Are you just out of a design college or you’re thinking of an art course to study in college? Design is your passion and you have a sense of aesthetics as well as numbers and fixed deadlines? Then you are probably wondering: is graphic design a good career?
Let your creativity run free as a graphic designer and practice one of the currently most popular professions. The design career has been receiving a big push in the back ever since the invention of the internet. Here you can find out how to master your apprenticeship and get a good career out of it!
What does Graphic Design entail?
Graphic design is the visual design of elements that are intended to support the communication of media. Thoughts and content should be presented in such a way that they are understandable at first glance and grab the reader’s attention. Graphic design ultimately serves communication, just like writing or language.
Graphic design is needed in almost all areas of life; in business and politics, culture, and science. Examples of graphic designs are icons, logos, fonts, brochures, posters, packaging, Web presence, and more.
Even complex projects such as corporate design, i.e. the uniform visual representation of a company, fall within the scope of a graphic designer.
It is currently becoming more and more important to present content in a compact and easy-to-understand manner, as the average attention span of people is getting shorter and shorter. And graphic design is a great way to present visual communication in creative and effective ways that catch people’s attention.
Graphic design is a classic, but the profession has changed a lot in recent years. The term graphic design established itself as early as the middle of the 20th century.
Since then, graphic design has been greatly influenced by the changes in the media world, especially as there has been more and more advertising. At the latest, increasing digitization completely changed the profession of a graphic designer.
On the one hand, it became possible to design digital graphics on the computer. On the other hand, there were completely new technical communication channels, which fundamentally changed communication with customers and thus expanded the reach of a designer.
And what is media design? Or communication design? These areas have content-related overlaps with graphic design, but of course, there are also differences.
Media designers are concentrating even more on the digital area and web design. For example, they produce animations, games, apps, or films. Communication design, on the other hand, is very similar to graphic design, and the terms are often used synonymously.
5 reasons graphic design is a good career
1. Graphic Design is a versatile profession
From the poster to the logo to the web design, each project is unique. Redundancy does not exist in the projects and the variation of tasks prevents monotony. Any graphic designer will tell you that this is what makes the charm of the profession.
2. Let your creativity run free
Creativity defines the graphic designer. His goal is to attract and seduce the public eye and it is only by giving free rein to it that the graphic designer will be able to achieve his objective. It is through free expression that the graphic designer thrives in his work.
3. A Graphic Designer is essential to the communication of a company
The graphic designer is the basis of the communication of the image of a company or a brand. He designs the visual aspect and defines the graphic charter (the colors, the chosen typography) with the design department and all the communication media (both web and print). The graphic designer is a force in advising on the definition of this visual identity.
4. A Graphic Designer is indispensable in today’s world
Nowadays, companies communicate mainly through graphic designers. All companies have a logo. It is what defines the identity of a brand, a way for it to ensure a presence.
5. Be able to be a freelance Graphic Designer
Who doesn’t dream of being their own boss? One of the advantages of being a graphic designer is obviously to work as a freelancer. More flexible and free, you can define your schedule and can work from home. This will allow young adults to better reconcile professional and personal life.
Paths to Graphic Design: training or studying.
So how do you become a graphic designer? There are different ways, you can do an apprenticeship as well as study graphic design or related subjects.
Graphic Design Education
There is generally no numerus clausus for studying graphic design. Instead, you apply with a portfolio that shows your skills and creativity. Often there is also an entrance exam. How this works depends on the university.
Especially when it comes to studying graphic design: Many universities do not require a high school diploma. You can also distinguish yourself through special talent or a professional qualification for the course.
The same applies everywhere: There are a lot of applicants for a study institution, both in the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. Admission to graphic design studies is never a child’s play!
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in graphic design lasts six to eight semesters and often includes a practical or a semester abroad. Depending on how many credit points you have already completed in the Bachelor, the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) then comprises two to four semesters. What courses can you go for if you want a graphic design career? The following table gives you an overview:
|Web and app design||Film / video|
|Media technology||Art Direction|
|History of art and design||Hypermedia|
|Design principles (drawing, shape, color, composition)||Communication and media studies|
|Visual communication design techniques||Aesthetics|
|Illustration and collage||Design theories|
|Movie||Digital illustration & animation|
|Graphics in space and surroundings||Product & communication|
|Print and screen design||Information design|
However, you can also expect some economic contexts in your studies, such as project management, digital economics, media law and design management.
After all, a graphic designer not only has to let off steam creatively but also has to keep an eye on the numbers and be able to give the customer a cost estimate before the first brush stroke. The universities rightly place such great value on interdisciplinarity in graphic design studies.
Graphic Design Training
An intermediate level of education is required for graphics design training. Here, too, you also need to submit a portfolio that proves your skills and creativity. In addition to this work sample, there is again an aptitude test. During or after training as a graphic designer, you can specialize in a subject that interests you particularly or that you are particularly good at.
Requirements from Graphics Design employers
Graphic design employers usually require a completed professional training in the field, especially since there is no shortage of graphic designers. But what personal requirements should you meet to work as a graphic designer?
The first thing everyone thinks of is obvious: You have to be creative and draw incredibly well. But that’s not quite necessary. In the digital age, drawing talent is no longer so indispensable, apart of course from rough sketches that you should be able to quickly make for a customer.
The only basic requirement here is that you must have held a pen in your hand before. But a steady hand and the required points in the advanced art course will not necessarily help you, because there are other important requirements.
As a graphic designer, you are primarily a service provider. You have to be customer-oriented and able to communicate, have a quick grasp, and be willing to learn about new trends in the industry.
You also need the ability to organize abstract content in your head to visualize it. You should also have a basic understanding of economics. Of course, you have to master the common image processing and design programs, but you will learn that in the later period during your studies.
Of course, you should have a passion for design and artistic talent. But that also has a downside: the artist in you has to be able to live with the fact that you have to subordinate your creative work to the wishes of your client and the ideas of your boss.
There is certainly one or the other frustrating moment in every graphic designer career when you have to create a design differently than you would like. You also have to realize that your work takes place almost exclusively on the computer.
Specific tasks in Graphic Design
Depending on which graphic design job you are starting in, the following fields of activity can await you:
- Desktop publishing
- Corporate identity
Companies you can work for as Graphic Designer
And where can you work as a graphic designer? For example, you can work in:
- Advertising, media or PR agencies,
- Graphic design offices,
- PR departments or marketing departments of larger companies,
- or as a freelancer.
A daily routine as a graphic designer could look like this: In the agency, you answer e-mails, make phone calls, and do daily tasks. Later you meet with a customer and talk to them about their wishes and ideas.
You provide assessments of the feasibility and of course the price. Back in the office, you brainstorm and collect ideas. In the next few days, you will work out some concept proposals that will be emailed to the customer or presented at the next meeting. Of course, you can also work on several projects at the same time.
Graphic Design is a great career. Design professions are experiencing a great boom and there is a great demand in a wide variety of industries. With increasing digitalization, this profession is even more in demand than ever. However, there are also many graduates: So you will always have to fight for your place.
If you apply as a graphic designer, you should know that the job can also be demanding: weekend work, overtime, and occasionally even night shifts are not excluded if a project has to be completed on time.
In return, graphic designers have the opportunity to be creative and design like no other in their profession. However, you will have great freedom and flexibility.