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What is Graphic Design?
Graphic Design is the use of various styles and artistic elements to produce images, fonts and logos that capture the attention of consumers and create an easily recognizable identity for the event, production, product or person being advertised. Graphic design combines various mediums and sensibilities and is used in a variety of fields, including television, magazines, journalism, web layout, book covers, and more; and as such is ubiquitous in its use.
A degree in graphic design prepares an individual with the skills necessary to become a graphic designer, including the essentials of art and design, the history of art, and the ability to communicate ideas visually. Though associate's degrees are available, most entry level jobs require at least a bachelor's degree to begin working. A graphic design curriculum will cover multiple areas of study, and require students to become proficient with computers and the various programs used by the industry. Most graphic design programs require a student to have at least one year of general art education prior to admittance (this requirement can be fulfilled through high school courses).
Most programs take between 3 and 4 years to complete based on the curriculum outlined and whether or not the school is on the trimester system. Students are typically encouraged to partake in shows and seek employment or internship opportunities during their time in school, and many congregate together to bring various talents to a single project. The goal of a graphic design degree is to expose students to a variety of styles and mediums, and train them to view such information and process it commercially, producing aesthetically pleasing and functional designs.
Classes that may be offered in a graphic design programs:
- Studio Art
- Art History
- Computerized Design
- Principles of Design
Employment Opportunities, Certification and Advice
Promotions typically require several years of experience, and Graphic designers must be creative and communicative, as dealing with clients is an important part of the work. Some graphic designers may take up teaching positions while continuing consulting work; others may open their own design firms. Most graphic designers will specialize in a particular area of design.
Courses in specific graphic design related programs, such as After Effects, Illustrator, Draw, and others may lead to certification that demonstrates proficiency with that software. As a graphic designer the more demonstrable skills one has, the better ones chances are of finding work. Graphic design is not limited to two dimensional illustrations, and often requires the use of 3D and other non-traditional forms of design to be incorporated into the complete product. Students and designers both should consider programs that enhance one's knowledge of software and allows them to perform design functions on multiple levels in order to satisfy employer or customer needs.
Additionally, staying abreast of trends in design and technology will also be highly beneficial. The ability to identify and utilize new ideas from various mediums and incorporate them into designs is highly valued, and gives clients the feeling that the graphic designer is capable and creative, two very valuable traits. By looking through periodicals, visiting gallery shows, sifting through art books, and studying advertising, a graphic designer broadens his or her field of knowledge which in turn may allow for longevity in an otherwise highly competitive field.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Fields
Job growth for graphic design is expected to remain steady for the coming years, though there will be higher than average growth for web designers and animators. Promotions typically require several years of experience, and The average salary for a graphic designer is $42,000 per year, with the lowest 10% earning less than 26,000 per year.