The field of graphic design deals with effective visual communication for the purpose of designing electronic and print media, such as television graphics, newspaper and magazines advertisements and logos and websites. Graphic designers find employment with design companies, marketing and advertising firms, publishers and websites, to name a few. The field of graphic design is result oriented and graphic designers provide a final product that meets client’s needs.
There are a number of graphic design programs that offer a certificate of completion and Associate’s degrees in graphic design that will enable a designer to find employment for technical support or assistant positions. Graphic design positions that offer project management levels require a Bachelor’s degree.
Students wishing to pursue a graphic design education will have a choice of more than 300 schools accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Some graphic design programs require a student to present a portfolio of sketches and artwork and the completion of a minimum of one year of art and design classes. High school art and design class will usually qualify.
Students will find graphic design programs at two and four year colleges and universities. A certificate and Associate’s degree programs includes class work in the history of graphic design, digital imaging I, typography I, fundamentals of design, graphic design I and web page development.
A bachelors degree program in graphic design education will include class work that encompasses drawing, advanced graphic design, typography II and III, book design, computer aided design, digital media and photography. The program of study will prepare the student with the necessary artistic and technical skills to accept entry level graphic design positions and with experience move up the ladder to project management positions. Class work is heavily geared toward design and liberal arts study.
Bachelor degree Versus Certificate or Associate’s degree
The graphic design education and certificate or degree pursued will be determined by the ultimate goal of the graphic designer. Earning a certificate or Associate’s degree will take about two years to complete. This avenue of education will allow the student into the workforce and accruing experience before the student pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Completing a two year program will give the student the opportunity to work in the graphic design field while completing a higher education, if desired. A certificate or Associate’s degree will allow the graphic designer to assist the project manager with various tasks on a project. An assistant is expected to work unsupervised part of the time, and will generally have no or very little input into the design process and will not interface with the client.
A graphic designer with a Bachelor’s degree will find employment at project manager levels and be responsible for the concept of a design as well as its completion and implementation. The project manager will assign tasks to other staff members and coordinate the effort for the project. Project managers work directly with the client and interpret their instructions for the project.
Graphic design project managers must have the ability to work independently and meet strict deadlines. It is important to have the ability to manage time effectively and efficiently.
Graphic Designer Capabilities
In addition to a formal education, graphic designers must also possess strong artistic and written, visual and verbal communication skills. Graphic Designers are often involved in a broad range of areas including architecture, house design and interior design. For graphic designers who wish to be self employed and work strictly on contract must also have strong sales and business skills. It is important for graphic designers to have strong portfolios showcasing their work and capabilities, especially when interviewing for employment. Graphic designers who pursue independent employment will also need a strong and vibrant portfolio when marketing their skills in the open market.