What is a Graphic designer?
As a graphic designer you will be responsible for creating visuals that stand out, for a variety of products and activities including:
- Books and magazines
- Computer games
- Product packaging
- Exhibitions and displays
- Corporate communications
- Corporate identity, i.e. giving organisations a visual brand.
You will have to agree on a brief with your client and from then you will take ownership over developing the creative ideas and concepts that meet the brief and the client’s objectives.
To succeed in this role you will have to be creatively talented and have a genuine passion for industry knowledge and software. You will also need to have the professional capabilities to be able to meet deadlines and budgets.
As a graphic designer you’ll need to:
- Meet clients or account managers to discuss the business objectives and requirements of the job
- Estimate the time required to complete a job and provide quotes for clients
- Develop design briefs that suit the client’s purpose
- Think creatively to produce new ideas and concepts and develop interactive design
- Find innovative ways to redefine a design brief within time and cost constraints
- Present finalised ideas and concepts to clients or account managers
- Work with a range of media, including computer-aided design (CAD), and keep up to date with emerging technologies
- Proofread to produce accurate and high-quality work
- Demonstrate illustrative skills with rough sketches and work on layouts ready for print
- Commission illustrators and photographers
- Work as part of a team with printers, copywriters, photographers, stylists, illustrators, other designers, account executives, web developers and marketing specialists.
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a graphic designer is £27,771. Salaries vary depending on the sector of employment, location and your experience and reputation. The best-paid jobs are usually in London and other large cities. In-house design teams tend to offer higher salaries than design agencies.
- Junior graphic designers can earn between £18,000 to £23,000.
- Once you are more experienced, you can expect to earn up to £27,000
- Salaries for more senior graphic designers can rise to £35,000 to £55,000.
- If you decide to work on a freelance basis you can earn between £200 to £400 a day. You can determine your own salary based on your experience and track record.
Working hours are typically 37 to 40 hours a week, sometimes with some flexibility around start and finish times. It’s likely that you’ll have to work extra hours when deadlines are approaching.
Part-time work opportunities exist but may be hard to find. You’ll need several years’ experience and established professional contacts to become self-employed.
What to expect
- It’s likely you’ll be based in a shared studio or office as some jobs involve working in teams, although you may also work alone on occasions. If you’re a freelancer you could share offices, rent studio space or work from home.
- Design work often involves sitting and working at a computer for long periods of time.
- Job satisfaction comes from creating high-quality artwork, seeing your designs in use and building a reputation.
- Jobs are available in major cities and towns, with advertising agencies predominantly based in London, the South East, Manchester and Leeds. There’s also a demand for British graphic designers internationally with opportunities in Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA, but it’s advisable to work in the UK for a year before seeking work abroad.
- Although work is mostly studio-based, travel within the working day to meet clients may be required. Working away is rare.
must have skills:
Apart from technical and drawing skills, you’ll need to show:
- Passion and enthusiasm for design, with a creative flair
- A flexible approach when working in a team
- Excellent communication skills to interpret and negotiate briefs with clients
- Good presentation skills and the confidence to explain and sell ideas to clients and colleagues
- Time management skills and the ability to cope with several projects at once
- Accuracy and attention to detail when finalising designs
- Being open to feedback and willing to make changes to your designs
- Effective networking skills to build contacts.
Work experience through an internship or a placement opportunity will help bolster your CV. If you do have work experience, getting a reference from your employer as proof of your capabilities will also enhance your application. The most valuable work experience comes from involvement in a live project, along with building a portfolio of your work.
Having your portfolio assessed while at university can be helpful as it will give you the chance to talk confidently about your work, which you’ll need to do at job interviews.
Most learning is on the job, except for formal training in industry-specific software. As a graphic designer, you’ll need to be skilled in using a variety of packages such as:
Some employers fund training courses for you, but if you’re freelance or self-employed you’ll need to organise and pay for training yourself. It’s likely you’ll learn new skills to meet the demands of a particular project.
Most vacancies are within agencies specialising in advertising design but you can also find in-house roles within various businesses and organisations including;
- Computer games companies
- Design groups
- Educational establishments
- Local government
- Multimedia companies
- Packaging industry
Progression is fairly quick, it is possible to climb up the ladder from a junior within two to three years. It’s important that you establish your reputation, network and portfolio in the early stages of your career.
Senior designer roles will be open for you to apply to after approx five years. Unlike other industries, career development will depend on frequent job movement to widen your experience and develop your portfolio. It’s important to carefully consider your career movies and the development opportunities at each stage or opening.
Studying towards a BA (Hons) in International Business sets students up with the necessary skills to work in a range of professions. The course involves working closely with academic theory and practical case studies, allowing students to grasp how the theory can be applied in real business scenarios.
Within this programme, students will cover modules such as business studies, finance, human resource management, marketing, and economics. BA International Business takes a very hands-on approach to learning by incorporating workshops, guest lectures and field trips into the programme.
Other related courses include:
Postgraduate related courses:
The MBA component of the course takes a broad look at business practice and functions such as accounts, finance, and HR – and how they are all interlinked. This allows students to grasp the importance of strategy and communication within a managerial role.
Alongside a broad business view, this course allows students to specialise in digital marketing in a more focused way. The marketing aspect of the programme is intended to allow professionals with substantial digital marketing experience to hone their skills to enhance their career prospects. Areas of study include digital marketing strategy, management, social media marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click, email and influencer marketing.