Graphic Designer Salary and Description – A Complete Overview of the Position

Graphic Designer Salary and Info

Graphic designing is one of the best career paths if you are a creative thinker and enjoy working with the latest technologies on different projects. It is a promising career since the growth of IT infrastructure is inevitable. If you are considering the graphic design profession, then you'll probably want to know a ballpark figure for a graphic designer salary.



Graphic designers just aren't people who are handy with electronics. They have an artistic "eye" and have received an education specifically geared toward their industry. So how much do graphic designers earn? This content highlights who a graphic designer is, the job description, the career path to take and what to expect as far as a graphic designer salary.

What Is a Graphic Designer?

side view of graphic designer

Graphic designers influence and incorporate text and images into just about everything we read, including promotional materials, website content and company logos. The skills they bring to the task are valuable to a lot of industries, but entry-level graphic designers should have a strong portfolio they typically develop through internships and coursework.

Graphic designers create visual concepts by using computer software programs, or even through hand drawings, in order to communicate to others the ideas that they think will best inspire, inform and captivate consumers. Most times, they develop the layouts and production designs for a variety of applications, including brochures, advertisements, corporate reports, billboards and magazines.

Duties

A graphic designer is tasked with the following:

  • Using photo editing software, digital illustration and layout software for design creation
  • Meeting with the art director or client(s) to establish the project’s scope
  • Incorporating changes recommended by the art directors or clients into final designs
  • Creating visual elements for companies, such as original images, logos and illustrations to assist in delivering brand recognition or a particular message
  • Presenting design concepts to art directors or clients
  • Designing layouts and selecting images, colors and typefaces for appealing designs
  • Proofing designs for any errors before printing or publishing them

Best Qualities for Graphic Designers

For anyone considering getting into the industry, these are some of the best qualities a graphic designer can possess:

  • Artistic ability to create visual interpretations and appealing designs to clients and consumers
  • Analytical skills to be able to look at their work from a point of view of consumers or clients and determine how the designs will be perceived
  • Computer skills so they can feel comfortable using graphic design software such as the Adobe Creative Suite
  • Communication skills to be able to confer with customers and other designers to ensure the designs meet specifications
  • Creativity to be able to think in new approaches when interacting with clients and creating new designs
  • Time management skills to be able to meet deadlines

Job Description

graphic designer

Graphic designers create visual communications to convey messages in an effective and aesthetically pleasing manner. They are involved primarily with designing web pages, logos, books, brochures, signs, annual reports, magazine covers and advertisements among other materials used in communication.

With technology, most graphic designers use computer software, including Adobe’s Creative Suite. The suite includes programs such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Adobe is the standard in the industry and most employers expect their graphic designers to be proficient in most, if not all, these programs.

Additionally, graphic designers also are involved in meetings with clients to gain an understanding of what they want and what their proposed communications will look like. They then create or incorporate pictures, illustrations and designs they feel best reflect the clients' desired themes.

Work Environment

Graphic designers are usually found in a variety of industries and serving in different capacities. For example, a designer might work as an in-house staff member for a firm doing work on the company's promotional content. Designers may work for a design agency. Also, they may work for advertising firms, newspapers and technology-oriented companies. However, many designers are self-employed and work as freelancers on a per-project basis.

Most designers work in an office environment in front of a computer, but some illustrate by hand at a drafting table. In most instances, designers are deadline-oriented and put in long hours. They may specialize in one or two areas. For example, one can specialize in working with print, website design, corporate identity or poster designs.

Tasks

When employed as a graphic designer, expect to be responsible for:

  • Creating and assembling images and graphics for the production of designs for websites, product design, print media, productions, displays, etc.
  • Directing marketing design projects and collaborating with multiple corporate departments
  • Designing and developing product brand identity.

Career Path & Graphic Designer Salary

Color swatch samples

Education

students

To be a professional graphic designer, most jobs require you to have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. However, people with a bachelor’s degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications.

You must ensure that you pursue the bachelor’s program from an accredited institution. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 350 post-secondary, colleges, independent institutes and universities with programs in art and design. Most of the programs offer courses in principles of design, studio art, computerized design, commercial graphics production, website design and printing techniques. Students also should consider a course in marketing, writing or business. These courses are useful in helping graphic designers work effectively in project teams.

If you are a high school student and are interested in pursuing graphic design, we recommend taking basic art and design courses if they are available. Many bachelor’s degree programs make it a prerequisite for students to complete a year of basic art and design before joining a formal bachelor’s degree program. Some institutions may request you to submit sketches among other examples of designs to show your artistic ability.

Most of the programs provide students with opportunities to build their professional portfolios. The portfolio includes an individual's design work and helps show employers or potential clients a collection of the graphic designer's styles and abilities. This is what most employers rely heavily on before hiring a designer.

Designers must also stay up-to-date with new graphics and design software on their own or via formal training programs. This way, they will remain competent and relevant in their industry. Professional associations specializing in graphic design typically offer courses designed to keep the skills of its members up to date. One such association is IAGA. We recommend you join it or another similar organization to stay current with industry updates.

Experience and Certification

handshake

Designers typically gain experience via internships. As an intern, you will work with experienced designers and gain experience of the design process — from concept to completion. Hands-on work can be invaluable to adding skills to your arsenal as an efficient and effective graphic designer.

Sometimes, you may enroll in internships while pursuing your bachelor’s degree or design program.

Unlike internships, certification programs are available through software product vendors. Those interested need only sign up and pay a fee to attend training. Boasting of a certification shows that you have a level of competence. This may provide you with a competitive advantage over others seeking the same job.

Salary Information

The average graphic designer salary is $42,801. Hourly, the average graphic designer salary works out to about $16.82.

With that said, graphic designer salaries are frequently boosted because the employee is eligible for bonuses, profit sharing and commissions, which are approximated as follows:

Bonus

$1,431

Profit Sharing

$1,499

Commission

$2,035

The annual graphic designer salary can be broken down as follows:

Salary

$30,834 to $61,106

Bonus

$254 to $5,004

Profit Sharing

$299 to $5,861

Commission

$500 to $7,167

Total Pay

$27,794 to $61,346

The hourly compensation of a graphic designer salary can be broken down as follows:

Hourly Rate

$11.62 to $27.88

Hourly Tips

$0.00 to $5.11

Overtime

$17.44 to $36.92

Job Outlook

Employment for designers is projected to grow approximately 5% in the next decade, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. A graphic designer's work will continue to be important in the marketing of products throughout the economy. The forecasted change in employment for designers over the next 10 years, however, varies according to the industry within which they will work.

For instance, employment of graphic designers by newspapers, directories, periodicals and book publishing houses is forecasted to decline by 22%. This is because digital products will continue to flood the market at the expense of print materials.

In contrast, employment of graphic designers in computer systems design companies is expected to grow by 20% over the same period. Firms are continuing to increase their digital presences, which creates a demand for designers to create visually appealing and effective layouts for websites.

Conclusion

Graphic designers integrate text and images to create visual concepts by using computer software. They do this so they can communicate ideas that inspire, inform and captivate. In most instances, they use photo editing software to create final client designs. Also, graphic designers are involved in creating visual elements for companies such as original images, logos and illustrations to help deliver the desired message. They design layouts and select images, colors and typefaces for appealing designs.

Technological developments have led graphic designers to use computer software increasingly in the design process. The industry standard for this is Adobe’s Creative Suite, which includes InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop products. Graphic designers work in a variety of industries and in different capacities. Some are in-house workers, others work for agencies and yet others still work as self-employed freelancers on a per-project basis.

To be a designer, you need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. You also need adequate training and experience, which is achieved through internships.

The average graphic designer salary is $42,801 per year, while that works out to an hourly graphic designer salary of $16.82 per hour. Additionally, in addition to a regular graphic designer salary, professionals frequently also receive bonuses, commissions and profit sharing.

If you are willing to put in the time it takes to get the proper education, certifications and experience, as well as the long hours the position takes on-the-job, and you have a creative way of thinking and expressing yourself visually, then you might be a perfect fit to be a professional graphic designer.

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