic Designers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Graphic Designer, focus on the following.
- Understanding design principles, color theory and layout
- Mastering design software, especially Adobe Creative Suite
- Being able to incorporate feedback from multiple sources into visual designs
- Managing projects that include cross-functional teams
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your graphic design toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Marketing and brand development experience
- Advertising agency experience
- Web development, including HTML and CSS
- User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design
Graphic Designer Resources
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Graphic Designer. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.
On the Web
Creative Bloq – Come here for daily design tips, insight and inspiration. Creative Bloq includes content aimed at many types of design professionals, including graphic designers, 3-D artists and animators.
UCreative – This blog is a great destination for informational and inspiring articles about graphic design. Packed full of industry news and trends, UCreative also offers an extensive resource guide and links to helpful freebies.
Speckyboy – An online magazine that covers graphic design, web design, advertising and more, Speckyboy offers a cornucopia of news, tutorials, tips and freebies for both in-house and freelance Graphic Designers.
Graphic Designer Lounge – With some 78,000 members, this LinkedIn group is dedicated to discussions about all things design.
Graphic designer & art director – This group with more than 176,000 members is a forum for graphic design, branding, typography and more.
Graphic Designer Group – Join more than 8,000 members in learning about and discussing the latest tools in print and Web design.
AIGA – The oldest and largest industry group for design professionals, the American Institute of Graphic Arts offers tools and resources, networking events and professional development opportunities.
Graphic Artists Guild – With a focus on the legal and economic aspects of the profession, this group is dedicated to providing designers with the tools and support they need to build successful careers.
Graphic Design Books
Creative Workshop by David Sherwin – Filled with 80 creative challenges, this book aims to make you a sharper, quicker Graphic Designer.
How to by Michael Bierut – In this retrospective, renown Graphic Designer Michael Bierut shares his philosophy on how design can “sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world.”
Graphic Design by Jennifer Inston –This book, which covers branding, design psychology and more, is for beginners who want to hop right into graphic design.
Graphic Designer Resume Help
Explore these related job titles from our database of hundreds of thousands of expert-approved resume samples:
- Creative Graphic Designer
- Freelance Graphic Designer
- Junior Graphic Designer
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Also check out the best Graphic Designer sample cover letters.