Graphic design

If you are the sort of person who always notices how good (or bad) a website looks and how easy it is to use, it could be that graphic design is the profession for you.

Graphic designers are visual communicators. They understand how to use colour, text and images to persuade and inform. The job demands a mixture of artistic talent and technical knowledge. You will also need to be able to listen to other people, analyse a problem and find creative solutions.

Work activities

Graphic designers work as part of a team, often in design or advertising agencies, or in the marketing departments of large organisations. There are also many graphic designers who work as freelancers.

Each project begins with a brief. You need to understand what the client wants to achieve – and any limits on what you can do.. For example, a client might want to see a strong visual connection between their new site and the marketing materials they are using already.  Another client might ask you to come up with a whole new look to appeal to a younger audience.

You will then use a range of specialist software, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign to produce rough visuals that your colleagues and the client can look at and discuss.  However good your ideas are, you have to be prepared to make changes at this stage. Once your initial designs are approved, you will move on to developing detailed final artwork.

Good graphic designers listen carefully, think clearly and then come up with simple solutions to complicated problems. They also need to have a healthy respect for budgets and schedules.

Entry requirements

You will almost certainly need a degree or HND in graphic design or a related subject, such as fine art.

Employers will expect to see a portfolio of your own work. They will be looking for originality, versatility and for evidence that you can follow a brief. They will also want to see that you are aware of contemporary trends in design.

You will need to be confident with a range of design software.

You don’t have to be able to write code yourself, but it will help if you’ve worked with people who can, so you know how your designs will be used.

 Graphic design


Starting salaries range from about £14,000 to £17,000. An experienced graphic designer can expect to earn somewhere between £30,000 and £50,000.

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