What Does A Graphic Designer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Graphic Designers

Graphic Designers design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.

Salary
$58370
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Graphic Designers design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.

  • Determine size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy and select style and size of type.
  • Confer with clients to discuss and determine layout design.
  • Create designs, concepts, and sample layouts, based on knowledge of layout principles and esthetic design concepts.
  • Develop graphics and layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and Web sites.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Graphic Designers use computer software to generate new images. They key information into computer equipment to create layouts for client or supervisor.

A typical day for a Graphic Designer will also include:

  • Determine size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy and select style and size of type.
  • Create designs, concepts, and sample layouts, based on knowledge of layout principles and esthetic design concepts.
  • Review final layouts and suggest improvements as needed.
  • Develop graphics and layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and Web sites.
  • Prepare notes and instructions for workers who assemble and prepare final layouts for printing.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Graphic Designers also confer with clients to discuss and determine layout design. They may also study illustrations and photographs to plan the presentation of materials, products, or services.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Graphic Designers maintain an archive of images, photos, or previous work products. They might also research new software or design concepts.

In addition, they draw and print charts, graphs, illustrations, and other artwork, using a computer.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them mark up, paste, and assemble final layouts to prepare layouts for the printer.

To some Graphic Designers, it is also their responsibility to prepare notes and instructions for workers who assemble and prepare final layouts for printing.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
4%

Limited freedom
23%

Some freedom
46%

A lot of freedom
27%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
19%

Some freedom
50%

A lot of freedom
31%

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

Low

64% said they were satisfied with their job and 34% said they found their job meaningful.


CustomVinylGraphics.com

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Freelance

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Instructor Brandon

I am a communications designer. We express information through visuals. Communication designers are especially adept at marketing design on both digital and print mediums. As the lead designer, I’ve built a specialty in infographics and data visualization also. Infographics involve high visuals and typography to bring facts to users. Design for a dashboard solution for … Read More


Self-employed

I am a self-employed graphic designer. Designing is obviously a creative job, but being a freelancer/business owner requires structure and routine. I wake up early every morning, fuel up with breakfast and coffee, feed my dogs and ideally get to work by 8am. I use a digital project management system to help me stay organized … Read More


Rogue Print and Mail

I’m a graphic and web designer working across print, web, digital. In particular, I design websites, logos, branding, print collateral. I divide my time between in-house and client work – this means I produce design work to market our own company (in-house) and also produce designs for our clients. This can include: Quoting for new … Read More


A very large Fortune 500 foodservice provider

I’m a graphic designer that designs logos, websites, and supporting graphics for multi-million dollar sales presentations. I graduated with a BFA with an emphasis in graphic design in 1996 and have been a professional designer ever since. I typically respond to emails in the morning and potentially put out a few small fires. Graphic edits … Read More


Self-employed

I am a graphic designer, working across motion graphics, textile design, and branding. I previously worked as an agency packaging designer with brands such as Nescafe and Johnnie Walker and Cadbury’s. I now run my own Art and Design agency. My typical day Very early mornings (5am) are my time for exercise and learning. Whilst … Read More


My name is June and I’m a graphic designer. As a graphic designer, I spend most of my time on design software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Fixing photos, creating logos, posters, changing sizes of artwork, presenting my work to clients are my daily work routine. I would say what takes most of … Read More


A baseball venue

I worked for a baseball venue as a graphic designer in the Chicagoland area back in 2016. My typical day was a 9-5 of preparing for the actual games that would happen in the evening. I would prepare graphics for the video board, print flyers for upcoming venue events, and any other prep work needed … Read More


Leave It to ’Berta

It can be rewarding, but it’s a balancing act. What I mean by that is it’s about creating beautiful work, but it’s not fine art. You have to recognize the balance between creating something attractive and functional for your client and the fact that it’s not something you do for self-expression – you’re there to … Read More


CATALINA

I’ve been a graphic designer for 2 years now with a 19-year-old magazine, CATALINA. It’s in print and in a digital, interactive version. Being a graphic designer means I get to transform a white space into functional art for others to enjoy. I get to fill space with something beautiful. When you’re impressed by your … Read More


Paper Lime Creative

My name is Katie Dooley and I am the owner and lead designer of Paper Lime Creative, a boutique graphic design and branding studio in Edmonton, Canada. I have been in the graphic design industry for 9 years and I can’t imagine doing anything else. What’s it like being a graphic designer? Let me tell … Read More


Lakazdi

For me being a graphic designer is me having my dream job. Ever since I was a child I always tweaked and formatted my assignments and have never stopped. I design business and documents. I say the more pages the better. I get to be in the zone. It is soothing for my methodical, systematic … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to work with designs.

Suitable for people who value achievements and are results-oriented.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Demand for this career is growing.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

Salary is below average.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

How much do they make

Average salary

$58370 per year

Average hourly wage

$28 per hour

Entry-level Graphic Designers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $31,720 to $40,160 per year or $15 to $19 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $93,440 $45
Senior (Top 25%) $71,310 $34
Median $53,380 $26
Junior (Bottom 25%) $40,160 $19
No experience (Bottom 10%) $31,720 $15

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Graphic Designers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Federal Executive Branch $88090 $42.35
Software Publishers $81610 $39.23
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $80000 $38.46
Legal Services $77790 $37.40
Cable and Other Subscription Programming $77090 $37.06
Nondepository Credit Intermediation $74980 $36.05
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories $74830 $35.97
Scientific Research and Development Services $73640 $35.41
Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing $73060 $35.13
Individual and Family Services $72990 $35.09

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Graphic Designers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Graphic Designers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Specialized Design Services 24260 $59670 $28.69
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services 20430 $60330 $29.00
Printing and Related Support Activities 17400 $45770 $22.01
Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers 11820 $50010 $24.04
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 10790 $62180 $29.90
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing 8440 $46770 $22.48
Management of Companies and Enterprises 8310 $66240 $31.85
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 6800 $65890 $31.68
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses 4530 $58820 $28.28
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 3940 $54490 $26.20

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
0%

40 hours
64%

More than 40 hours
36%

Working schedule

62%

38%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
4%

Fairly important
0%

Important
15%

Very important
35%

Extremely important
46%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
12%

Fairly important
19%

Important
42%

Very important
12%

Extremely important
15%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
8%

Fairly important
27%

Important
46%

Very important
15%

Extremely important
4%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
23%

Every day
69%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
23%

Every day
69%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
12%

Once a year
50%

Once a month
35%

Once a week
4%

Every day
0%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
19%

Once a year
27%

Once a month
46%

Once a week
4%

Every day
4%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
15%

Once a year
65%

Once a month
15%

Once a week
0%

Every day
4%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
100%

Once a year
0%

Once a month
0%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
0%

Slightly competitive
4%

Moderately competitive
19%

Highly competitive
62%

Extremely competitive
15%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
12%

Fairly important
15%

Important
15%

Very Important
35%

Extremely Important
23%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
12%

Minor impact
19%

Moderate impact
12%

Important impact
46%

Very important impact
12%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
12%

Once a year
28%

Once a month
4%

Once a week
24%

Every day
32%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
58%

Limited responsibility
23%

Moderate responsibility
15%

High responsibility
4%

Very high responsibility
0%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
12%

Limited responsibility
42%

Moderate responsibility
8%

High responsibility
31%

Very high responsibility
8%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
19%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
77%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
65%

Once a year or more
23%

Once a month or more
12%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
69%

Once a year or more
23%

Once a month or more
8%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
73%

Once a year or more
27%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
4%

Post-Secondary Certificate
8%

Some College Courses
8%

Associate’s Degree or similar
15%

Bachelor’s Degree
62%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
4%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Digital Arts

A general, undifferentiated program that focuses on the use of computerized digital images as the primary medium of expression in the visual and performing arts, and that may prepare individuals for a wide variety of careers using new media, including graphic design, digital animation, motion graphics, 3D visualization, game and interactive media design, music and sound design, video production, web design, photography, and other fields.

Design and Visual Communications

A program in the applied visual arts that focuses on the general principles and techniques for effectively communicating ideas and information, and packaging products, in digital and other formats to business and consumer audiences, and that may prepare individuals in any of the applied art media.

Commercial and Advertising Art

A program in the applied visual arts that prepares individuals to use artistic techniques to effectively communicate ideas and information to business and consumer audiences via illustrations and other forms of digital or printed media. Includes instruction in concept design, layout, paste-up, and techniques such as engraving, etching, silkscreen, lithography, offset, drawing and cartooning, painting, collage, and computer graphics.


Industrial and Product Design

A program in the applied visual arts that prepares individuals to use artistic techniques to effectively communicate ideas and information to business and consumer audiences via the creation of effective forms, shapes, and packaging for manufactured products. Includes instruction in designing in a wide variety of plastic and digital media, prototype construction, design development and refinement, principles of cost saving, and product structure and performance criteria relevant to aesthetic design parameters.

Graphic Design

A program that prepares individuals to apply artistic and computer techniques to the interpretation of technical and commercial concepts. Includes instruction in computer-assisted art and design, printmaking, concepts sketching, technical drawing, color theory, imaging, studio technique, still and life modeling, multimedia applications, communication skills and commercial art business operations.

Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design

A program that prepares individuals to apply HTML, CSS, XML, JavaScript, graphics applications, and other authoring tools to the design, editing, and publishing (launching) of documents, images, graphics, sound, and multimedia products on the World Wide Web. Includes instruction in Internet theory, web page standards and policies, elements of web page design, user interfaces, vector tools, special effects, interactive and multimedia components, search engines, navigation, morphing, e-commerce tools, and emerging web technologies.


Computer Graphics

A program that focuses on the software, hardware, and mathematical tools used to represent, display, and manipulate topological, two-, and three-dimensional objects on a computer screen and that prepares individuals to function as computer graphics specialists. Includes instruction in graphics software and systems; digital multimedia; graphic design; graphics devices, processors, and standards; attributes and transformations; projections; surface identification and rendering; color theory and application; and applicable geometry and algorithms.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
4%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
4%

6 months to 1 year
31%

1 to 2 years
19%

2 to 4 years
23%

4 to 6 years
4%

6 to 8 years
12%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
8%

1 month
31%

1 to 3 months
35%

3 to 6 months
15%

6 months to 1 year
0%

1 to 2 years
12%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

The Builder
62%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
24%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
100%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
29%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
62%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
33%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
81%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
64%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
67%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
57%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
57%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
76%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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