How to Build a Career in Graphic Design

How to Build a Career in Graphic Design

Graphic designers produce graphic messages that are used around the globe every day every minute. Designers have entertainment, ads, news, and features in all formats, including print publications (magazines, newspapers, and brochures) and digital. They further broadcast media, such as gaming consoles, television, web browsers, social networks, and handheld computers. As technology increasingly grows in sophistication, the roles and abilities of graphic designers are also increasing. Hence, the most popular routes into a career in graphic design are explored in this detailed guide.

Singapore University of Technology and Design

Role of a Graphic Designer

Graphic Designing: The Basics

In commercials, brochures, and other corporate communications tools, a career in graphic design express motivational and insightful concepts. As part of a joint team, some graphic designers work with specialised design agencies. Others are self-employed and operate separately. Complex graphics techniques are used by print and visual artists to manipulate text, pictures, animations, and colour.

To reach deadlines, most graphic designers work full-time. Self-employed graphic designers must be versatile since consumers often need to meet during the evening and weekend hours. Customer care and customer loyalty are keys to growth, as in so many businesses. Also, it involves learning how to compete on projects, sell resources, and create a steady customer base.

Graphic Designing: In-Depth

The heart of the work of a graphic designer lies in conversation. Although their tasks include substantial image work, unlike artists, they do not create art for the sake of art. Graphic designers seek to get across an exact meaning and call-to-action or sentiment focused on their customers’ goals. An artist may be charged with designing a logo that gives the customer firms a distinctive shape or colour scheme.

While the machine does a lot of graphic design work, motion graphics can be used. The projects that need to be optimised further have to be viewed on a multitude of digital devices. Designers can specialise in a specific graphics field, in addition to mastering general all-around skills. Specialities that are more general include:

  • Typography
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Branding and Advertising (print, web, broadcast)
  • Email Blasts and eNewsletters
  • Interface or User Experience Design
  • Web Design
  • Product Packaging
  • Book Design
  • Logos
  • Print or Web Production

Although designers may operate more frequently in a favourite media, performance does not entail a specialisation. Some graphic designers love working to keep their job opportunities available for several customers. However, various disciplines add to the versatility that will extend the clientele and maximise overall possibilities.

Steps for A career in Graphic Design


In any area, it never hurts to start early, but when it comes to graphic design, it is vital. Students can take courses in art history, painting, visual arts, and website design while in high school. They are expected to use their developing talents to plan and create the school newspaper or yearbook. Graphic design involves a keen eye and a creative imagination. Strong functional skills and fluency in the software are also necessary. The earlier plans are initiated by the pupil, the better.


There was a time when their artistic portfolio could be hired solely by a graphic artist. However, today, most companies are searching for designers with a more complete and well-rounded experience. In certain situations, a diploma in the profession or an associate’s degree might also be appropriate. The Department of Labour estimates that only after obtaining a bachelor’s degree are aspiring designers more likely to find a quality job.

However, in the United States, over 300 post-secondary colleges offer degree programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Architecture. From prominent state universities to independent private schools to prestigious art institutions, education opportunities run the gamut. An increasing variety of online programs are available as well. Coursework also encompasses studio art, design theory, commercial graphics, web design, ads, and computing technologies related to graphics. Marketing and business courses can also be part of the program. Designers must be able to assemble and apply brilliant work ideas and sell themselves to prospective buyers efficiently.

A career in graphic design should aim for an approved curriculum from a respected university.


Not all college programs in graphic design require internships. Still, those that give students an exceptional opportunity to obtain practical knowledge, form professional partnerships in the design world, and complete work appropriate for presentation in their portfolio or design “book”.


Although a good resume is a significant part of any career quest, an outstanding portfolio is the best advantage. While a resume would be required for graphic designers, the only way for a potential employer to consider a candidate’s talents is through a portfolio showcasing a range of work and progress as a designer.

There was once a time when a graphic design portfolio was a primary selection of the finest newspaper and magazine ads by an artist. Today, technical portfolios are even more mature, comprising print ads and internet advertisements, website graphics, and even a commercial reel and animation demo for television. Today, it is not unusual for career seekers to bring entirely digital copies of their portfolio to interviews on CDs or DVDs, along with the more conventional paper edition. Many designers still maintain their up-to-date websites for the product portfolio.

Curricular Activities You Need to put on your Resume!

For learners only starting, it is also challenging to offer a broad and diverse portfolio considering the small amount of completed work they may have achieved. In that case, they should concentrate on consistency instead of quantities, offering only their most refined examples of design and a portfolio arranged to suit a potential employer’s unique needs.


A continuously evolving and developing field is graphic design. Designers must keep up with the industry’s commercial and creative trends. Otherwise, they can find themselves left behind easily. New and modified computer graphics and modelling software systems, which are in a near-constant state of evolution, must still stay present. This is especially true for freelancers employed as designers and those interested in rising to higher positions within their businesses. Organisations such as the American Graphic Arts Institute or the Guild of Graphic Artists offer educational updates on emerging technologies, applications, or methodology to participants. Completing certification programs can also help create qualifications in vendor-specific design software.


By incorporating a graduate degree or post-secondary diploma, graphic designers can also choose to advance their expertise, ingenuity, and in-depth knowledge of the industry. Master’s degree programs primarily created for designers who prefer to progress or base their practice on a studio degree in theoretical studies (MA) (MFA) also exist.

A career in Graphic Design – Degree Options

Exploring Academic Paths

Students should have a good understanding of their long- and short-term priorities before enrolling in any post-secondary education program, including whether they are undertaking this degree; the amount of schooling they are willing to undertake; and what they expect. A degree is a way to an end for specific learners: a new profession, a better work, the development of skills. Degree programs are linear, and at schools offering undergraduate qualifications or associate degrees, beginning students can concentrate on developing fundamental skills and learning core visual communication theories. Others may prepare to take on the complete immersion of a four-year baccalaureate degree job required. Professionals also return to school to learn specialised skills, research a new speciality, or develop their crafts.

Overview Of Available Degrees

With each successive stage, the complexity of education and skills growth in graphic design increases. For first-time students, a two-year degree program might be the right way to start. Typically, these degrees offer the lowest tuition rates and are a financially responsible way for some students to gain skills for entry-level positions in the field of graphic design. For individual architecture careers, bachelor’s degree programs are the minimum educational attainment. Students at the master’s degree level concentrate on studio skills and specialist technique creation, project management, and advanced concept theory and applications.

Associate Degrees

The Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees in graphic arts combine the study of arts with general education coursework. To graduate, students must complete 65 credits, which takes almost two years. The degree includes introductory classes in graphic design and a well-rounded curriculum for liberal arts and sciences, converted to a four-year program. Introductory courses in design theory and technology, typography, colour theory, computer graphics, electronic photography, and print/digital processing can be the basis for the first-semester program.

Bachelor’s Degrees

Graphic arts bachelor’s degree programs usually take four years to complete and consist of 120-180 class credit hours, split into general education, core graphic design studies, and electives. From the following degree choices, students can choose:


The BA or BS degree in graphic arts is a well-rounded general degree, offering critical, creative and manufacturing skills to candidates and a graphic design philosophy background.


The BFA program called a technical degree focusses on studio experience and concentrates on the advancement of multimedia design, typography, and motion graphics skills and expertise.

Master’s Degree in Graphic Design

There are two graduate degrees for graphic design majors: the Masters of Arts (MA) and the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA). The MA is an academic and academically advanced degree, while the MFA for graphic designers and associated professions is the pinnacle technical degree. Another difference is that the MA student relies on a unique academic speciality, often in teaching training. In contrast, the MFA student can pursue a wide variety of applications for the expertise and elective areas. Degree qualifications include completing a thesis or analytical analysis for the MA and an innovative dissertation or portfolio for MFA students. Depending on the programs and graphic design colleges, all degrees require two to three years to complete.

Online Graphic Design Schools

Graphic design colleges can offer degrees with the same terminology (AA, BA, MFA), but, based on concentration and faculty experience, there may be a world of difference between each program’s curriculum and academic performance. There is still a dramatic variation of fees, with public universities ringing at the highest end of the price range as the most economical and independent art schools. While cost can be the driving force in online school study, students still need to make sure that their choice of program will be the right fit for their career goals and design emphasis. When evaluating prospective online services, three primary considerations to remember are:

Student Learning Outcomes

Departments of graphic design across the country create and report learning results. Check departmental pages to collect results and predicted abilities for graduating students when reviewing prospective graphic design colleges. Reviewing the complete list of results will show the academic emphasis of each future graphic design school, focusing on the priorities of a curriculum on personal career goals.

Faculty With Graphic Design Expertise and Real-world experience

Schools that offer a career in graphic design usually publish a list of faculty members and their biographies on their college websites. Look to see where the faculty member received their degree, the breadth of their education, their publications, distinctions, prizes, and milestones of study while reading bios. Around the same time, see if advisors and teachers with practical expertise in the area include in the faculty. Individual institutions welcome adjunct or travelling teachers who continue to serve as artists, art directors, publishers, or animators. What is the speciality of the program, and how does this knowledge apply to the faculty? Note, faculty with existing or recent field experience or memberships in active design organisations may enhance internship opportunities and help create networking links.

Student Support

Online graphic design programs can sponsor students with a full variety of materials and facilities for performance. Is there 24/7 connectivity and technological assistance, for instance? Our courses and instructions supported by established instruments, applications, and testing facilities in the industry? Will the Financial Aid Office have sufficient loan, award, or scholarship details and assistance? These questions and more can be covered up by a phone call or email to the admissions team. Make sure to find out about graduation rates, job counselling, and services for jobs or internships.

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