Louise Horton once summed up the job description of the graphic designer by referring to him or her as the “Architect of the Printed Page” (Horton). Graphic Designers can be credited for the marketing design of every magazine, book, commercial, and poster to ever hit the business world (Horton). However, designers have a bigger goal than to just make pretty artwork for the public to see. The work that a graphic designer does is usually synonymous with propaganda. It is their job to try to make people feel a certain way about an object or topic (Horton). The idea is to put together colors, words, and pictures to represent an idea that can be recognized and remembered by the public easily. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The designer must also be very flexible and willing to take criticism, because when it comes down to it, their design must be what the client wants. Doing research is very important in this field because it must be understood what the goal is and how the client wants their idea portrayed to the public. Nevertheless, this occupation poses a fantastic opportunity to show creativity and originality and that is able to be seen more clearly through the free-lance designer.A free-lancer is someone who works on his or her own terms and is not on anyone’s payroll. They are in charge of accepting their own assignments and must not only be an artist but a businessman as well (Gordon). They can work at their own homes or can obtain a space in an art studio (Horton). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has confirmed that this type of work in the graphic design world has been becoming increasingly popular by stating that in 2010, about thirty percent of all graphic designers were self-employed (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). As with all jobs, free-lancing does have its advantages as disadvantages. An advantage is that free-lancers have an opportunity that most other graphic designers do not, and that is to make an incredible amount of money if they create an extraordinary piece of art. They do not have to share their money with anyone if they make a good sale. (Gordon). Another advantage is that there is no one telling them what they have to create, no one is holding them back from their possible success. They are in charge of their own reputation, may it be good or bad (Gordon). A disadvantage is that there can be long stretches of time where business cannot be found, and that can cause some free-lancers to have to work more than one job (Gordon). Free Lance is very risky and most people prefer a job with a guaranteed, steady, income than the insecurity of free-lance (Gordon).
Whether working on one’s own, or involved with a business, it is very important to have the proper experience before setting out for a job. Art classes would be a good place to start during high school, but the majority of the experience needed will be obtained during college. The first year of college should include basic art and usage of materials such as pencil, pen, ink, and oil. The second year of college should be more concerned with the designing rather than drawing and painting. Perspective, lettering, anatomy, and photography should be among the topics. In a third year of college, more focus is in the advertising and marketing area. Film, consumer psychology, and Communications are stressed (Horton). Being able to communicate verbally, visually, and in writing with the client is important so it is easy to know what he or she is looking for and take their criticism (Johnston).
To enter the field of graphic design, a Bachelor’s degree is required, and at least one year of art and design courses are suggested to even consider hiring. These courses can be found at the roughly three hundred schools that have been approved by the national association of Schools of art and Design in the United States. Typography, drawing, computer-assisted design, book design, advanced graphic design, digital media, and photography are all courses that may be included in a four-year degree program for a Bachelor’s degree (Johnston). Finally, at the end of college, a portfolio should be made and reviewed by a professor to give to future employers (Horton). Graphic Design is a very competitive field and it is hard to get into it without a talent that stands out from others and the right education (Horton).
The salary of a graphic designer will vary according to their amount of experience. Salaries for beginners with only high school art training usually are usually between $80 and $85 a week. Two years of professional art training can raise salary to $90 a week, and four years can result in $100 a week or more (Horton). In 2010, the average yearly pay for a graphic designer was $43,500, or $20.92 per hour (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Free-lancers do not have the security of an employed graphic designer and must plan their schedules carefully according to how much they plan to make. When they stop working, they stop getting paid.
The field of graphic design is abundant with opportunities. Many companies need or enjoy having a person working with them that can convey their ideas to the public (Horton).
Beginning designers usually start out in a graphic design studio where they can be introduced to a variety of jobs that fall under graphic design (Gordon). When first starting out in one of these studios or at the actual job, graphic designers do smaller-scale work such as retouching photos or preparing artwork to be printed. They usually also have the opportunity to study the boss. Designers that have been in the studio longer may be responsible for designing a whole package for a client and work with other top designers for a single client (Horton). Studios are also usually responsible for composing an annual report of the company that presents its earnings, holdings, and product line. These are usually accompanied by layouts, photographs, charts, graphs, and mechanics (Gordon). An art department consists of a paste up or mechanical specialist, art director, creative designer, and a group supervisor. The paste up or mechanical specialist produces the final product, making sure it is camera ready. The art director is the many-talented worker that contributes in every part of the project. The creative designer plans the project and works everything out with the client. The group supervisor picks out the color and typography of the design (Horton).
Because of the ever-changing world, different areas in graphic design are seeing an increase in positions. Advertising and electronic design firms should see the largest increase in job opportunities (Johnston). Packaging is also becoming a popular field in graphic design because of the increase in marketing goods at supermarkets and other merchandisers (Gordon). Contrarily, print publishing is expected to see a decline (Johnston). Overall, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be a 13% increase in employment of graphic designers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
In Graphic Design, it is all about choosing the area that fits you best. A Graphic Designer at the University of Illinois, Becky Ponder said, “A job that just focuses on design, rather than communications, and marketing can be more interesting but will require more work.” One person could really shine in the artistic side of the job while another excels in the marketing area. No matter what section of the field is being stressed, one thing is for sure. Whether work is done individually or with a design firm, there are always new and exciting opportunities.