That’s exactly what you’ll find in our below list of graphic design jobs which we hope will help demystify some of the terms and provide a little bit of guidance as to how to get a graphic design job (as well as what kind of salary to expect once you do).
But it bears repeating: unlike our previous job glossary lists (such as the guides to jobs in film and broadcast journalism), rarely are two individual graphic design jobs alike and there’s a lot of crossover between duties. As such, average salaries are given as very rough rules of thumb only.
We’ve also provided an approximate difficulty scale which indicates not the technical requirements of the job, but how difficult it is to get full time, paid work. Without further ado…
The debate continues to rage as to whether designing for print is a dying art form (and it is true that jobs in this sector have diminished), but creating artwork that is intended solely for printed materials is still in demand. It’s a highly technical field, requiring in-depth knowledge of both traditional print techniques and their integration with contemporary digital advancements.
Print Designer Career Path: While ‘print designer’ is a blanket term covering a wide number of subsets (such as package designer below), those looking to acquire print design jobs are nearly always required to have attended graphic design school beforehand. Proficiency in the Adobe suit and particularly InDesign Quark Xpress are also essential before hitting the classifieds.
Pros: There’s a recognizable feeling of merit to work solely for print these days, and once you’ve mastered the art, you can tackle pretty much any job in the industry. Regular, 9 to 5 hours are also common.
Cons: The number of print jobs is dwindling rapidly – those working for book, newspaper and periodicals can expect a 16% decrease in jobs between 2012 and 2022 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Print Designer Salary: The median average is , 000, but the mean average is useless for print design salaries given the variance across the industry.
Unlike a print designer, a web designer deals specifically in graphic elements intended for viewing on a desktop or mobile device. Given the hugely varied nature of the work that falls into this category, it’s a broad term that covers a large swathe of the industry and is often conflated with web development; for the purposes of this entry, we’re going to focus specifically on graphic web design rather than coding.
Web Designer Career Path: While graphic design school and related qualifications can offer a huge step up, a lot of web designers are self-taught and build up their portfolios gradually to score further work. As above, the ability to also code in a variety of language is massively beneficial.
Pros: A reasonable degree of creative control, plus opportunities to work either on a freelance basis or salaried depending on your preference.
Cons: It’s an extremely saturated market, so competition is high while the pay is low for what is actually a very skilled job.