Home > The Arts > How to Become a Graphic Designer

How to Become a Graphic Designer

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 26 Jul 2011 | comments*Discuss
Graphic Designer Working Media Salary

Working as a graphic designer is an exciting, creative and well-paid career when you are successful. It can be terribly frustrating and lonely, however, when you lose a pitch or are working long hours by yourself.

In order to be a successful graphic designer, you need to be passionate about your creativity and highly skilled. It’s a very competitive industry, so it’s not a career to just ‘have a go’ at; you must be determined to succeed because everyone in the industry is talented, creative and keen to achieve their goals.

Types of Jobs Available

As an employed graphic designer, you can work in-house for a design agency, advertising agency or large corporation with a design department. Many graphic designers Choose To Go Freelance, especially in London or other cities with a lot of design opportunities. Some also choose to be self-employed with their own company, specialising in particular areas of graphic design (such as corporate branding or advertising) or joining forces with other designers to offer a more rounded service.

There are graphic design roles that encompass a range of media, or those which specialise in a certain area, such as print media, Online Digital Design or direct marketing. The terms ‘above the line’, ‘below the line’ and ‘through the line’ are often used in recruitment for graphic designers and relate to mass media (TV adverting for example), non-media communication (product branding) or a mixture of both respectively.

Salary Expectations

The salary earned by graphic designers can vary enormously. Starting out as a freelance or self-employed graphic designer can be a long, up-hill struggle to gain clients and win pitches, so there is no upper or lower limit to your earning potential. As an employed graphic designer, you can expect to earn a starting salary of around £20,000 in a design agency and slightly more in a corporation, with a designer with five years experience earning around £30,000. A Trusted Freelancer can charge around £25-£40 per hour, depending on experience.

Skills Required

The skills required to become a graphic designer go way beyond good drawing skills and creativity. It must be assumed that you have excellent ideas, strong design skills and the ability to draw (on paper and on the computer). Above and beyond creative skills, you need to be able to pitch your ideas eloquently, represent your company at client meetings, be able to work in a team (especially as a successful freelancer) and be totally professional. If you are self-employed, you must be confident enough to network, follow up leads and win business.

There is a vast array of computer packages used by graphic designers and it is often the most specialised that can help set you apart from the competition. It is generally expected that a graphic designer will know at least some of the most common packages, such as Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Dreamweaver, with many designers working on a Mac as well as a PC, allowing them to integrate with clients’ demands and/or a range of studios.

A Career as Graphic Artist

If you have a passion and talent for Art And Illustration, you could turn it into a successful career. Find out more in our article in The Arts Category of this site.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hi SHUG. You can do a degree in this area, (in some universities it's referred to as creative technology), but you could also choose a straight graphic design degree and opt to major in film. Getting work is more a process of getting a foot in the door, so you may have to do voluntary work to gain experience. Take a look here:Working in TV and Film
ACareerChange - 23-May-11 @ 11:13 AM
What qualifications do you need to be a graphic designer for films?
SHUG - 20-May-11 @ 4:18 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Pogelswood
    Re: Becoming a Teacher or Teaching Assistant
    I have a degree, BAhons in early years teaching and am looking at becoming a TA. Do I need to undergo any further…
    14 January 2020
  • alihon
    Re: Becoming a Mechanic
    I work in an FE college and I would like to highlight the fact that the advice given here is not correct. There are very few colleges which…
    7 January 2020
  • ferrari
    Re: Becoming a Mechanic
    im 13 and thinking that mechanics is where i want to go, but im not sure what gcse`s to take could anyone help please
    4 December 2019
  • Catalina
    Re: Changing Career to Become a Social Worker
    Hi I'm a RGN,I'm working for four years in a nursing home and I'm looking for a change in Social Worker. What do…
    7 November 2019
  • Anu
    Re: Becoming a Mechanic
    Hi, I am a graduate of physic with electronics and am 22 and i want to be a mechanic. I interned as a mechanic in a car company but now i want…
    5 November 2019
  • Sunnygill19
    Re: Becoming a Social Worker
    Hi Thinking about totally changing career path and becoming a social worker. I currently have an hnc in business administration with…
    21 September 2019
  • Lou
    Re: Becoming a Painter and Decorator
    Hi, I am a 31 years old Chef who is looking for a career change into the painting decorator industry. I always been painting…
    10 September 2019
  • Woody
    Re: Becoming a Mechanic
    Hi I'm 28 and work full time nights in a job I want to get out of and would like to study/train to become a motor mechanic. How would I go…
    2 September 2019
  • Abbyf38
    Re: Becoming a Social Worker
    Hi! I’ve been a primary school teacher for 21 years (BEd Primary Studies 2:1) and have always had a burning desire to train/work as a…
    9 August 2019
  • Chantelle
    Re: Training to Become a Midwife
    Hi, I’m 29 years old. I’m currently a bar maid and part time nail technician and a mother of 3. My highest qualifications are 2…
    8 August 2019