Graphic Design

Graphic Design Job Options

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For the newly graduated art school major or the non-schooled artist, here’s an overview of some careers you can explore. And not having a college degree when you’re an artist can work for you or against you. It just depends on the employer. Bigger corporate-types generally want a degreed graphic designer but smaller companies and artists hiring artists won’t hold it against you. Just make sure you have a great portfolio that shows off all your different creative sides.

Web Design
This is a growing field, obviously. If companies or individuals don’t have a Web site nowadays, they aren’t going anywhere fast. Most of the jobs here deal with corporations that have large Web sites that have hundreds of pages and needed constant updates or redesigns.

You could also work for a design agency, building templates for Web pages or by building one client’s basic Web site and then never seeing that client again. Some graphic designers create the icons and other elements, like shopping carts, that go on the Web site.

You could work for a design agency, an advertising agency or a PR agency. (The last two are sometimes one in the same.) Working for an agency can give you a lot of work variety. You could build a Web site for one client one week and work on a direct mail postcard for another client the next week. If you have great computer skills, you might also work on videos that incorporate animations or graphic design.

Entertainment Industry
You could work on movies, TV shows or commercial sets – basically anything that has a graphic element in it in Hollywood. You could even work for a movie studio just designing movie posters. You can make the most money in graphic design by going to Hollywood – but can you afford to live there? That’s the question! You could also work for local TV stations in your area, designing graphics for the local news or local TV shows. The salaries, of course, won’t be nearly as high in your area as they are in Hollywood.

Businesses now hire designers to create logos and marketing materials in-house instead of outsourcing to an agency or a freelancer. You could design advertisements, charts and other graphics for business-related reports and company newsletters. A corporate designer might also be in charge of the Web site and any other graphic design needs. You can get a lot of variety here as well since you’ll probably be looked upon as a Jack-of-all-trades.

Books and Magazines
Books and magazines are forms of entertainment, but they’re also corporations, so I’ve put them in their own category. You can design book covers, layout books and draw illustrations for them. You can help layout magazines and even design or redesign a magazine.

You can take on whatever clients you want and set your own rates. However, business can be feast or famine at any time. You’ll need to get some experience under your belt before you can go freelance full time. There’s nothing wrong with freelancing for other companies on your own time while working full time somewhere else. Working freelance means you get to work in whatever medium you like best, whether that is advertising or Web site design.