Graphic Designer Career Path
How to Become a Graphic DesignerBeing a graphic designer is an occupation that combines skill and talent. Learning the tools of the trade as early as high school can provide you with years of valuable practice before entering the job field as a graphic designer. If you're starting your career journey, here are some steps you can take to become a graphic designer.
Learn the Fundamentals of Art
It's important to understand and be able to implement essential art techniques and fundamentals when becoming a graphic designer. Learning the fundamentals can equip you with the artistic talent necessary for the job and the vocabulary to explain and defend your design decisions. High school art classes are a great place to start. If you're out of high school, look for open art classes at your local college or find art courses online.
Earn a Degree or Certification for Graphic Design
Getting a job as a graphic designer does not necessarily require a college degree. However, a college degree will provide you with several advantages, including:
- Learning how to use graphic design computer technology and software
- Understanding advanced art techniques
- How to build a creative portfolio that stands out when applying for jobs
- Give you the accreditation of graduating from a design program
There are many alternatives to a four-year university when becoming a graphic designer. Technical institutes, private colleges, and online programs can provide you with graphic design education and even a certification upon completing the program. Higher education will additionally help provide you with portfolio pieces to help land you a graphic design internship.
What type of degree should you pursue to become a Graphic Designer?
93% of people working as a Graphic Designer earned a Bachelor's Degree
What skills do you need to be a Graphic Designer?
- Indesign Photoshop
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- HTML AND CSS
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Excellent Communication
Apply for Internships
A graphic design internship can help you gain exposure to the graphic designer profession and get work experience and portfolio pieces before applying for jobs. A graphic design internship can range from 6 months to a year. When applying for graphic design internships, look for opportunities that will offer you hands-on experience with client work.
Build a Creative Portfolio
During your internship as a graphic designer, it's important to build a portfolio of your best work. This portfolio will showcase your talent and expertise to employers when you're looking for a job as a graphic designer, as it is the employer's only way for the employer to understand and gauge your abilities.
Presenting a compelling design portfolio should include a wide selection of examples. It's important to present only your best work and tailor your portfolio to a potential employer. A digital portfolio or online portfolio website is a great method for showcasing different types of work.
Stay Up to Date in Your Field
Graphic design can be a fast-paced profession with new developments happening often. It's important to stay up-to-date in the graphic design field to remain relevant in the industry. Things like learning and mastering new design software, staying on top of art trends, continuing to take education courses and certifications, and staying active in local or online collaborative groups can help keep your graphic design skills relevant and in demand.
Graphic Designer Career Path
Contribute to GlassdoorEverything you add helps others find a job and company they'll love.
Related careers in the Arts & Design Industry
Interested in other Arts & Design careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Graphic Designer skills. Discover some of the most common Graphic Designer career transitions, along with skills overlap.