Graphic Design & Multimedia

Ever see a fancy logo for a product and admired its design? What about the logo for that business you passed on the street the other day? Ever wonder who created it?

Graphic artists are the people who create visual concepts,then either sketch them out by hand, or use specialized computer software to design them. Helping consumers to associate a business with a unique logo can help consumers to remember it more easily, increasing chances for repeat business.

Some of the most famous logos were created by graphic artists, including the iconic checkmark logo representing Nike. Other famous logos include the rainbow apple that was created in 1977 and still is used to this day to represent Apple.

By combining creativity, art and technology, graphic artists can make even the plainest logo famous.

Education Requirements

There are a number of degree options available for those interested in a career in the graphic arts. Those who have a natural flair for what is aesthetically pleasing will have an easier time than those who are not;however, most every program available in the graphic arts will teach student show to come up with new and exciting ideas for their designs if that natural ability is lacking.

  • Associate Degree in Graphic Design: This two-year degree is one of the most popular training programs, and is offered by a number of schools in both a traditional classroom setting and online. Students enrolled in an associate degree program can expect to learn the basics about digital imaging, graphic design software, printing and production techniques, web page design and development and creating/managing a portfolio.
  • Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design: This undergraduate degree program will take four years to complete if attending classes on a full-time basis. Students can expect to cover all the basics offered in an associate degree program, while expanding their knowledge in the areas of marketing, publishing and print media. Students will be encouraged to build a solid portfolio, which can be used upon graduation to help secure employment.

There are several graduate degree programs available in graphic design, both in traditional settings and online. Graduate programs focus on management skills, as well as advanced portfolio-building.

When choosing a program, prospective students should look for one that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in order to be guaranteed the coursework is rigorous and relevant and the instructors are top quality.

Sharon Martin, owner of The Wright Impression, has been working as a graphic designer since August 2001. Ms. Martin possesses an associate degree from the former Bradley Academy of York, Pa., which is now The Art Institute.

Ms. Martin said the skills needed to be successful in graphic design are creativity under pressure; the ability to switch gears from design to production; a thirst for challenge; and knowing the basic rules of design and when to break them.

“There are so many avenues for graphic design that I believe you should seek out what you love and go for it,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to learn something new. In fact, seek out every learning opportunity. Fill your portfolio with diversity.”

Future Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for qualified graphic designers is expected to grow by 13 percent until 2020. The pace of growth is average as compared with other professions.

The areas of highest demand for graphic designers will continue to be the printing and publishing industry. The fastest area of grow this anticipated to be that of computer systems design and related services, with 61 percent of all graphic designers possessing jobs in this category.

The median salary for a graphic designer with an undergraduate degree is $43,500.The top 10 percent of earners in the industry are making more than $76,000 annually. 

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