Graphic designers create visual branding, adverts, brochures, magazines, website designs, product packaging and displays.
Salary range: £16,000 to £50.00
How to become a graphic designer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:
- graphic design
- art and design
You’ll usually need:
- a foundation diploma in art and design
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
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.
You may need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, 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
You could start by doing an advanced apprenticeship in design, specialising in graphics.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
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.
Professional and industry bodies
You can find out more about careers and training in graphic design from Creative Choices.
You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
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
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.
Another option is to move into teaching or lecturing.