A bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required for jobs in this field. Beginning graphic designers usually need 1-to-3 years of work experience before they can advance to higher positions. Experienced graphic designers may advance to chief designer, art or creative director, or other supervisory positions.
Nevertheless, those with a bachelor’s degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications.
Most schools include studio art, principles of design, computerized design, commercial graphics production, printing techniques, and website design. In addition, students should consider courses in writing, marketing, and business, all of which are useful in helping designers work effectively on project teams. Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build their professional portfolios. This means collecting examples of their designs from classroom projects, internships, and other experiences. Students use these examples of their work to demonstrate their design skills when applying for jobs and bidding on projects. A good portfolio often is the deciding factor in getting a job.
Students interested in graphic design programs should take basic art and design courses in high school, if the courses are available. Many bachelor's degree programs require students to have had one year of basic art and design courses before being admitted to a formal degree program. Some schools require applicants to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.
Graphic designers must keep up with new and updated computer graphics and design software, either on their own or through formal software training programs. They must be able to create designs that are artistically interesting and appealing to clients and consumers. They produce rough illustrations of design ideas, either by hand sketching or by using a computer program.
Graphic designers must communicate with clients, customers, and other designers to ensure that their designs accurately reflect the desired message and effectively express information. Most use specialized graphic design software to prepare their designs. They must be able to think of new approaches to communicating ideas to consumers. They develop unique designs that convey a recognizable meaning on behalf of their clients.
Graphic designers often work on projects with other graphic designers and marketers, business analysts, writers, and programmers. They must collaborate to produce successful websites, publications, and other products.