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Graphic designer

Level entry/mid | Also known as: designer/junior designer

What does a graphic designer do?

Graphic designers create images that communicate ideas or products to people, either by hand or with computer software. They can work on layout and production of anything from adverts for magazines through to business reports. You would work with text and image, selecting the best colours, fonts and detail to deliver the right message.

Watch and read

Look at user guides for the Adobe suite. Graphic designers often work in software programmes such as Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and more. The Design Council explain graphic design here.

What’s a graphic designer good at?

Graphic designers often:

–  have a good eye for detail

–  can find solutions to problems

–  have an awareness of the world around them, and

–  have a good imagination.

Graphic designers often have good analytical skills, an artistic ability, strong communications skills and be able to manage their time well.

Tools of the trade

  1. Understanding of colour and how people react to different colours
  2. Knowledge of fonts and their impressions
  3. Good eye for detail
  4. Creativity

Who does a Graphic designer work with?

Graphic designers often work with a company’s art director or account manager, meeting with the client to find out what is needed. This is called scoping a project. After scoping, a graphic designer would then work on the images and content to portray the right message within the design. You would determine the colours, text, images and content layout to match the client’s approved direction. These would then be presented to your manager and/or the client. There may be some back and forth over the design until it is approved and published.

How do I become a graphic designer?

You can take a degree in graphic design or apply for a graphic design apprenticeship.

At school or college:

Good subjects to take in school/college: Art, IT, English, D&T.

Top universities for Graphic Design

– Loughborough University [Graphic Communication & Illustration]

– University of Reading [BA Graphic Communication]

– Leeds College of Art [Graphic Design BA]

Career tips:

– Build a portfolio

– Learn the software

– Look for an apprenticeship or get a degree

– Search for jobs

– Look outside design: many businesses have in-house graphic designers.

You might also be interested in…

Digital designer

DBA also have a jobs board where members post openings. Explore the available positions and get familiar with creative role descriptions.

Design Business Association champions the transformative power of design, promoting its strategic and economic value to business and government. As the industry’s trade association we represent a vibrant community of design agencies and design-centric businesses. Together, we are the collective voice for design. 


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