Graphic Design Careers

Graphic designers create visual solutions to solve a client’s communication challenges or meet a target audience’s needs. Those that work at advertising agencies and design firms affect a wide variety of visual media such as print, web and film. Others specialize in areas such as packaging or furniture design. Those who seek a graphic design degree should have a strong interest or background in illustration or fine art, and be able to express ideas through sketching. 25% of graphic designers freelance in addition to their regular salaried position.

Employment Opportunities

Graphic design professionals may work in a variety of environments, including:

  • Advertising agencies
  • Design firms
  • In-house design departments
  • Printing companies
  • Publishing companies


Graphic design professionals need a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Problem-solving
  • Communicating ideas on paper, on the computer and verbally
  • Ability to work within a team
  • An eye for detail, color, proportion
  • Knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite, HTML and CAD

Industry Spotlight

The majority of accredited graphic design schools require students to devote their first year to basic art and design principles, before declaring a major. Schools also require a portfolio showcasing both sketching and computer program knowledge. This is much like the real world: graphic designers secure positions largely because of their portfolios.

- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008