Graphic design as a career is a very attractive option for people that are creatively inclined with a good eye for detail and vision to translate concepts into artistic elements.
“Design is thinking made visual” – Saul Bass
What is graphic design? It can exist in the physical realm or it can exist in the virtual world. It consists of both visual and textual elements combined to create a mood or convey a message. It is used in all types of mediums such as advertising, marketing persuasion, political agendas, and public service announcements. It compliments other artistic genres like music, writing, film making, t-shirt designs and other textile decoration to name just a few.
All types of organizations utilize graphic design for varying purposes. It can be used in email marketing, web design, digital advertising, print of all kinds including screen printed apparel, even outdoor signage.
How do you describe a graphic designer’s role? The goal of a graphic designer is to combine messaging and images to create a cohesive presentation of an idea. That idea needs to be convincing or otherwise thought provoking to the end “user” which is anyone that consumes the final product whether they see it on the street, on their computer, or at a facility. A graphic designer provokes, sways, and influences people’s perception. It’s also about communicating thoughts and concepts through art.
Designers need to apply their own artistic abilities to design tools to compose a material piece. They can be engaged by all sorts of businesses and organizations that need their specific set of skills to communicate to their intended audience.
How is graphic design used? If you think about it, graphic design is used in virtually everything we see. It’s on product labeling, in books, magazines, web pages, and branding. A graphic designer can define the entire character of a business through selection of colors, graphical elements, even the fonts chosen.
What kind of job can I get in graphic design? Graphic designers are employed by advertising and marketing agencies, they can work independently by listing their skills on websites like Behance or Upwork. They can also be employed in-house by companies that provide services like DesignAShirt, which screen prints custom clothing for individuals and businesses all over the country.
To be financially successful as a graphic designer, education is recommended to learn design software. Ongoing education after graduation is a must too since tools evolve and new tools are developed to address emerging changes in the way users are able to consume media.
What sort of expertise should a graphic designer possess? An inherent artistic ability will take you far in graphic design but knowledge of graphic design software will make you very marketable. Learning from freeware like Gimp isn’t recommended since most companies will only employ users that design in professional programs.
Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for creating and manipulating raster based images. Raster art is made up of pixels and is how photos are translated in a digital environment. The program is extremely powerful and in-depth so it will take some time and effort to become truly proficient in its use.
Adobe Illustrator is used to create and manipulate vector art which is made up of points instead of pixels. It’s particularly valuable for the ability to resize art to any dimension without loss of quality. It is often used for creating logos and particularly t-shirt art and graphics.
CorelDRAW is another vector based graphic design software that is popularly used to design and manipulate vector art for t-shirt printing, signage, and banners.
What does the market look like for professional graphic designers? Currently with so much emphasis being placed on branded and well-designed media, graphic design is in high demand but your role will not be limited to designing. To be competitive in today’s market means you must be very diverse in your talents.
Hopefully by experimenting in graphic design you will venture into other realms that go hand in hand with modern day designing jobs such as web development. It’s really a challenging environment for designers that are highly creative but not necessarily analytical which helps tremendously in web development. Taking basic courses even a community college level can help you develop the robust skill set that is required of graphic designers in a modern day workforce.