Career In Focus: Graphic Design

Posted April 3, 2020, by Elesha

You’ve heard the quote “A picture is worth a thousand words” right? A super creative (and pretty freaking cool) career choice, graphic design is all about communicating ideas and concepts with image – be it for commercial, educational, cultural or political purposes.

There’s way more to this career choice than just creating logos! Let’s take a look at where a qualification in graphic design could take you, what skills you’ll need and the size of the pay packet you can expect to take home. 

Design Is Always In Demand

In the age of AI and automation, many career paths and professions are requiring less and less human involvement.

Not graphic design – this career choice will always require human creativity and vision.

“Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” Steve Jobs

Sure, there are simplistic aspects of design and animation that can be automated but truly clever and unique concepts require a creative human mind. 

Graphic design skills are essential across all businesses and industries, to varying degrees. Being the creative force behind a brand is about more than just designing a logo – it can be the role a graphic designer to create the vision and spirit of a business its customers connect with. 

Graphic Design Job Possibilities – Choose Your Own Adventure

Love the idea of a ‘choose your own adventure’ style career? Graphic design can be a career path full of surprises.

It can take you to places you never expected and, with tech advancing at breakneck speed, potentially to a role that doesn’t even exist yet!

The usual graphic design career starts at a junior level in either an agency or as part of an in-house design team. After you’ve earned your stripes, you might choose to progress through the ranks to a senior designer, art director, and then creative director.

Or, you could take a less structured path. Many graphic designers choose to freelance and run their own show or find themselves in other exciting roles in the design industry. 

Here are a few of the job possibilities you might choose to pursue with a degree in graphic design – 

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are visual communicators who use typography, imagery, colour and form with a variety of media to craft a particular idea or identity for branding, cultural, or promotional purposes.

They shape the visual aspect of product packaging, websites, promotional materials, magazines, books, and more.

Creative Director or Advertising Art Director

Responsible for the overall visual aspects of an advertising or media campaign a creative director or advertising art director leads marketing projects. This role oversees the creative process and guides the creative teams that work under them.

Animator

An animator designs the sequence of images that become the animation in movies, television programs, video games, and commercials.

Artworker 

This role takes creative design concepts from the designer and tidies them up – fixing colours, typography, consistencies, etc –  creating a design file that is print-ready.

VFX Artist 

A VFX artist uses software to create photoreal, digitally-generated graphics and animations for movies, video games, and TV shows. 

Production designer

These are the people responsible for the overall visual look of film, television, or theatre production and hold a key creative position in the project.

Illustrator

An illustrator creates designs and images for everything from children’s books to newspapers and magazines. Some work with traditional media – like watercolour – to produce designs while others use software to create digital images. 

You might even launch your own design studio – the possibilities are endless with this degree.

What A Graphic Designer Does And The Skills Required

It’s your job to communicate the brand image, ideas and information through the design of visual media.

‘Visual media’ is a broad term and can include everything from digital media – such as websites and apps, to print media – think brochures and magazines – to physical media like billboards and set props. 

Graphic design isn’t only about creating kickass visuals, the role requires great communication and problem-solving skills as you’ll be working closely with team members and clients. 

You’ll need to have exceptional attention to detail, a keen eye for aesthetics and a high level of patience – for those seemingly endless revision requests. You’ll need to have a pretty thick skin and be able to gracefully handle constructive criticism of your designs and concepts.

Of course, you’ll also need to know your way around design software (such as InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Photoshop) and be a stickler for meeting deadlines. 

Day to day responsibilities of a graphic designer may include – 

  • Planning design concepts by studying information and materials.
  • Submit a rough layout of concept for approval by client or manager
  • Making changes to designs as required
  • Prepares final layout by marking up the final artwork
  • Coordinates outside contractors – printers etc – to finalise work
  • Training to maintain and advance technical knowledge
  • Communicating with team members, clients, and other relevant stakeholders

The design industry is constantly changing and the most successful designers are flexible, lifelong learners who update their skills and specialisations throughout their careers.

How To Become A Graphic Designer In Australia

In most cases, you’ll need a formal certification to kick start this creative career choice. There a few study paths you can take, including –

Bachelor Of Design

Bachelor Of Design (Visual Communications)

Master Of Design

Mixed Reality Design Course

Product Development and Innovation

Some of these certifications can be studied online while others are delivered on campus. 

A Good Career Choice For Remote Work

These days so much of the job is digital which makes the goal of working remotely from home (or poolside in Bali!) a real possibility. 

Designs can be produced at any time, which means if you do score yourself a remote role, there may be an opportunity for flexible hours too.

Or you could become your own boss and set up an agency or roll solo as a freelancer. Both options are perfect for building a location independent, remote career. 

How Much Does A Graphic Designer Get Paid?

How much you’ll make will obviously depend on your experience and the industry you’re working in. According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a Graphic Designer in Australia is $66,499 per annum and can range from $34,000 right up to $119,000 at the top end of the scale.

Want an inside look at what a career in graphic design looks like? Check out our interview with Atieh Mohammdi – Senior Graphic Designer at Coco Republic.

Elesha

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