How do I Become a Graphic Designer?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 December 2018
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If a person wishes to become a graphic designer, an associate's or bachelor's degree is usually required. Most entry-level graphic design jobs require a bachelor's degree, but some companies will accept an associate's. Many universities, colleges, and technical schools offer programs in graphic design. Tuition prices vary, and the quality of the program will differ among schools.

Typical course offerings in a four-year graphic design program include computerized design, commercial graphics, studio art, principles of design, web design, and printing techniques. A student may also be expected to take courses in writing, business, art history, psychology, foreign language, and other basic undergraduate classes. Associate degrees and certificate programs in graphic design allow a student to spend a shorter amount of time in school. An associate degree requires about two years worth of coursework while a certificate program may only require a few months. These kinds of graphic design programs do not focus on the liberal arts aspect of education — only the technical aspects of a graphic design education.


Graphic designers are employed in various industries, including advertising, publishing, design, or nonprofit organizations. If a person decides to become a graphic designer, he or she will be required to plan, devise, and create images that will appeal to the public. By using animation, illustration, photography, color, and print layout techniques, they produce advertisements, design book covers, layout magazines, create brochures, design logos, build web pages, create signs, and make a dizzying array of other visual messages.

Graphic designers often use computers to design images. It is their responsibility to choose color, fonts, artwork, photography, sound, and several other elements in order to produce an effective design for the client. They may be required to create charts and graphs for magazines or consult with copywriters concerning text for ads. Their work must be approved by their supervisors or clients who have the final say as to whether the work is acceptable.

If a person decides to become a graphic designer, he or she has the option of working for a company or acting as a contract worker. A contract worker designs from his or her own office or studio. As an independent contractor, the graphic designer often gets paid by the project or hour but receives no company benefits.

Those who decide to start their own business may feel the constant pressure to find new clients and please the ones they already have. Anyone who wants to become a graphic designer may often be required to work nontraditional hours such as evenings and weekends. Despite the stress of working in such a deadline-driven environment, graphic designers enjoy their jobs because they can explore their own creativity and grapple with new challenges on a daily basis.



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