Role Basics: What is Graphic Design?
Graphic designers work closely with brand and marketing teams to design brand and marketing materials.
Example Graphic Design projects:
- Create a logo
- Develop the visual elements of a brand system
- Work with marketers to develop collateral (email marketing, sales docs, one-pagers, case studies, landing pages)
- Create designs for a marketing website
- Create icons for use in marketing materials
Common activities in Graphic Design:
- Create design deliverables in a tool like Adobe Creative Suite
- Communicate with design stakeholders, especially in Marketing
- Present design concepts and deliverables
Graphic Design compensation:
Entry jobs pay $40-80K. As in functions like project management, there’s a big difference between compensation and competition depending on whether you work in a tech company or not. Tech jobs are way more competitive but pay much more, too.
Graphic Design career path:
OK or Great (if you’re the best). Graphic designers can transition to product designers, which is a much higher-value career. They can also transition to marketing roles. But the very best graphic designers can focus brand and identity and command huge consulting fees, earning $300-600K or more.
How accessible are Graphic Design jobs?
- Time to learn. You can learn basic design skills in 3+ months and 500+ hours, but only if you have a strong visual and artistic background.
- Selectivity. Selective. But very transparent, so credentials are less important.
- Ease of working remote. Good. Many designers work remotely or as contractors.
Job Requirements: What you need to be competitive for Graphic Design roles?
Key skills for Graphic Design:
- Deep experience with Figma, Adobe creative suite, or another design tool
- Exceptional aesthetic taste
- Great communication skills
Professional background for Graphic Design:
Many designers are trained in design or art. Others are artists and self-taught designers.
Prior accomplishments to be competitive for Graphic Design:
It’s all about your portfolio.
Personal characteristics for success in Graphic Design:
- Obsessed with detail.
- Great taste.
How to prepare for and get a job in Graphic Design?
Projects to learn and prove yourself:
- Learn to use Figma
- Learn the principles and language of graphic design
- Build an icon set
- Bid on design projects in 99 designs, Upwork and Fiverr — especially logo design
- Analyze existing landing pages
- Offer to redesign the landing page / website for a company, nonprofit that you like but has a really bad one
- Create marketing collateral for a small business
- Analyze and redesign existing startup websites to make them more compelling
- Conduct usability testing user interviews on communication graphics to improve your designs