Career as a Graphic Designer – a complete guide!


Everyone is familiar with the term graphic designer, but it is a much broader term or rather a profile than it actually means. The range of careers one can pursue after earning a graphic design degree is one of the wonderful features of studying graphic design.

Graphic designers work on the websites you browse, the commercials you see, the movies you watch, the games you play, and the logos and packaging of products you purchase.

Since graphic designers blend art and technology, they also need to have skills in design software and design principles. While an eye for design isn’t something that can be taught, most graphic designers have pursued art or design school to get to where they are now in their careers.

Careers in graphic design can be financially rewarding along with stimulating and enjoyable. But you need the correct set of talents and deep knowledge of designing software if you want to succeed as a graphic designer.

So, in this blog, we will discuss the basics of graphic designing as well as how to advance your career as a graphic designer.

What does a Graphic Designer do?

  • The first step for a graphic designer is to understand the client’s briefs and identify their requirements in terms of their target audience. Thus, it is not always about creating something creative. It has to serve the needs of the client.
Graphic designers will also have to face situations like these! Sad, but real!
Graphic designers will also have to face situations like these! Sad, but real! Source
  • The next step is to create designs using software like illustration, photo editing, adobe photoshop, and layout. Designs here might mean any of the following: a company logo, website deck, signage, digital flyers, magazine covers, product packaging, book covers, advertisements, social media posts, etc. 
  • Usually, the creative process involves sketching out a rough draft of the ideas and then trying them out digitally. The client is then provided with multiple formats created to check which one fits their requirements. Based on their feedback further revisions are made.
  • In such drafts, the colours, images, layout, typography, shapes, textures, etc. are selected depending on the first call the graphic designer has with the client or the brief provided. 
  • Meanwhile, Graphic Designers collaborate with other departments like marketing, sales, business operations, etc regularly. This is because, for an in-house Graphic designer, these are usually their clients. For instance, if the marketing department is coming up with a campaign to promote a product, then it is the Graphic designer who will be helping them create those banners, posters and social media posts for engaging their customers.
  • In all, graphic designers do more than just design. They research, understand, communicate, collaborate and continue their learning process to be up-to-date with design trends, tools, and techniques.
Graphic designing meme!
Don’t be disheartened. Though the expectations don’t meet the reality, it will be a Eureka moment for you when an idea strikes on the toilet seat. And trust me, revisions are what will improve your designs. Source

 What are the job roles for a career as a graphic designer?

  • Creative Director:
    Determines a project’s creative vision. A creative director also sees through other abstracts such as an advertising campaign or the identity of the brand.
  • Production Artist:
    Handles the hands-on aspects of a project, whether it’s in graphics, cinema, art, or another medium.
  • Visual Image Developer:
    Uses 3D modelling, photography, and image manipulation to create images and designs.
  • UI Designer:
    Are duly focused on the layout of the product. They create an interface ensuring that the layout compliments the overall path mapped by the UX designer.
  • Art Director:
    The art director controls the look and content of publications, newspapers, product packaging, and film and television shows.
  • Product Developer:
    Product development professionals are frequently enlisted by businesses to create unique goods that will provide them with a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Animator:
    Animators specialize in 2D and 3D modelling, stop-frame animation, and computer-generated animation.
  • Logo Designer:
    To represent a firm, product, brand, or service, logo designers create visually appealing designs or symbols.
  • Web Designer:
    Web designers contribute to the development of websites by producing individual web pages, designing page layouts, and creating website images.
  • Broadcast Designer:
    Create visual designs and electronic material for use in television production

Career Paths to becoming a Graphic Designer

You can become a graphic designer after selecting any subject in your tenth or twelfth grade. However, specialised certificate programs, certifications, or a degree in graphic design will pave the path for developing the necessary skills.

Thus, there are various kinds of degrees that you can pursue:

PATH 1: Bachelor’s in design (B.Des):
It is a full-time four-year course offered in various specialisations like interior designing, fashion designing, graphic designing, VFX designing, Textile designing, etc. Anyone who has passed 10+12th is eligible for their admission process. One can also opt for an M.Des in graphic design to further refine their knowledge and skills. 

PATH 2: B.Sc in Graphic Designing:
It is a three-year course divided into six semesters that develops designing skills relevant to the print, packaging, education, and advertising industries.

PATH 3: B.A. in Graphic Design:
This is a 3-year undergraduate course that includes topics like colour theory, typography, and layout, and focuses on design principles like contrast, balance, rhythm, movement, etc. 

Sad reality about pursuing a degree in graphic designing.
Just some fun conversation about your degree! Source

PATH 4: Diploma Courses
For those who desire to get a degree in graphic design and start working sooner, a diploma in graphic design courses is a professional training program. Most graphic design diploma courses are offered online by reputable universities.

Usually, a bachelor’s degree is enough for you to get a job as a graphic designer since your portfolio matters more than the degree. However, you can choose to pursue higher education. To get more information on graphic designing, you can check out our blog on How to become a Graphic Designer.

Salary in different stages of a career as a Graphic Designer

A graphic designer’s salary is dependent on the experience and sector of the industry they work in. The highest average annual salary received by a graphic designer in India is found to be around ₹ 15 lakhs who have been working for more than 15 years.

salary insights about being a graphic designer.

A Graphic Designer at entry-level with under a year of experience can anticipate making an average total salary of ₹ 2 lakhs per year. An entry-level graphic designer with 1-4 years of experience makes, on average, ₹ 2.5 to 3.5 lakhs a year in total compensation. Freelancing is also one of the options that many graphic designers choose to do, instead of being employed at a single company.

Skills required for a career as a graphic designer

To succeed in a graphic design profession, you may need a variety of soft skills and technical abilities.

Soft skills required for a career as a graphic designer –

Basic graphic design principles
These are some of the basic design principles that you should be aware of. Source
  • Strategy:
    They should undertake market research, brainstorm, generate ideas and thumbnail designs, and evaluate them.
  • Design Principles:
    To develop aesthetically appealing and well-structured designs, graphic designers must understand how to combine lines, colour, shape, typography, space, texture and size, to convey their intended message.
  • Time management:
    Strong multitasking abilities can assist graphic designers to complete all of their assignments on time when they have multiple projects that are due on the same day.
  • Creativity:
    Graphic designers must use a lot of creativity to produce designs by experimenting with several prototypes.

Technical Skills required for a career as a graphic designer

  • Ideation:
    Research, development, evaluation, and application are involved in ideation. Thumbnails are quick rough sketches that are an approximate representation of the layout of the design.
  • Typography:
    The typography serves the purpose of communicating the meaning and invoking feelings. Thus, selecting the right font is important and will depend on how the organisation wants to do the branding. 
  • Technology:
    The most significant aspect of graphic design is to design in a way that has the intended impact by mastering graphic design software. Some of the most prominent ones include Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and Sketch.

Is a career as a Graphic Designer a good option?

Memes for a graphic designer!
Though the industry has a lot of growth potential, be ready to face criticism from individuals around you who have no idea about graphic design. Source

Graphic design is one of the most popular careers these days, with many people with creative qualities and talents pursuing it. If you believe you possess the ability and imagination to succeed, you should go for it.

For those with imaginative thinking skills who appreciate art, technology, and communication, graphic design is a noble career. Graphic designers have many opportunities to work on a variety of new and fascinating projects.

There will eventually be more job opportunities in the graphic design industry with many new startups and their requirements for logos, websites, and other design materials. 

However, opportunities for employment for graphic designers are expected to grow by 3% from 2020 to 2030.

Types of industries hiring Graphic Designers

Graphic design is regarded as a branch of the management, animation, and programming industries. It belongs to the Multimedia and Web Technology sectors as well. There are several industries that employ graphic designers. Students who seek education as graphic designers have a variety of professional options.

  • Publishing – The layout is designed to make the content eye-catching and easy to read.
  • Manufacturing – Graphic designers can develop the look of product packaging.
  • Advertising – Visual illustrations and animations are designed to seamlessly combine text and images.
  • Design Service – Other than working for ads and publishing industries graphic designers can also work for specialized design services.
  • Computer Systems Design – Graphic designers involved in computer system layouts develop website layouts and digital media.

Top recruiters in India 

  • VerveLogic:
    One of the top brands in the web development and web designing fields, the business has its headquarters in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
  • Quick Radius :
    They are renowned for producing presentations, infographics, and humorous Gifs following the demands and specifications of their clients.
  • Communication Crafts
    Communication Crafts is the preeminent branding and advertising agency headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat that develops websites, mobile applications, and much more.
  • StudioTale
    StudioTale does have some extremely amazing graphic production skills and has its headquarters in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • Universal Disignovation Lab
    One of the companies that have been dominating the graphic design market with their effective team of professionals.

Courses to Upskill as a Graphic Designer

Graphic designing as a career requires an aptitude for art and creativity. However, there are also certain courses that will help you make yourself skilled. Here are a few of them that you can check out:

Certificate Courses Duration 
Graphic Design Foundations: Layout and Composition 2 Hours 3 Mins 
Graphic Design 3-6 months 
Intro to Graphic Design with Photoshop 1.0 hours of video content 
Google UX Design 3-6 Months 
Graphic Design Foundations: Typography 2 hours 23 mins 
Fundamental of Graphic Design 1-3 Months 
Graphic Design Elements for non-designers 3-6 Months 
Colours for design and art 1 Hour 45 mins 

Clever Harvey’s JuniorMBA in Design&Branding provides crucial creative skills in graphic design by providing industry exposure with brands like Kellogs.

Qualifications to become a Graphic Designer

Degrees in India

Many academic institutions in India offer top-tier design courses with a variety of program and timetable alternatives. Students have the option of enrolling in graphic design-related courses including BDes, MDes, and Diploma.

A) UG Degrees:

Some prominent UG degrees to have a career as a graphic designer are – 

Bachelor of Design – Graphic Design, BDes Product.4 years
B.Sc in Animation and Multimedia3 years
Bachelor of Design, Industrial Design Centre4 years
Diploma in 2D & 3D Animation6 – 12 months

B) PG Degrees:

Some of the higher study options in India are:

M.A Graphic Design2 years
M.Design Graphic Design2.5 years
PGD Graphic Design1 year
PGD Motion Graphics Design2 years

Degrees Abroad

Make sure you gain a competitive edge by enrolling in one of the top graphic design schools globally if you’re graduating from high school and want to take the next step in establishing a career as a graphic designer. Some of the bachelor’s degrees that you can check out include:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • BA Hons (Illustrator)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • BA Hons (Fine Arts)
  • BA Architecture
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (Illustrator, Product Design)
There will be moments like these! But control Uday!
There will be moments like these! But control Uday! Source

Additionally, you can also go for Master’s courses abroad in order to upskill yourself. Some of the options include:

  • Master of Design
  • MA Design Management
  • Master of Communication Design
  • Master of Interaction Design

Entry into these courses will require you to give language proficiency test scores of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SATs, etc along with an SOP (Statement of Purpose) and LORs (Letter of Recommendation). Want some help with SATs? We have got you covered. Read this blog to know more!

Want to know more? Check these out:

Blogs for pursuing a career in graphic designing

There are blogs now if you want to view the most recent design work, learn who developed it, what the obstacles were, and how they overcome them.

  • Creative Boom
  • Abduzeedo
  • Typewolf
  • Friends of Type
  • Mirador
  • Eye magazine

There are a number of books that be read for starting a career as a graphic designer, which can be helpful

  • Just my Type (Typography)
  • How To (Fundamentals of Graphic Designing)
  • Interaction of Color
  • Designing Brand Identity (Guide for branding team)
  • Graphic Design Visionaries (Inspiring Designers)

Graphic designers majorly use designing software for creating digital design, therefore mastering the essential skills and software is more important to succeed as the best designer.

You understand the value of a tidy, uncluttered layout as a graphic designer when it comes to grabbing someone’s attention. Learning the abilities you can apply at work may be helpful for you if you are interested in pursuing a career as a graphic designer.

FAQs- Frequently asked questions about the Career as a Graphic designer

Is Graphic Designing a good career?

Graphic design is an excellent career choice for students who appreciate art, technology, and communication. Graphic designers have many opportunities to work on a variety of new and fascinating projects because the design is needed in every business.

What jobs can a graphic designer get?

Some of the careers in which a graphic designer can be employed are –
Production Artist
Creative Directive
Art Director
Product Developer
UX Designer
UI Designer
Web Designer
Logo Designer
Advertising Designer

Is it hard to get a job as a graphic designer?

Yes, particularly in the initial stage of your career. Because the competition might be fierce, you should never stop studying, practising, and improving. 

Which type of graphic design is most demand?

Animator & Motion Graphic Designer. The entertainment industry, startups, marketing firms, and creative agencies, as well as digital journalism organizations, e-commerce platforms, and automotive, are the industries where they are in high demand.

What qualifications do I need to be a graphic designer?

You can enrol in a Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Design program to pursue a career in graphic design. These programs help students to gain the needed entry-level technical and artistic skills. These are four-year programs after completing 10+2 or equivalent grades.

Is coding necessary for graphic design?

Most projects don’t necessitate coding experience, but they do necessitate a thorough understanding of graphic design applications and scripting languages like Python and JavaScript. However, to develop websites and apps, you will need some basic coding knowledge. Therefore, you can start by learning HTML and CSS in this situation.

Is math required for graphic design?

Math is a requirement in many graphic design undergraduate courses. This is required to receive a degree. This includes topics like arithmetic, calculus, perspective geometry, and statistics. For industrial designs, a Graphic Designer may be required to use math. Hence, math abilities are taught in many graphic design courses.

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How to become a UX Designer How to become an Illustrator 9 Skills required to become a Graphic Designer How to become a Graphic Designer?
How to become a UX Designer How to become an Illustrator 9 Skills required to become a Graphic Designer How to become a Graphic Designer?