Art and Design

Make a Career Out of Your Creative Passion in an Art and Design Program

The saying “A picture’s worth a thousand words” has never been truer than it is in the digital age, and graphic designers are the professionals that know how to get powerful messages across in memorable ways. Whether using web browsers, social media platforms, digital broadcast media, or good old-fashioned print publications, graphic designers elicit emotions and prompt actions through visual images.

You may be surprised to find out about the variety of specialties that fall under the graphic design umbrella. For example, product packaging relies on those who are capable of conceptualizing product presentations that are both eye-catching and practical. Branding and advertising experts understand the importance of images as well, relying on graphic designers to create the perfect logo. Typography, or the use of fonts and spacing to create unique arrangements and appearances for printed words and numbers, is crucial for an unforgettable slogan, and also for creating informative yet entertaining infographics and charts. It will probably be less surprising to find out that jobs like web design, desktop publishing, and user experience design rely on a solid graphic design background as well.

If you’re considering pursuing a career in this field, there are some traits that will serve you well. First, sharpen your analytical skills, but make sure these are balanced with artistic talent of some kind. While graphic design may be mostly about nonverbal cues such as use of color and space, strong verbal communication is still going to be necessary for understanding the needs of clients and working well with other members of a design team. That said, much design work is done by groups, so being a team player is helpful. Finally, deadlines and multiple projects are realities of this kind of work, so time management strategies become crucial.

To pursue a career in graphic design, these three steps are helpful, if not vital:

  • Begin Now: High school is the perfect time to sharpen art skills and experiment with a wide variety of theories, concepts, and mediums. It’s important to take as many art classes as possible – now’s the time to find out where your strengths lie. Consider contributing to the school newspaper, or working with the drama club to create a compelling visual component to their next production. All schools need pamphlets, flyers, and programs created as well. Some states have vocational-tech schools that would allow a high school student to major in graphic design too.
  • Build a Portfolio: Like any other artist, graphic designers need to build a portfolio. One of the crucial differences is that, much like the field of graphic design itself, the portfolio will likely consist of several different mediums. The above-mentioned work done in high school would all make excellent additions to the portfolio of someone just starting out. If you don’t have a lot of selections to choose from, stick to the two or three best representations of your creative genius.
  • Attend College: While two-year schools often have fantastic graphic design programs, the industry frequently requires someone to get at least a bachelor’s degree before starting a career. On the other hand, much of the coursework required can be done online, making an online degree a viable option for graphic designers. Coursework will include such topics as advertising, web design, commercial graphics, studio art, and design principles. Many four-year schools will provide internship opportunities for their students as well, and these are definitely worth looking into.

Creative types can find a welcoming and lucrative home in the field of graphic design, and as the digital age marches on these professionals will find themselves more and more in demand. Some estimates say the field will grow as much as 35 percent!


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