Graphic designers are the visual voice of brands. They come up with visual ideas to convey messages that are intended to capture the attention of consumers.
This content is then used to communicate concepts. These concepts educate and convert customers into making a purchase decision. In other cases, they are used to help them understand a product better.
Graphic design is a skill that is valuable in multiple industries in the world right now.
The visual content that you see on billboards, print & digital advertisements, ad & marketing collateral, video games, etc is created by graphic designers.
Visual content captivates customers faster than prose content, research shows.
“Good design’s not about what medium you’re working in. It’s about thinking hard about what you want to do and what you have to work with before you start,” says Susan Kare, one of the pioneer designers of the Apple Macintosh.
What does a typical day for a graphic designer look like?
- Take directions from the art director on the scope of visual projects, brainstorm, and execute.
- Make decisions on the best graphic design software to use and use them to create the best designs.
- Create visual support for marketing such as images, logos, and illustrations to convey messages to customers to entertain and influence purchase decisions.
- Present executed design work to art directors and the marketing team.
- Use customer feedback to create the best designs that communicate to the final consumer.
- Gathers information and materials needed to make an illustration straightforward and easy to understand, or creative, and witty.
- Attends design workshops, professional meetups, and upskilling training that advance your skill consistently.
- Stay up to date with the latest software and industry trends in order to keep a competitive edge.
How much do Graphic Designers make?
Graphic designers make an average of $56,510 – $73,000 in the United States, depending on the industry they work in.
These are statistics from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Best Graphic Design Schools.
Experience is the biggest asset in the graphic design world. In addition, you are required to have a portfolio, even a showcase of personal work that has not served any commercial purpose in the past.
Some designers are self-taught, but sometimes the process can be long and challenging. However, there are great, affordable, and accessible design schools that any aspiring designer can enroll in.
A couple of credible schools offer bachelor’s degrees in graphic design as well as diplomas and certificates. Some of the world’s best graphic designers credit the following schools:
- Africa Digital Media Institute – located at the heart of Nairobi, this institute offers world-class education. A diploma in Graphic Design is offered and it takes two academic years to complete. (4 semesters). They have recently opened the doors to their online classes program, giving the school global access. Enroll now.
- Rhode Island School of Design – this creative school is located in Providence. They offer design courses for both bachelor’s and master’s levels. They are currently available online for students around the USA.
- Full Sail University – this school is located in Florida. Fun fact, with a diploma in graphic design from the Africa Digital Media Institute, one can transfer credits to this university to acquire a bachelor’s degree.
- Boston University – this university is located in Massachusetts and offers all certifications in Graphic Design up to the postgraduate level.
After school, graphic designers are required to complete an engaging internship. This is applicable if you attend a training school without an internship program, which all the above have.
Graphic Designer Requirements:
What are some of the basic skills required to become a graphic designer?
- Dynamic creativity – the ability to come up with new, witty, and captivating ideas for visual work is entirely dependent on the creativity of the designer. Having an edge and thinking outside the box is a very important requirement.
- Communication skills – these involve the ability to talk to a client to understand what they require, engage them on better ideas if need be, explaining complicated areas of your work in an easy to understand manner, among others. This also requires one to attend brainstorms and give ideas and counter others with calm and reason.
- Typography – the ability to carefully arrange the fonts, language, and images to create an easy to understand, appealing piece is required in a great graphic designer.
- Adobe’s creative apps – a great designer should understand how to use Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other Adobe software. This is a core technical skill that one cannot proceed without.
- Well conversant with interactive media – in order to keep an edge, it is key that the graphic designer constantly interacts with different media formats. It also helps understand consumers better.
- Coding – the ability to understand basic HTML code is important for a graphic designer, especially since a lot of your work will involve interactions with websites. The more proficient, the more marketable one is.
- “Public” speaking and presentation delivery – after creating design work for a client, you should be able to present it in a way that both the clients and customers understand it without a lot of explanation.
Graphic designers are expected to work in multiple environments. Some designers work in advertising & marketing agencies on a full term or project basis. Other designers work in media houses, NGO’s, government communication departments, among others.
This is a very diverse career. When in employment, graphic designers are required to work either independently or as part of a team, in the cases of heavy workloads.
Moreover, this is a fun career with no limitations of dress codes, or even better, hairstyles! You get to work with fellow creatives, attend fun brainstorms, and make interesting concepts.
A typical work week will consist of 37 working hours but sometimes more, depending on the amount of work to be done.
Most of the designers choose the freelance path after school. They sign up on credible freelance sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, 99designs among others. They contract independent clients through these sites and work independently on a project basis.
Do you want to take a sneak peek into a real-life Graphic Design class? Take a look at this webinar.