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Career Path: How to become a Brand/Graphic Designer

Thinking of becoming a Brand/Graphic designer? You’re in good company. Graphic designers work across different industries and contribute toward a variety of mediums—everything from brochures, books and magazines to digital platforms like websites, mobile apps and games. And with more companies looking to increase their digital footprint, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 20 percent growth in employment of graphic designer within the computer design sector by 2026 (faster than the national average).

Getting Started

The best route to becoming a graphic de...more

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Career Path: How to become a Brand/Graphic Designer

Thinking of becoming a Brand/Graphic designer? You’re in good company. Graphic designers work across different industries and contribute toward a variety of mediums—everything from brochures, books and magazines to digital platforms like websites, mobile apps and games. And with more companies looking to increase their digital footprint, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 20 percent growth in employment of graphic designer within the computer design sector by 2026 (faster than the national average).

Getting Started

The best route to becoming a graphic designer is to enroll for a program at a community college, university or art institute. A formal education provides a solid foundation in core areas like drawing, painting and design layout. Try signing up for an associate or Bachelor’s degree in graphics design or any other design-based program such as photography, fine art, 3D design, illustration or visual art.

If you’re unable to commit to a degree program or you simply prefer an informal education, you can learn the basics of design by reading books on art. You can also expand your skill by watching online tutorials on YouTube, Tuts+ Design or other design blogs. Expand your knowledge of subjects like typography and painting by signing up for online courses on sites like Coursera and Udemy. Some of the other core qualifications for working as an intern or entry-level graphic designer include:

  • A good understanding of design concepts
  • Having a creative flair and passion for design
  • Good communication skills
  • An ability to work with teams
  • Effective time management skills
  • Strong skills in Photoshop, illustrator or any related graphics application

Education and Experience

Although you don’t need a degree to get a job as a graphic designer, having one will significantly improve your odds—especially if you’re trying to get an entry-level position in a graphic design firm. You’ll find it even easier if your application is accompanied by a large portfolio showcasing some of the different projects you’ve completed for other clients (or simply some projects of your own). That's where experience comes in. If you don’t already have a portfolio, try volunteering your services to create logos, banners and other designs for companies or NGOs.

Working as an Intern or Junior Graphic Designer

Brand/Graphic designers are involved in creating a distinct identity for a company or service. Depending on the size of the company, they may work directly with clients or account managers. Graphic designers may also work alone or alongside a larger team made up of illustrators, designers and stylists. Some of the duties of an entry-level designer including developing design briefs, creating rough sketches and working on layouts. In addition, their job duties may include producing designs for:

  • Websites
  • Logos
  • Products
  • Packaging
  • Social media
  • Physical environments

Growing in the Role

One of the advantages of a career in a graphic design is that allows most designers to learn on the job. But you can also expand your technical skills and eye for design by reading books, signing up with design blogs and studying industrial trends. Display a passion for thinking out of the box by coming up with creative ideas with new projects. It’s also vital that you stay updated with emerging technologies. Making the transition to a mid-level position may come with added responsibilities such as:

  • Meeting with account managers or clients to discuss projects
  • Presenting design concepts to account managers
  • Supervising interns

Mid-level graphic designers are also skilled in working with a range of media, ranging from graphic-editing applications like Photoshop or Illustrator to computer-aided design. They may work as part of a team made up of marketing specialists, account executives and web developers.

Advance Your Career: How to become a Senior Graphic Designer

Advancing your career will see you taking up even more responsibilities. Senior graphic designers oversee teams or multiple departments on design projects—from the whiteboard stage to completion. They supervise junior and intermediate designers in creating layouts, design concepts and final art. They also interact with clients and executives. Because of this, senior graphic designers must have good leadership skills, be skilled communicators and capable of working alongside teams.

Expand your Skills

To qualify for a senior graphic designer position, you’ll need to display a solid knowledge of graphic design techniques. Senior graphic designers are highly skilled in a variety of web, design and multimedia software, including Photoshop, Illustrator and most of the apps in the Adobe Creative Suite. In addition to technical skills, they’re also extremely creative and skilled in core areas such as typography and color theory.

Don’t limit yourself to work in the office. Pursue other creative endeavors or collaborate with coworkers on pet projects. Get a better idea of the scope of each project you're involved with by finding out how your teammates contribute to the process. Never be afraid to seek for feedback or constructive criticisms, because this is the only way that you’ll be able to identify your weaknesses and grow.

Build Your Experience and Widen Your Network

It all adds up. Work your way up the ladder by volunteering to take the lead on different design projects, anything from product packaging to building websites. Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for designers who have experience leading marketing projects.

Successful designers are also able to rise up the rank by expanding their network and developing a good reputation within the workplace. A good reputation is invaluable if you plan to make the shift to a senior position within your company while having a strong network will help your bid if you decide to apply to a new company or switch to a different industry.

Brand/Graphic Designer Job Description

We’ve done the research for you. After evaluating numerous job descriptions, we’ve written our own representative job description for a mid-level brand/graphic designer with between 2 and 5 years of relevant experience.

As a mid-level Brand/Graphic designer, you’ll work on various projects and be responsible for supporting the day-to-day design needs of the company. You’ll also be responsible for implementing design solutions and defining the company’s image as well as brand development. You’ll work closely with the communication team and participate in the marketing process, working directly with the creative director and account teams.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Collaborating with the design team in creating layouts and designs (including mood boards, covers, packaging, logos and templates)
  • Designing multiple concepts
  • Developing presentations from start to end
  • Managing creative production
  • Determining technique, medium and style best suited to different projects
  • Providing leadership for junior designers and interns
  • Providing input on style guides, best practices and templates
  • Developing graphic design solutions in other to achieve winning proposals

What We Look For

  • 3+ years of experience in web, print and interactive graphic design
  • Proficiency in PowerPoint, Microsoft Word and other apps in the Microsoft Office
  • Exceptional experience with applications in the Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop)
  • An ability to work without supervision and meet tight deadlines
  • Good communication skills; able to think creatively and explain possible solutions to non-technical team members
  • Ability to take rough drawings/sketches and develop designs as well as participate in brainstorming sessions
  • Strong presentation skills
  • An ability to work with remote teams

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Proficiency in HTML, HTML 5, JavaScript and flash
  • Experience optimizing designs for print production or online publishing
  • Software competency with 3D modeling programs like SketchUp
  • Experience working with Cinema4D or AfterEffects

Senior Brand/Graphic Designer Career Paths: Where to Go From Here

With more than a decade’s worth of experience, a strong network and a rich library of skills, senior graphic designers can work in different fields. You could make the permanent switch towards becoming self-employed or opt for launching your own creative studios.

Working in Multimedia

A popular career path for graphic designers involves making the shift to multimedia, working with advertising companies, game companies and film studios, where they combine their technical skills and creativity to supervise the design of props and sets as well as costumes. Multimedia artists may also specialize further in areas like modeling and animation, and even go on to become lead animators.

Working in the IT Industry

Brand/Graphic designers may also opt to specialize in software development, working as UI designers, tasked with developing the layout and look of websites, mobile applications and software apps for different companies. A career in this direction may require additional training in computer graphics as well as basic knowledge in core web languages like CSS and HTML.

Brand Management

Another popular option is to work as a Brand Manager or Brand Director, tasked with developing the visual elements that define the “image” of a company. This involves everything thing from logo creation to supervising the look and feel of product packaging and even the website. The duties of a brand director may also include modernizing the look of an organization with a fresh design and typography.

Creative Arts

Your career trajectory could also lead towards working as a Creative/Art Director, where you get to oversee a large team made up of photographers, artists, copywriters and other designers. Responsible for visual styling, creative directors also work closely with the marketing team on product campaigns and brand marketing strategies. In addition to good leadership skills, an advanced degree in graphic design or visual art is often required for this position. Art directors can find employment opportunities within magazines, advertising agencies, public relations firm and most manufacturers.

The design world is constantly changing to fit with new trends and emerging techniques. If you decide to make the switch to becoming a freelancer, you can earn quick points by specializing in a niche and defining your branding personality. Ultimately, your experience, passion and area of specialization will play a huge path in how your career evolves.

Adobe Photoshop is the mode widely used photo editing and image manipulation application in the world. It is used by designers and hobbyists worldwide to design products, advertising, applications, websites, art, and more.

PHP

PHP is a widely-used open-source scripting language that has seen wide use in web application development. PHP code must be processed by an interpreter like the Zend Engine. With a strong open-source community and large adoption world-wide, PHP ...

JavaScript is a scripting language, originally implemented in web browsers, but now widely used server-side via the Node.js platform. It supports a runtime system based on numerical, Boolean and string values, with built-in, first-class support f...

HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is a markup language derived from SGML, used to describe web sites and applications to be run in a common web browser. Invented in 1993 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, HTML documents are broken up into HTML elements, w...

CSS

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) describes how HTML elements are displayed. Along with JavaScript and HTML, CSS is one of the cornerstones of front-end web development. CSS separates presentation and content, allowing styles to be defined and used t...

Top industries hiring Brand/Graphic Designers

Travel

The travel industry is a multi-billion-dollar sector that is ever-evolving to meet the demands of customers. It is an industry that provides myriad travel solutions, including vacation rentals, flight and train transportation and the production...

Manufacturing

Manufacturing involves creating merchandise through various forms of labor or machinery, including processing and formulation. There are many different types of manufacturing, including agile, flexible, just-in-time and lean manufacturing. Othe...

Sports

There are many jobs in the sports industry ranging from professional athlete to physical therapist. Sports medicine is a growing job area within the industry and generated 19 billion dollars in 2016. With so many popular sports in the United St...

Platform

With an increase in spending noted for the overall information technology industry, it’s no wonder that platform jobs are projected to be in demand as companies seek ways to streamline processes and increase efficiency. Platform jobs are a subs...

Marketplace

The marketplace industry is made up of digital platform companies that exist to connect business owners with consumers and facilitate trade. It is an ever-growing sector, with marketplace businesses like Lyft, GrubHub, Etsy and UpWork replacing...

Electronics

The Electronics Industry has grown into a global industry with a value of billions of dollars. Most commonly when referring to the electronics industry it is understood the industry is consumer electronics which produces items used in everyday lif...

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