What to Expect in Your First Year as a Graphic Designer
In college, graphic designers learn how to manipulate color, form, type, and layout to create meaningful designs. On the job, designers take those skills and use them to get their client's message across via print or electronic media. This could take the shape of consumer packaging, logos and signage, a website page, or an entire newspaper section. While college assignments prepare designers for this type of work, there is more to learn about being a graphic designer that only job experience can teach.
Graphic designers can be found working for the largest of corporations, or they may work for themselves as a part-time freelancer. As many as a quarter of all designers own their own business as freelancers. Working conditions will depend on the very nature of the job they are assigned to and the business environment in which they work.
A designer who sells advertising to major clients may have a nice, comfortable office, while a layout artist with the local newspaper may work in a noisy and dusty print room. Hours can range from regular 9-5 weekday schedules, while some may work through late-night meetings and toward unscheduled weekend deadlines. Graphic designers who work for larger firms will most likely have every tool they need at their disposal, while freelancers may have to work with limited supplies and computer programs.
Some designers may encounter issues with their creativity, as it is now being paid for instead of merely graded. Their work is now on public display, up for critique, and eventual sale. Despite these challenges, graphic designers can use their first year on the job as a rich learning experience. Many actually use this time to determine what design specialty they would like to focus on for the balance of their career. Most artists need to work with different media in a professional environment before knowing what excites them most.
Learning on the Job
Most jobs are an extension of education for the first year. It takes time to learn how a company operates, how they prefer things done, and how to use the proper tools to get the job done. Most designers have to work up to a position of creating from a position of observing. Designers new to the field spend much of their first year watching and shadowing other designers. They learn new computer programs, network with coworkers and clients, and perform administrative tasks that acquaint them with the office around them. Through the process of shadowing, or following and observing, new designers learn what is expected of them.
For all this experience, graphic designers can start out earning anywhere an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 per year. This will depend on whether one works for a major advertising firm, a bi-monthly magazine, the local newspaper, or a web design startup. Graphic designers may be paid well during their first year, though self-employed designers might have to work harder and longer for the same return. Typically, on the job training takes one to three years, at which time new designers might be considered for advancement. Your talent, ability, knowledge of specialized computer programs, and ability to communicate with clients all make a difference. Prove yourself during your first year as a graphic designer and soon you may be handed more responsibility.
Schools Offering Training Programs in Graphic Design
- "Apply Now to The Art Institutes - Pursue Your Passion Today."
- Flexible Scheduling
- Financial Aid
- Liberty University's online programs ranked in the top 5 of more than 2,100 online colleges and universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility*
- 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level**
- No standardized testing if you meet admission requirements
- Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program
- Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned
- Online Courses
- Financial Aid
- Transferable Credits
- Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
- Scholarship, financial aid and military benefits are available for students who qualify.
- Programs taught by award-winning industry professionals in real-world working environments.
- Features industry-standard facilities including recording studios, soundstages, green screen, movie theatres and more.
- Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
- Online Courses
- Financial Aid
- Web Design and Development (BS)
The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started
Congratulations! Your interest in California College San Diego is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.
- Full Sail University offers online degree programs that are designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Full Sail's approach is centered on real-world industry experience and creative problem solving.
- Full Sail uses the experience and knowledge gained from more than three decades of educational innovation to create an unparalleled online education experience that challenges and inspires our students.
- Learning at Full Sail has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas, and our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy with the aim of being the most people-focused education experience on the web.
- Through Full Sail’s multitude of online program offerings, students get: One-click access to instructors, Powerful collaborative tools, Interactive learning environments and Innovative curriculum.
- Full Sail's newest program is the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting. Developed in collaboration with sportscasting veteran Dan Patrick, the goal is to provide students with real world experience both behind and in fornt of the camera.
- Online Courses
Latest Graphic Design Articles & News
Designers to submit artwork to wine label contest
Graphic designers and artists are now able to enter the annual Artist Series Wine Label Design contest for The Capital Grille, and can submit their creations until October 7, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Graphic designers fighting against new design opportunity at Huffington Post
The Huffington Post has recently issued a contest, asking graphic designers to create a new logo. However, the winning individual will not be paid for their design - they will only be recognized by name, rather than compensation, according to AdWeek.