$46k $46k
261k 261k
1.4% 1.4%
3.8/5 3.8/5
Bachelors Bachelors

Graphic Designer Education Requirements

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.

A bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required for jobs in this field. Those with a bachelor’s degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications. Beginning graphic designers usually need one to three 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.

Most schools include studio art, principles of design, computerized design, commercial graphics production, printing techniques, and web 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.

Education History of Graphic Designers

The most common degree held by graphic designers is Graphic Design. 10 percent of graphic designers had a degree in graphic design before becoming graphic designers. That is over 10 times the average across all careers. Fine Arts graduates are the second most common among graphic designers, representing 3 percent of graphic designers in the Sokanu user base, which is 2.6 times the average.

Graphic Designer Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Graphic Designer, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of graphic designers % of population Multiple
Graphic Design 10.2% 1.1% 9.7×
Fine Arts 3.3% 1.3% 2.6×
Commercial Art And Graphic Design 3.0% 0.3% 10.4×
Communications 2.7% 2.4% 1.1×
Advertising 1.8% 0.5% 3.6×
English Literature 1.7% 3.6% 0.5×
Business Management And Administration 1.6% 5.0% 0.3×
Marketing And Marketing Research 1.6% 1.7% 1.0×
Psychology 1.6% 4.8% 0.3×
Web Design 1.1% 0.4% 3.0×
Photography 1.0% 0.3% 3.4×

Graphic Designer Education Levels

85% of graphic designers have a bachelor's degree. 15% of graphic designers have an associate's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 15%
Bachelor's degree 85%
Master's degree 0%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Graphic Designer

Think you might be interested in becoming a Graphic Designer? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

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  2. Get the Education
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  3. Get Hired
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Further Reading

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Recommended Books

  • Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design www.amazon.com

    Graphic Design, Referenced is a visual and informational guide to the most commonly referenced terms, historical moments, landmark projects, and influential practitioners in the field of graphic design. With more than 2,000 design projects illustrating more than 400 entries, it provides an intense overview of the varied elements that make up the graphic design profession.

  • Graphic Design Thinking www.amazon.com

    Creativity is more than an inborn talent; it is a hard-earned skill, and like any other skill, it improves with practice. In the style with which author Ellen has come to been known hands-on, up-close approach to instructional design writing brainstorming techniques are grouped around the three basic phases of the design process: defining the problem, inventing ideas, and creating form.

  • Building Better Brands: A Comprehensive Guide to Brand Strategy and Identity Development www.amazon.com

    Building Better Brands is the essential guide to creating and evolving brands. Leveraging three decades of brand consulting for legendary companies like Caterpillar, Harley-Davidson, 3M, Owens-Illinois, National Australia Bank, and American Express, as well as middle-market and new-media startups, Scott Lerman shares the processes and frameworks needed to build great brands.

  • Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities www.amazon.com

    In Logo Design Love, David shows you how to develop an iconic brand identity from start to finish, using client case studies from renowned designers. In the process, he reveals how designers create effective briefs, generate ideas, charge for their work, and collaborate with clients.

  • 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design www.amazon.com

    New in the "100 Ideas that Changed..." series, this book demonstrates how ideas influenced and defined graphic design, and how those ideas have manifested themselves in objects of design. The 100 entries, arranged broadly in chronological order, range from technical (overprinting, rub-on designs, split fountain); to stylistic (swashes on caps, loud typography, and white space); to objects (dust jackets, design handbooks); and methods (paper cut-outs, pixelation).

  • Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World's Great Graphic Designers www.amazon.com

    In this ambitious publication, some one hundred of the world’s leading graphic designers and illustrators open up their private sketchbooks to offer a privileged glimpse into their creative processes.

Become a Graphic Designer