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How to Become a Graphic Designer

Is Graphic Design a Good Career?

Ready to start your career in Design? Find out more about BrainStation's UX Design Bootcamp

Graphic design is a great career for people who are creative thinkers and enjoy art, technology, and communication. There are design needs across every industry, so Graphic Designers have many opportunities to take on a range of new and exciting projects. It can also be a very fulfilling career, as Graphic Designers can see the real-world impact of their work.

What Is the Career Outlook for Graphic Designers?

Graphic design is an important marketing tool, so a Designer can add value to many workplaces. However, the demand for Graphic Designers does vary depending on the industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for Graphic Designers in the publishing industry is declining. In computer systems design and related services, however, the need for Graphic Designers is expected to grow as more companies continue to increase their digital presence.

There are also many opportunities for Graphic Designers to branch out into other design fields. Graphic Designers have many transferable skills, which can help them transition into related professions, such as UX/UI design or web development.

Do You Need Experience to Become a Graphic Designer?

Many companies are looking for Graphic Designers with some real-world experience. There are several ways you can gain this experience. While relevant work experience is preferable for many employers, personal projects, volunteer projects, and internships can all showcase your skills.

Most graphic design jobs will require a minimum of one year of experience, though smaller companies tend to be more lenient. If you do not have much experience, a strong portfolio with a range of personal projects can help interest employers. Even as you apply for graphic design jobs, you can start freelancing right away to further build your portfolio.

What Are the Most In-Demand Graphic Design Jobs?

In a survey of more than 17,000 design professionals, the Dribble Global Design Survey found that the most in-demand graphic design jobs in 2019 were Product Designer, Graphic Designer, UX Designer, Illustrator, and Motion Designer.

What Is the Average Salary for a Graphic Designer?

The average Graphic Designer salary can range between $55,000 to $83,250. For those starting in graphic design, the average salary is between $40,000 and $49,000 per year. After more than five years of experience, this range increases to $51,000 to $71,000 per year. Art Directors average $76,600 and Creative Directors average around $110,000 a year.

The average salary also depends on specialization. For example, Web Designers average around $62,000 per year, UI Specialists can make around $81,000 per year and UX Designers earn around $89,000 per year.

How Do You Transition From Graphic Design to UX and UI Design?

To transition from graphic design to UX and UI design, you need to supplement your relevant design skills with UX and UI-specific skills, apply those skills, build a portfolio, and start networking.

A background in graphic design has many transferable skills—for example, attention to detail, creative thinking and problem solving are all useful in UX and UI design as well. To successfully transition to UX and UI design, there are a few steps that Graphic Designers can take.

Learn the Necessary Skills and Tools

While Graphic Designers are already equipped with a strong design background, UI and UX roles require additional skills, such as wireframing, responsive design, and interaction design. You will also want to become familiar with essential tools, like Sketch and InVision.There are many options available to learn UX and UI, such as BrainStation’s bootcamp and certificate programs.

Practice Applying Your New Skills

Once you have the fundamentals, start working on UX and UI projects. Reimagine existing websites and apps, think about how you would make it better and put together a prototype. Consider also working on volunteer projects, which can give you valuable experience and networking opportunities. If you are currently employed as a Graphic Designer, consider taking an active part in the UI and UX design process at work and learn from your colleagues.

Build Your Portfolio

Similar to graphic design, a portfolio is essential when applying for UX and UI jobs. Employers want to see evidence of a job candidate’s skills. Work on personal and volunteer projects to grow your portfolio. You may also want to include your graphic design work to show your range of skills.

Connect and Network

Start making connections as soon as possible. Your network may lead to future opportunities in UX and UI. Get involved in your local UX and UI community, and participate in hackathons to practice your skills and work with other Designers and Developers.

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