Graphic designer

Graphic designers create visual branding, adverts, brochures, magazines, website designs, product packaging and displays.

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter

to

£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings occasionally

How to become a Graphic designer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • graphic design
  • art and design
  • illustration

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation studies diploma in art and design 
  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information

College

You could take a college course like a Level 3 Diploma in Graphic Design or Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Art and Design, and use this to join a company as a design assistant.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could start by doing an advanced apprenticeship in design, specialising in graphics.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

More information

Career tips

There's a lot of competition for graphic design work. You'll need a portfolio that shows your creative ideas, skills and work experience to help you get started.

Further information

You can find out more about careers and training in graphic design from Creative Choices.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • knowledge of English language
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • you will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on your role, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • discussing the client's requirements and coming up with creative ideas
  • working out budgets and deadlines
  • producing rough drafts and presenting your ideas
  • preparing designs using specialist software
  • making presentations to clients for feedback and approval
  • producing a final layout
  • explaining requirements to photographers, printers, manufacturers or games developers
  • keeping up with design trends and developments in software tools

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in an office or at a client's business.

Career path and progression

You could become a senior designer, creative director or move into management.

You could go freelance or start your own design agency.

The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) and the International Society of Typographical Designers (ISTD) have resources to help you progress your career.

Another option is to move into teaching or lecturing.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice UX Consultant

  • Wage : £211.54 Weekly
  • Location: Nottingham NG11 6JS

Apprentice CAD Designer

  • Wage : £148.00 Weekly
  • Location: Southend-On-Sea SS3 9QT

Courses In England

Graphic Design Diploma with Adobe ACA

  • Provider: Pitman Training London
  • Start date: 01 October 2019
  • Location: LONDON

Graphic Design Level 3 Applied Diploma - Extended Certificate

  • Provider: Long Road Sixth Form College
  • Start date: 05 September 2019
  • Location: CAMBRIDGE

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