What Can You Do With A Graphic Design Degree?

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Graphic design is a type of visual communication that involves tying together text and pictures for media such as newspapers, books, and magazines. What can you do with a graphic design degree? One of the most popular career paths in graphic design is that of advertising. Getting into the field of advertising will allow you to utilize knowledge gained through any graphic design degree program available. This article further explores graphic design, a handful of schools that offer graphic design degree programs, and some potential career paths for people with graphic design degrees.

Studying Graphic Design

Believe it or not, you encounter graphic design products on a daily basis. From road signs to restaurant menus, from coffee containers to shampoo bottles, the work of graphic designers is everywhere. If nearly everything involves some hint of graphic design, how do you narrow down what people in graphic design degree programs study in college? To help you get a better idea of what graphic design is all about, below are just a few topics usually covered in graphic design degree programs.

Typography – art of arranging type to communicate an understood and appealing message; popular in advertising

Visual arts – art of developing images for graphic designing purposes; may include use of photos and digital art among other forms of visual art

Printmaking – art of creating images by etching, engraving, drypoint, etc.; often performed on paper, metal, wood, etc.

Layout – art of setting out and arranging pictures within texts or text within pictures to convey a message to viewers

Graphic Design Degree Programs

Colleges and universities around the globe are constantly accepting new students to their graphic design degree programs. One of the biggest decisions you have to make is which program can best help you reach your career goals. Consult your guidance counselor to find out what courses your high school has to offer to prepare you for a further education in graphic design, and check out a few of the schools described here.

The Pennsylvania College of Art and Design offers an excellent Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. In this program, students learn how to collaborate with one another and others in the fields of photography, illustration, and more in order to create top-of-the-line product labels, websites, advertisements, and more. Not only do they learn the ins and outs of graphic design, but courses at this college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, help build their communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. The school boasts of having faculty members who bring their professional work into the classroom to provide students with opportunities to contribute to the world of graphic design before even leaving the school. Students involved in the graphic design program are also required to undertake internships their senior year in order to gain exceptional experience, which contributes to the appeal of their resumes to potential employers once they enter today’s competitive job market.

Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, has a Graphic Design and Fine Arts Department that offers students various degrees, including a bachelors degree in graphic design. This particular program prepares students to excel in graphic design careers by providing them with opportunities to learn how to create motion graphics, get involved with video production and interactive media, apply their knowledge to print and publication design, and more. Students also have the chance to choose an area of specialization in order to enhance their knowledge within a specific area of graphic design, including visual communication and web design. Internships are also required for students to complete their graphic design degrees.

If your schedule prevents you from attending classes on a regular basis, consider earning a graphic design degree online. Penn Foster College offers undergraduate students the opportunity to earn an associates degree in graphic design online. Students who participate in this degree program take advantage of learning the techniques of image editing, animation, and other types of graphic design with the use of software provided in the program. Color theory and formatting are crucial to understanding the world of graphic design, and Penn Foster College’s online graphic design degree program helps students gain that knowledge. This accredited school also has highly reasonable prices and payment plans as students do their work wherever is most convenient for them.

Types of Graphic Design Careers

During your time in college, you should begin thinking about your plans for after graduation. Is there a particular type of job you’re most interested in within the field of graphic design? Once you figure out what you’d like to do after graduation, forming your education around your career goals becomes much easier. This section provides some career options for people with graphic design degrees.

Production Artist

An entry level production artist may work with digital or print media, assisting higher-ranked production artists with the final review of a product before it is sent for publication. He or she often communicates between the production artist and art directors and designers involved in the creation of the work, so it is necessary for the individual to possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. Knowledge of computer software is also beneficial, as more and more companies are relying on computers for design and advertising. A bachelors degree in graphic design is often necessary for entry level positions.

A production artist can earn over $35,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

Advertising Graphic Designer

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An advertising designer comes up with ideas for new advertising campaigns, proposing attention-grabbing visuals to fulfill client needs using knowledge the designer gained from earning a bachelors degree in graphic design. Advertising designers may also possess a background in advertising. They possess excellent problem solving and written and verbal communication skills. It is also not uncommon for employers to hire people with associate degrees in graphic design for entry level positions.

Advertising graphic designers may earn over $45,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

Editorial Designer

An editorial designer focuses his or her talents on organizing the layout of content for a newspaper, magazine, or book company. He or she may work with print or digital media. Editorial designers usually have at least a bachelors degree in graphic design, with excellent communication and problem solving skills. Organizational skills are also beneficial, as is a specialization in editorial design. Some companies may require a masters degree in graphic design or related field.

Editorial designers may earn over $50,000 annually, based on education and experience levels in addition to the type of company for which they work or if they are self-employed.

Digital Designer

A digital designer relies on computer technology to create digital images for promotional purposes. He or she may design images like company logos or images for print and/or electronic media sources. Digital designers usually have a bachelors degree in graphic design or related field, and they are highly skilled in various computer software programs. They possess outstanding written and verbal communication skills, as they often work together with others in the graphic design industry within a company and individuals involved in marketing and advertising campaigns.

Digital designers may earn an annual salary of around $55,000, based on education and experience levels.

Packaging Designer

A packaging designer works with other designers to create convenient and appealing packaging designs for the goods offered by various clients. He or she may meet with clients in order to best understand what they expect from the company and then proceed by researching recent sales trends to determine what types of designs are in style and gather inspiration for more unique packaging designs. Packaging designers usually have at least a bachelors degree in graphic design, industrial design, or another related field and may possess background knowledge in marketing. They have outstanding problem solving and communication skills and are often particularly skilled creative thinkers.

Packaging designers may earn around $57,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

Creative Director

A creative director oversees a team of designers and writers in order to ensure the trendiness and high appeal of designs being created for marketing, advertising, or simply publication purposes. He or she is experienced in the world of design and is familiar with proper management skills. A creative director also often meets with clients in order to present finished products and confirm client satisfaction. Most companies prefer a creative director possess a masters degree in graphic design or related field as well as a few years of experience working in fields related to advertising and graphic design. Creative directors have exceptional leadership and creative thinking skills and are particularly good at managing their time, involving partaking in multiple projects simultaneously.

Creative directors can earn around $68,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

Companies that Hire People with Graphic Design Degrees

With more and more businesses constantly creating a presence on the world wide web, the need for people with backgrounds in graphic design is increasing steadily. Many advertising firms and other companies around the world have jobs available for people just like you who have earned degrees in graphic design. With a graphic design degree, you just may find yourself working at any of the companies listed below.

RealWorld Marketing – located in Scottsdale, AZ; hires positions for creative directors and more

Publicis Healthcare Communications Group – locations in at least 11 countries; hires positions for assistant creative directors, art directors, media directors, strategists, etc.

The Segal Group, Inc. – headquarters in New York, NY; hires positions for publications designers, staff assistants, project coordinators, etc.

Union of Concerned Scientists – headquarters in Cambridge, MA; hires positions for infographic designers, multimedia producers, production coordinators, etc.

Graphic design requires a highly creative mind and the ability to work well with others. If you pride yourself on your creative streak and people skills, then perhaps a graphic design job is the ideal choice for your future.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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