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How to Become a Graphic Designer

The Professional Association for Design defines the field of graphic design as “the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.” In a nutshell, graphic designers create the eye-catching images that define the world around us using a variety of multimedia resources.

Designers don’t just have an artistic penchant or superior computer skills, they have an eye for detail, a keen sense of observation and a love of all things beautiful.

Most employers require you to have at least a bachelor’s level online graphic design degree for entry level jobs. The most common online graphic design degrees are Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts, and the actual title of each school’s design program varies.

How to Become a Graphic Designer with an online graphic design degree

The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median salary for a graphic designer as $44,150 per year, or $21.22 per hour, as of 2012. The most recent information on glassdoor.com lists the average national graphic designer salary as $46,196 per year.

What is a Graphic Designer?

Designers love concepts and objects, messages and experiences and are infinitely curious about how messages and objects work, what they do or could look like and what they mean. Designers constantly observe, analyze and wonder. They look for ways to improve on existing images and messages and, like many of us who want to excel in our craft, ways to make the otherwise mundane come to life.

If you can look past the technical to the verbal, conceptual and visual side of things, you will likely do well as a designer.

It is important to keep in mind that designers are lifelong learners. As technology and the culture and trends of mass media change, designers must adapt. That means you should continuously stay abreast of the latest methods, techniques and tools of the trade.

As a designer, you will hone your craft through creating designs and using the constructive criticism of peers, professors and employers to make those designs better. Practice makes perfect, and the ability to accept and learn from criticism from peers and even the consumer at large are crucial for success in this field.

More specialized graphic design careers include:
  • Computer animation
  • Video game design
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Interior design
  • Production design
  • Illustration
  • 3D animation