How To Become a Graphic Designer in 2023

How To Become a Graphic Designer in 2022 – Skills, Tools, Salary, Cost, Schools

Have you ever dreamed of becoming graphic designer or have you been dreaming of creating amazing designs? Then a career in graphic design might be right for you.

Although going to college can give you the right skills and qualifications, you can still become a graphic designer without following the usual career path.

Graphic designers play a very important role in the digital world because they create stunning images that are viewed every day and every minute all over the world.

These people create all forms of entertainment, advertising, news, and reports, including print publications and digital media such as game consoles, television, web browsers, and social platforms.

So in this article, you will learn all about being a graphic designer and how to become a better graphic designer.

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What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the art of planning and creating visual content to communicate ideas and messages. 

The design can be used to promote and sell products, convey a message or develop a brand identity. 

Although some graphic design has a commercial purpose, graphic design can also be a form of art and expression.

Who is a Graphic Designer?

Graphic designers are design professionals who create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, educate and captivate consumers.

They are also known as graphic artists or communication designers.

Therefore, they develop the general design and production design for applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and reports.

Also, graphic designers work with both text and images. They combine art and technology to communicate ideas through images, website design, and print pages.

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What Does a Graphic Designer Do? | Job Description

A graphic designer’s responsibilities involve the following:

  • Meet with clients or the art director to determine the scope of a project
  • Advise clients on strategies to reach a particular audience
  • Determine the message the design should portray
  • Create images that identify a product or convey a message
  • Develop graphics and visual or audio images for product illustrations, logos, and websites
  • Create designs either by hand or by using computer software packages
  • Select colors, images, text style, and layout
  • Present the design to clients or the art director
  • Incorporate changes recommended by the clients into the final design
  • Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them

Where Does A Graphic Designer Work? | Graphic Design Jobs

Graphic design is important to marketing and selling products and is a critical component of brochures and logos. 

So, you can find graphic designers involved in some things. Here are some:

  • 3D animation
  • Production design
  • Video game design
  • Interior design
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Computer animation
  • Illustration

Hence, Graphic designers often work closely with people in advertising and promotions, public relations, and marketing.

Also, most graphic designers specialize in experiential graphic design. 

These designers work in various areas such as:

  • Landscape Architects
  • Architecture
  • Interior Designers
  • Industrial Design

Mainly, graphic designers work in four broad areas in our sectors, and these include:

  • Advertising, public relations, and related services
  • Specialized design services
  • Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers
  • Printing and related support activities

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How Much Does A Graphic Designer | Salary And Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for graphic designers was $50,370 as of May 2018.

According to PayScale, there is a higher salary for graphic design managers, with a median annual salary of $56,255 per year and a salary range of $36,913 to $82,691 per year.

Additionally, the employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 3% from 2018 to 2028, slower than the average for all occupations.

So, graphic designers are expected to face strong competition for available positions. Currently, graphic designers held about 290,100 jobs in 2018.

For example, the employment of graphic designers in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers is projected to decline by 22% between 2018 and 2028.

However, the employment of graphic designers in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow 24 percent over the same period.

Businesses continue to increase their digital presence, requiring graphic designers to help create visually appealing and effective website designs.

Essentials Skills Of A Top-Notch Graphic Designer

For you to be a standout graphic designer, there are several qualities you must show that make you stand out. 

You must have:

  • Artistic Ability

You must be able to create designs that appeal to and appeal to the needs of customers. 

  • Creativity

You must be innovative and think outside the box as a graphic design specialist. For this reason, you should always think of new approaches to solving customer problems.

  • Communication Skills

You must be able to relate with customers at every step of their design creation journey to ensure their desires are properly expressed.

  • Computer Skills: 

You must also be specialized in computer software like Corel draw, lightroom, photoshop, among other design software.

  • Time-management skills

Due to multiple projects you would be running as a graphic artist, you should learn how to work with time.

  • Analytical Skills

You must also learn to think about your work critically and examine each design extensively to be sure it properly conveyed the client’s message.

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What are the Graphic Design Tool Kits?

 The best graphic designers essentially combine fundamental formal knowledge of artistic communication with sophisticated design tools. 

And these tools that a graphic designer uses depend on his area of specialization within the field.

For the print designer, key graphics programs typically include:

  • QuarkXPress
  • Adobe FrameMaker
  • InDesign Adobe
  • Adobe PageMaker

Also, in the digital space, designers use;

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Adobe Fireworks
  • Adobe FreeHand

Digital designers that also work in the online environment can benefit by using:

  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Macromedia HomeSite

Some major software tools for motion graphics designers also include:

  • Autodesk Maya
  • 3D Studio Max
  • MoGraph
  • Adobe After Effects

Of course, generalists must develop a foundational skillset in various work settings, or they may choose to specialize in just one or two key programs.

Overall, flexibility, as always, remains a key attribute of a successful career in graphic design.

What are the Educational Requirements To Become a Graphic Designer?

While you may not need a college degree to become a graphic designer, a bachelor’s degree will go a long way in creating a profitable career for you in graphic design.

In truth, graphic designers typically have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a closely related field. But successful graphic designers also possess a flair for creativity and a strong understanding of computer software.

Even if you feel too busy to attend college and get a bachelor’s degree, several colleges offer graphic design online.

Graphic Design Schools

Graphic arts degree programs generally take about four years to complete and are divided into general education, foundation studies in graphic design, and electives. Students can choose from the following degree options:

  • BACHELOR OF ARTS (BA) OR BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (BS) The BA or BS degree in graphic arts is designed to be a well-rounded general degree, providing graduates with key artistic and production skills, and a foundation in graphic design theory.
  • BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS (BFA) IN GRAPHIC ARTS Considered a professional degree, the BFA curriculum is based on studio practice and concentrates on the development of skills and knowledge in interactive design, typography, and motion graphics.

For this reason, we have outlined schools that offer the best graphic design programs for undergraduates:

  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Rhode Island School of Design.
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Parsons School of Design
  • Pratt Institute
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • California Institute of The Arts

Also, if you want to further your career in graphic design, a master’s degree is important. So, the following schools are considered one of the best graphic design schools:


What’s the Cost of Becoming a Graphic Designer?

Honestly, how much you pay to become a graphic designer will largely depend on whether you go to public or private school.

So, on average, an out-of-state student will pay $34,000 annually to get their bachelor’s degree in graphic design. This covers tuition, food and school supplies. Price ranges, however, can range from $11,000 to around $60,000 each year.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Graphic Designer?

On average, it takes about 4 years to learn graphic design at the undergraduate level. Although it can increase to 5 or 6 years if the master’s programs are included. But, more often than not, students settle for 4 years of learning before venturing into the world of design.

How Hard is Being a Graphic Designer?

Graphic designer’s work is very competitive, so hours vary depending on workload and deadlines.

For this reason, those who are self-employed may need to adjust their work hours to meet clients at night or on weekends.

Also, they could spend some of their time looking for new projects or competing with other designers for contracts.

Can you be a graphic designer without a degree?

Of course, you can still become a graphic designer without going down the usual route of earning a bachelor’s degree.

You just need to learn the right tools for graphic design and take extensive training and certificates to develop that skill well.

In addition, he must work both on marketing his craft and building a great portfolio.

Steps To Become A Graphic Designer

Being a graphic design professional takes a lot of commitment and training, so we’ve outlined a few steps you can take to become that amazing graphic designer and get paid well for it.


1 Start Building your Skills In High School

First of all, you should know that to develop any skill, you need time. Therefore, it is recommended that you develop your skills early, even while you are in high school.

As soon as you can, take design and art courses. Graphic designers must have a keen eye and a creative brain, but they must also develop skills and fluency with software. So, preparation is everything.

2 Get a Degree in Graphic Design

A certificate in the field, or an associate’s degree, maybe enough in some cases, but the U.S. 

Department of Labor reports that top graphic designers are much more likely to land a quality job only after earning a bachelor’s degree.

So, there are currently about 300 post-secondary institutions in the U.S. that offer degree programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. 

Coursework covers a wide range of subjects, such as studio art, principles of design, commercial graphics, web design, advertising as well as graphics-related computer technology.

Classes in marketing and business may be part of the curriculum as well since designers should be able to effectively sell themselves to potential clients.

3 Volunteer for Internships

Before venturing into the world of graphic design, you should volunteer for jobs that give you hands-on experience about the nitty-gritty of working with clients and also help you build professional relationships.

But, not all college programs in graphic design require internships.

4 Build a Great Work Portfolio

Building an impressive portfolio sells you more than a resume if you’re applying for a graphic design job.

So, the most effective credential for graphic designers is their professional portfolios, demonstrating their expertise and range of work. 

While presenting a large work portfolio might be hard because you are starting, you can focus on delivering quality content rather than quantity.

 Just showcase your best samples, and a portfolio aligned to your client’s interest.

5 Stay Updated

To be a better graphic designer, you need to keep up to date with software and computer technologies to remain competitive.

Completing certification programs in vendor-specific design software can also help build your credentials and set you ahead of your competitors.


How much does a graphic designer make?

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual pay for graphic designers was $50,370 in May 2018.

Does graphic designing require drawing skills?

Most times, you don’t need to be good at drawing to be a graphic designer.

Is graphic designing hard?

That depends on the type of graphic design and the skill and experience of the graphic designer. It just takes commitment to be good at what you do.

Is graphic design a high-paying job?

Graphic designers may find it difficult to get a job in graphic design if they strictly have PC knowledge.

Is graphic design in high demand?

Graphic designers have serious skills that are in high demand because job opportunities in the advertising and marketing field are growing. 

How long does it take to be a graphic designer?

It takes about four years if you just want to earn a bachelor’s degree.

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