A graphic designer works on a variety of products and activities, such as websites, advertising, books, magazines, posters, computer games, product packaging, exhibitions and displays, corporate communications and corporate identity, i.e. giving organisations a visual ‘brand’.
You’ll work to a brief agreed with the client, creative director or account manager and will develop creative ideas and concepts. The appropriate media and style has to be chosen to meet the client’s objectives.
The work demands creative flair, up-to-date knowledge of industry software and a professional approach to time, costs and deadlines.
You may need to manage more than one design brief at a time and typical activities include:
- meeting clients or account managers to discuss the business objectives and requirements of the job;
- estimating the time required to complete the work and providing quotes for clients;
- developing design briefs that suit the client’s purpose;
- thinking creatively to produce new ideas and concepts and developing interactive design;
- using innovation to redefine a design brief within the constraints of cost and time;
- presenting finalised ideas and concepts to clients or account managers;
- working with a range of media, including computer-aided design (CAD) and keeping up to date with emerging technologies;
- proofreading to produce accurate and high-quality work;
- demonstrating illustrative skills with rough sketches and working on layouts ready for print;
- commissioning illustrators and photographers;
- working as part of a team with printers, copywriters, photographers, stylists, illustrators, other designers, account executives, web developers and marketing specialists.
What to expect
- It is likely you will be based in a shared studio as some jobs involve working in teams, although you may also work alone on occasions. If you’re a freelancer you could share offices, rent studio space or work from home.
- Design work often involves sitting and working at a computer for long periods of time.
- Job satisfaction comes from creating high-quality artwork and building a solid reputation. You will also be able to use your creative powers to solve problems.
- Jobs are available in major cities and towns. Advertising agencies are predominantly based in London, the South East, Manchester and Leeds. There’s a demand for British graphic designers internationally with opportunities in Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA. It’s advisable to gain at least one year of work in the UK before seeking work abroad.
- Although the work is mostly studio-based, travel within the working day to meet clients may be required. Working away from home, however, is rare.
From working for a design consultancy to setting up your own studio, a degree in graphic design opens the door to a range of creative careers
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Advertising art director
- Graphic designer
- Production designer, theatre/television/film
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Exhibition designer
- Fine artist
- Interior and spatial designer
- Landscape architect
- Medical illustrator
- Multimedia specialist
- UX designer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don’t restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.