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What does a Senior Graphic Designer do?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Most visual branding media, from icons and logos to advertising layout, is the product of a graphic designer. Graphic design professionals work to connect words and images in a variety of media. The position of senior graphic designer is typically reserved for someone who either leads a graphic design group in a company, or someone who has been working as a graphic designer for an extended period of time. Most of the time, senior graphic designers are managers or mid-level executives who spend about as much of their days supervising and executing as they do in actually designing.

The work that graphic designers do is broad and wide ranging, so it is fitting that the precise senior graphic designer job description is difficult to nail down. Generally speaking, the senior graphic designer is the head of his or her graphic design department, and is responsible for most matters of design, from conception to implementation and release. The senior is often also charged with training and mentoring more junior team members.

Traditionally, graphic design was done within advertising and marketing departments. Graphic designers were pen-and-paper artists who could put advertising agents’ ideas into existence. They also created brochures, presentation materials, and any other documents requiring a merging of picture and word.

As computers and digital design technology advanced, so did the practice of graphic design. Most graphic design tasks in the modern day are carried out by computer, and senior graphic designer jobs have adapted accordingly. Software suites geared specifically to photo and graphic design are prevalent on the market, and give artists the ability to quickly generate and display many different templates of the same idea. Most of the graphic design tasks are the same as in the days of pen and paper, but new tasks, such as web page design, have also entered the fold.

Senior graphic designers can work within graphic design firms, or on in-house graphic design teams. The senior graphic designer duties are different depending on setting. In a firm that exists independently, much of the senior’s job may be devoted to bringing in new clients and selling the team’s portfolio to companies looking for design services. For clients that are retained, the senior will usually act as the point person for the project and will often be responsible for the delivery of the finished products.

Things are different in an in-house graphic design setting. Many larger companies have their own graphic design teams that handle the company’s visual presentation and advertising needs. A senior graphic designer in this kind of environment usually focuses on leading and managing. There are not often more than a handful of senior designers on a corporate team. Their goals are usually product- and results-based, and they often do market research to generate ideas and data for making graphic design schemes more effective.

Senior graphic designer responsibilities really depend on the size of the graphic design team and the tasks and needs of the department. In all cases, though, the senior designer is someone with a lot of design experience and expertise. Senior designers may be researchers, marketers, and managers, but deep down, they are also artists.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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