Is Graphic Design A Good Career?

Training up and pursuing a graphic design career path is a big investment in your future, it takes time, hours of studying and commitment so the first thing you need to do is be sure it’s the right direction for you.

  1. Is graphic design a suitable career choice? 
  2. How do I become a graphic designer ?  
  3. Do I need to know how to draw to be a graphic designer? 
  4. What is a graphic designer’s job role?
  5. How to become a graphic designer in 2020?
  6. What route do I need to become a graphic designer?
  7. Can graphic designers work from home?
  8. Do graphic designers work from home?
  9. How much can I earn as a graphic designer?
  10. What key skills do you need to be a good graphic designer?

These are just a few of some of the most commonly asked questions about graphic design on the internet and here at Blue Sky Graphics, not only have we been teaching everything from shadows and vectors to compositing and digital illustrations, but giving advice to anyone contemplating a career in graphic design.

We are proud to serve our students and have been passionately teaching our students since 2005 and we’ve helped hundreds of students break into the industry.

While addressing each question such as Is graphic design a suitable career choice? Do I need to know how to draw to be a graphic designer? What is a graphic designer’s job role? How do I become a graphic designer? please note there are several different options for courses you may take.

At Blue Sky Graphics’s innovative 0110 Graphic Design Course will teach you how to become a graphic designer in just as little as 28 weeks part-time. We specialise in teaching online before virtual classrooms caught popularity and here at Blue Sky Graphics you can become a graphic designer from the comfort of your own sofa or home office.

Is Graphic Design A Good Career

As a Blue Sky Graphics student, you’ll be immersed in total learners experience building not only proficiency in programs including Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and UX-UI, but also all the  theory and skills that you’ll need to become a practising graphic designer. Our graduates leave us as employable graphic designers with a commercial portfolio and an array of quality pieces of work demonstrating a wealth of professional knowledge ready to embark on a new career. graphic designers are in high demand especially with the increasing presence of online post corona pandemic and this 28 week course could be your opportunity to jump into the industry.

So, lets begin talking about what a graphic designers job role commonly includes?

Is Graphic Design A Good Career

Graphic designers tend not to fall into the 9:00 am to 5:00 pm office booted and suited members of the working public, but more like the alternative, mainstream or arty or even eccentric type personalities. Anyone can become a graphic designer but as a creative you may be expected to  work around the clock to meet client deadlines or be freelance and work from home. They commonly work with businesses to share their story through impactful, meaningful design. graphic designers are in some ways considered visual story tellers.  All graphic designers are visual communicators or story tellers, but graphic designers can also play many other roles too.  Check out our article here for more information on graphic designer job roles.

By discussing requirements with clients i.e. concepts, size, production, and time-scale the graphic designer makes decisions like choosing materials and styles for the clients brief and modifying drafts based on client feedback and suggesting improvements as well as using design and photo-editing software. They may be working with external printers to ensure the product is high quality and ensuring you don’t go over budget or miss deadlines.

With the revolution of the internet and boom in the creative domain, graphic design has become an ever increasing career choice with different platforms available to find work. There are many as e-commerce service sites like Etsy, and Fiverr that cater for the client to find graphic designers has meant work is more vastly available. It is easy to find work on platforms such as Freelancer.in, worknhire.com or Upwork.com which offers space for graphic designers to exhibit your creative flare and get paid for it! Feel free to check out our other blog page on Making more money as a graphic designer here.

What key skills do you need to be a good graphic designer?

Training up and pursuing a graphic design career path is a big investment in your future, so the first thing you need to do is be sure it’s the right direction for you. Here are six key skills to consider to decide if graphic design is the best career for you.

Remember being a graphic designer is a creative and exciting career choice and there are several key skills that you’ll need in order to flourish in this field:

Creativity – you need to be able to think laterally and manifest your ideas so that you come up with designs that transform clients concept into a design they are satisfied by.

Teamwork - as a team you’ll be no doubt constantly bouncing ideas off each other and someone else may see something that you haven’t seen yet. So design is therefore a industry full of team play, collaboration and conversation.

Communication - graphic design is about understanding a clients needs and match making their needs with your work so you will be tapping into sub skills like interpreting, listening and dealing with their constructive criticism. In essence, the better you can communicate with your clients the better you can fully comprehend what they are searching for. In this way you can ensure they are satisfied with the end product.

Technology - you will need to use a computer and have a clear grasp of the key software used across graphic design which are Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. You will need to check for updates and short-cuts too to ensure you don’t fall behind your competitors.

Time management - you need to work to tight deadlines, sometimes make several revisions or drafts of work and also be good at working under pressure. The chances are you will have several jobs on at the same time so it’s about balancing your time effectively.

Marketing - you need to be able to find clients, source new ones and attract and keep your clients . Building a website and marketing this with organic SEO is great, but time consuming so perhaps its better to use a platform listed above. Word of mouth is powerful and the wider your network the more chance of finding new work so always offer great service as its also a form of marketing.

How much does a graphic designer earn?

If you’re looking at becoming a graphic designer, you’ll also be looking at a well paid career ahead of you.

In the UK average graphic designer starting salary are as follows:

Starting out after just completed training or online course, a Junior graphic designers can expect to get paid around £16-24k per year. If you are in London expect a bit more.

Once you have gained some experience Senior Graphic Designers with 8 + years experience can expect to earn between £33 to 42k per year.

The top end graphic design salaries if you are a Creative Director you can earn anywhere between £60k to £92,000 per year especially in some of the larger corporation and creative teams.

Freelance route to graphic design

Is Graphic Design A Good Career

Freelancers charge per job so naturally the more you work the more you earn, but the general graphic designer rate card or day rate is around £300 per day. Freelancers can demand costs anywhere from £200-£500  and the top end for London and larger cities like Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The day rate fluctuates depending on how much experience the candidate has and also the quality of their portfolio.

Many graphic designers go freelance once they’ve got a few years’ job experience at a company. But there’s no rule saying you have to go straight into a job, and if you’re attracted by the freedom offered by freelancing (and ideally have some funds to get you through the first few months), it could be worth considering straight after graduation.

Whether you’re a freelance or salaried designer, you may find that the graphic design career path leads you to an area of specialization. If there’s something you have a real passion for, that’s a smart move, as good people with specialized skills will always be in demand, whether you become a book cover designer, packaging designer, digital designer, UI designer, web designer, web developer, motion designer, animator, 3D designer, game designer, mural artist, sign painter, email marketing designer, VR designer, product designer…. or anything else that floats your boat.

Day rate

The average rate for a London based freelance graphic designer with 5 years experience will be roughly a handsome £350 per day. Now who’s ready to learn graphic design?

Hourly rate

The hourly rate for being a graphic designer can be anywhere from £40 per hour to the average rate a UK based freelance graphic designer earns which is about £60 per hour.  Check out more information and salary guides here.

The great news is there is lots of scope for freelance and in-house work an graphic designers are in huge demand! The economy is becoming more digital than ever before before with more online spaces and fewer traditional shops and office spaces. With the increasing closure of highstreet retails stores the online abundance of websites and communities means more graphic designers, web desingers and UX-UI designers are required and in demand. Life during the corona pandemic has shown the vulnerability of traditional shops and offices and exposed the demand of the digital world!

Remember with more online shopping, web surfing, online advertising and phone apps there needs to be people making it happen. Think about it. Graphic designers are the creative masterminds behind each of these online spaces. They influence adverts and graphics all around us every single day from the food packaging in your cupboard to the website you are reading this very article!

What route, certificate or qualifications do you need to become a graphic designer?

Graphic design is a discipline like no other. Put 10 graphic designers into a room and ask each of them how to got to where they are and chances are that 3 of them may have gone to university, 2 of them were self taught and 5 of them trained with a course. What they’ll all have in common is a great portfolio.

At Blue Sky Graphics we provide the training, education and certificate options needed but other routes including going to university and self-study. The training is world class and especially helpful for visual learners that prefer to be physically shown what to do.

Lets take a look at the different graphic design career paths.

University route

Perhaps 20 years ago, the standard graphic design career path use to be a three-year university degree in graphic design followed by an apprenticeship or a graduate scheme. Time have changed and whilst you do need a degree in Medicine to be a doctor the same is not true of graphic designers.

A degree can give many resources and may help you to really understand graphic design which would be a great basis for teaching (then you may consider to apply for a teacher role with us).  A degree can help to realise more about the industry and explore various different aspects of design, such as layers, colour theory or brand campaigning and typography treatment.

Many degree courses are comprised of mostly or entirely theory and they can be very academic, and so for those that still study graphic design at university those same graduates often find supplementary training courses to build up the more practical skills demanded by employers. Another drawback for a lot of people is the expense or unwilling to take on the large debts involved with a full degree. There are certainly graphic designers working full-time in industry that have come through the university route but so too have many successful graduates left Blue Sky Graphics online graphic design school.

Self-study route

There are so many amazing self-taught artists and designers. Be aware however this takes big discipline, research and lots of reading and independent study which can be challenging.

If the idea of self-study or an expensive 3 year degree does not appeal to you, don’t worry as there is no pressure to go to university and many amazing graphic designers have not gone to university. There is the online way offered by Blue Sky Graphics, which is proud to passionately, professionally and patently serve our students with over 15 years experience.

Blue Sky Graphics one-to-one online study route

Is Graphic Design A Good Career

At BSG we ensure our students cover every aspect they need to learn. With a commercial portfolio it is easy to convince employers you’re industry ready especially for a career in graphic design. Led by professionals actually working in the industry, everything you learn on these courses will be directly relevant to getting a job, and you’ll have proactive help with finding the right positions at the end of it.

What is more is that BSG upon successful completion issues full certification taught by Adobe Affinity endorsed instructors. With career tips and advice on how and where to network and make the right connections you’ll be on your journey to a successful career in graphic design.

We teach you the fundamentals of graphic design, the software skills you need working practice on real-world briefs to create a commercial portfolio.

No prior experience is required to study with BSG.  To start from the beginning, literally, the Blue Sky Graphics Online Course will start from the base up. Even if you’ve never opened the Adobe programs, then you’ve got nothing to worry about—our tutors will teach you the basics from the very start.

Remember however to carefully consider all your options as it takes a big commitment and strong discipline to devote enough hours to train properly.

What is graphic designer’s job role?

Is Graphic Design A Good Career

Here are just a few jobs you can find as a graphic designer:

Technical Writer
Art Director
Creative Director
UX-UI Designer
Web Designer
Film and Video Editor
Graphic Designer
Industrial/Product Designer
Marketing Manager
Multimedia Artist/Animator

The regular graphic design career path starts out as a junior graphic designer at a creative agency or an in-house design team at a big company. The job role is varied and can include making, books, maps, media, data-graphics, websites, magazines, packaging and business logos, stationary, wedding cards, branding and advertisements. From there you might seek to progress through to senior designer, UX-UI designer, web designer, art director and ultimately head of design or, creative director.

Here are some more about the duties and responsibilities with common roles with graphic design:

Marketing Manager

Marketing and graphic design overlap since to create a market and attract clients or customers you need to have marketing material. Graphic designers make these materials and having a background in graphic design will particularly help here.

Marketing Managers are expected to manage all aspects of the mix, from book covers and website logos to stationary for office supplies to written communications. Blue Sky Graphics Senior Graphic Design Tutor David Viveiros applied his skill-set to a role as Events Marketing Manager in London before senior in-house designer. He joined our team back in 2019 and loves showing his students what being a marketeer and graphic design does together.

Tutor or Lecturer

At Blue Sky Graphics, a few of our graduates go on to become teachers, with some returning to the places they studied to help nurture the graphic design careers of undeveloped non-recreational trainees. If you have a passion for design, what better way to share it than by inspiring the next generation of graphic designers? Jobs in teaching graphic design can be found at general schools and colleges, as well as specialist education and training facilities.

Our Tutors - Blue Sky Graphics Design School

Lori Thompson from Blue Sky Graphics, explains the appeal:

 “I teach because loving what I do and what I can design and show others their own capability is rewarding. I get a thrill out of seeing students start with no confidence and experience to later excel in graphic design students.  Each day I teach around 15 students that have completely different outlooks and working as a teacher and student helps make a fun learning environment.”

UX/UI Designer

Strategy and user content are 2 important factors that a UX designer will deal with as part of their job role as the expectation is to strategically determine how to best deliver the content in a user-friendly way.

Although the love of creating messages and stories is the main reason many people choose to study graphics, some prefer to explore more of the behind-the-scenes process when entering the industry. UX plays a big role in the communication of websites and apps where the user is the main point of focus and priority. Another responsibility of a UX designer is wire-framing and prototyping as well as execution and user analytic research.

Are graphic designers in demand and are there many jobs available ?

I think there will always be a demand for graphic designers, whether this be agency, freelance or in-house. It can be difficult when businesses don’t always realise or understand the importance of investing in graphic design, and see it as a key part of their brand and marketing strategies. But so many others do. It’s such a key part of running a business.

Whilst it is true there are applications out there for design such as the fairly user-friendly platforms like Canva, these are considered unprofessional graphic design platform. They are not industry compliant standards nor efficient although with these platforms many people can handle basic graphic design projects themselves.

The online sphere is growing at a faster rate than ever before and this communication has expanded to suit business needs. These business needs in more recent times include the commercial demand to reach audiences at home in lockdown and quarantine, but also more generally online and in print.

Read more information about demand in graphic design here.

Do I need to know how to draw for graphic design?

In short and contrary to what many think, you do not need to know how to draw to become a graphic designer. Many students say to us they ‘can’t draw to save their life,’ but that really does not matter.

To be a graphic designer you need a visual eye and a passion for all things creative. There are so many fields within graphic design and illustration is just one of them. You can even create motion graphics, or specialise in UX/UI without needing to be able to draw.

Do graphic designers make websites?

Yes! Designing websites and important pages are pivotal to a designers role, but web design requires knowing software like WordPress and Elementor – we teach this on our course.

A web designer is different from a web developer who is responsible for coding and although there is some cross over, the job roles, duties and software tools are fundamentally different.

Using a car analogy a web designer would be the person who designs the aesthetics of the car, what it looks like, what feels like, the textures, colours, shapes whereas the internal components like the engine, and the  transmission which often you may not realise when you are using it. The car is useless without the engine and the engine is useless without the car.

Many graphic designers will specialise in web design; their job is to not only make a brand come to life online, but ensure it’s functional and accessible too. User journey is everything! Our designers work really closely with our content strategists and web developers to ensure our designs are manageable, functional, targeting the right people, and saying the right thing.

Is graphic design competitive?

Graphic design is somewhat competitive, but there are many jobs. Everyone is constantly trying to come up with new and innovative designs and ideas, but often the traditional ones win the most momentum.

Do graphic designers work from home?

Well… let’s take a closer look on same guy again 😁

Freelancers have a lot of freedom about working from home, the office, a coffee shop or co-working spaces and with the advent off the Corona virus and Covid-19 it seems to be the way that the majority of people working from home right now will continue to do so.

If you work in the office, many design studios will have a fun set-up where staff play table tennis and steal each other’s sweets. There is often an immersive  team culture fuelled by hard work with fun and creativity all mixed up. Despite this, a lot of freelance graphic designers and agencies choose to work from the comfort of their own home.

Concluding thoughts

A career in graphic design expands your options to include a diverse palette of creative careers coupled by attractive salaries and great positions. The opportunity to find work and earn with this skill is vast, be it any category, such as advertising, news & media, websites, social media outlets and marketing organisations.

Graphic designing can be a very fulfilling career path for artistic individuals and those who are naturally creative.

Remember that a graphic designer is a visionary and a storyteller and visual-thinking solution provider that is responsible for not only making visual content but promoting ideas through communication. Every graphic designer is effervescent with the task of solving specific communication objections and working for their clients.

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