The Complete Guide to Becoming a Graphic Designer

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Embarking on a career in graphic design can be fulfilling, offering a range of duties, earnings, and job prospects. As visual narrators, graphic designers use computer software or hand illustration to transform ideas into unique designs. The graphic design profession encompasses various tasks, each demanding a diverse set of artistic abilities and methodologies based on the specific role.

If your enthusiasm lies in storytelling or graphic design, this guide will offer insights into this career path and help you evaluate if it fits you. Once you are convinced, the best way to get into this career will be to obtain a Bachelor’s degree from a renowned institution like the American International College.

What Is Graphic Design?

The graphic design employs various software or hand-drawn techniques to generate visual content that conveys particular messages. The goal of a graphic designer is to shape consumer feelings through diverse artistic elements and mediums, such as print and digital art.

With graphic design, businesses can engage with their audiences by visually marketing their offerings. The key responsibilities of a graphic designer revolve around transmitting a visual narrative or establishing a brand’s identity.

Career Overview

A career in graphic design merges art with technology to articulate ideas via diverse design components. As a graphic designer, you will craft the overarching layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, posters, and magazines. You will usually start a design project with basic sketches, either manually or utilizing computer software.

Designers often prepare a process book for their clients, illustrating the design project’s journey from start to finish. This book may also contain a mood board, enabling the client to choose colors, patterns, textures, typography, and other design elements. These process books set up the designer’s methodology and techniques, which are subsequently incorporated into the final design strategy in the end product.

Job Responsibilities

  • Holding meetings with clients to discuss project details and showcase proposed concepts
  • Utilizing software tools like Photoshop and Illustrator to produce creative pieces
  • Modifying designs based on client feedback and requirements
  • Evaluating the finalized product to confirm it aligns with the specified graphic criteria

Project Scope

As a graphic designer, you could focus on a specific design type or engage in multiple project types. Potential projects you might undertake include:

  • Promotional advertisements
  • Brand development
  • Logo design
  • Marketing materials
  • Product packaging

Why Pursue a Career in Graphic Design?

If you aspire to be part of a creative profession, the field of graphic design provides avenues to employ your artistic skills in various settings, such as remote work, office environments, or freelance projects. You will engage in diverse projects to cater to various client requirements. Collaborating with clients across multiple sectors allows you to stay informed and helps widen your creative scope.

If you enjoy autonomy, you can consider self-employment and freelancing. Being a freelance graphic designer affords you greater creative independence and the flexibility to work on your terms and from your desired location. You can also choose to specialize in your favorite creative segments like typography, illustration, or web design.

Graphic Designer Career Paths

Design Educator

Design educators earn an average yearly base salary of $52,278. Institutions of secondary and higher education require graphic design educators. As a design educator, your instruction would be categorized as technical or vocational. Your basic responsibilities would involve delivering lectures, crafting the curriculum, and offering guidance to students.

User Experience (UX) Designer

UX designers earn an average yearly base salary of $108,300. As a UX designer, your role involves making products and services easier to use and more accessible. Your work will encompass creating digital designs for websites and apps. Whether dealing with static or animated images, the aim is to ensure a smooth and intuitive user experience.


Animators earn an average yearly base pay of $64,083. While graphic designers produce fixed visuals, animators utilize dynamic elements. Animators breathe life into objects or characters via special effects, animations, and visual graphics. In this capacity, you could be involved in 2D or 3D design, character animation, or image editing. You could also be tasked with crafting frames and storyboards and determining the sequence of content motion.

Art Director

Art directors make an average yearly base income of $87,441. In the role of an art director, you would be entrusted with the responsibility of visual aesthetics, commonly associated with newspapers, magazines, product packaging, and film production. Similar to a graphic designer, your role includes creating designs, but additionally, you would also guide others in generating artwork and layouts.

Production Artist

The average yearly base salary of a production artist is $51,681. As a production artist, you are essentially a pragmatic designer. Your main duty would be to ensure a design is suitable for its intended platform, be it an Instagram post or a billboard. Your role generally does not involve much in brainstorming design ideas, instead focusing more on the actual execution of the ideas.

Book Designer

Book designers earn an average yearly base salary of $66,720. The job of a book designer is to shape the entire aesthetic of a book. This would typically involve designing elements such as the cover, the typeface, the layout, and external designs. You may also be responsible for choosing the type of paper and other elements to enhance the book’s visual appeal.


The field of graphic design offers a variety of roles and opportunities for individuals with a passion for creativity and visual storytelling. It can be a rewarding career choice, allowing for a diverse range of projects, flexibility in work settings, and the potential to specialize in typography, illustration, or web design. With the right combination of talent, passion, and dedication, a career in graphic design can enable you to earn a hefty income.

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