What is a Graphic Designer?

Graphic designers assist in creating visual media that represents their clients. They are employed in a variety of capacities, and may work for a company or for themselves. This article will go over the function of a graphic designer, who uses them, the type of training required to become one, and the job potential in the field.


  • A graphic designer is an individual trained in art and computer design software who uses their training to produce visual media that communicates a certain message. The media they produce varies from logos and print material to web sites and computer animations. They work as a part of a team or on their own, in large and small companies. Specific training is required and a strong artistic and creative background is required.


  • Graphic designers take on specific projects, such as designing a logo or a print advertisement, and draw up sketches or layouts for their vision. They utilize various computer design software programs, but may also incorporate hand drawings into the process. They spend their time carefully selecting a color palette, photographs, animation, font style, as well as other elements, to put together the design that fulfills their client’s vision. When the finished product is completed, the graphic designer brings it to the client for approval, and sometimes even works with printers to help select the type of paper and ink, if it is a print project. For on-screen or web designs, designers may work with a website development team or webmaster.


  • Graphic designers are very important for print and online media, and are employed in a variety of settings. Businesses with websites and a lot of design needs, such as newsletters and advertisements, may hire graphic designers for their design department. Magazines hire graphic designers for page layout design, and advertising agencies employ graphic designers for turning their ideas into a visual representation, whether in print or on the screen. Some of the titles a graphic designer may hold are art director, creative director or graphic artist. In addition, some graphic designers may choose to work as a freelance artist and take on clients as a sub-contractor. This allows for more freedom and the ability to make their own hours and take only the clients they desire.

Time Frame

  • A four-year bachelor’s degree in fine arts or graphic design is required for most entry-level and higher positions, however, some may only require an associate degree. There are also two and three-year associate or technical programs that only focus on aspects of graphic design and do not offer many liberal arts classes. Graduates from these programs usually qualify to be assistants, rather than actual graphic designers. These programs are also valuable because those already with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline may choose to attend one of these two or three-year programs to gain the technical skill needed to become a graphic designer.


  • Job outlook for graphic designers is good, with average expected growth over the next ten years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The demand for graphic design will continue to grow from advertisers, publishers and computer design firms, due to the expanding television, movie and internet outlets that require it. Competition for available positions will be high, however, and graphic designers with a bachelor’s degree and knowledge of design software, website design and animation will have the best job opportunities.