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Graphic designer jobs?
January 12, 2012 10:31PM
Graphic designers design the visuals and typography for advertisements, posters, web sites and point-of-purchase materials such as restaurant menus. Some call their work "visual communications," since graphic designers convey messages visually, rather than through words. Some graphic designers who work for advertising agencies create commercials through drawing storyboards. Designers are also employed with independent graphic design studios, computer software manufacturers, printers, publishers, newspapers or large companies with in-house art departments. In addition to working directly for a company, graphic designers can choose to do freelance work for clients, either as their primary job or in a moonlighting capacity.
A graphic designer can advance to become an art director who creates the concepts and oversees a small group of staff designers. In advertising agencies, an art director can advance to the level of creative director, who comes up with both art and copywriting concepts.
The most important keys to getting a job in graphic design are the quality of the applicant's portfolio, work experience and technical expertise. A college degree helps, but a four-year degree is not always required. Applicants who are sure they want to go into graphic design can choose a focused program that teaches only graphic design. Any graphic design coursework must include instruction in computer graphics since doing layout and design manually is no longer done. A good way to choose a program is to talk to art directors in the field and ask them which programs have the best reputation.
Graphic design is an intensely competitive field, and internships help applicants gain necessary work experience. In addition to internships, smart students seek freelance assignments that will boost their portfolio. Portfolios made up of work for actual clients are much more professional than assignments created for school projects.
The average salary for graphic designers is $43,500. The average starting salary is $26,200. Art directors make more money than graphic designers, and creative directors typically make over twice the salary of a staff designer. Freelance graphic designers can typically charge more per hour than the average staff artist, but they must also purchase their own health insurance.