Graphic designer

Creative and Media Career Profiles from The CV Writer - Creating Brand YOU - #creatingbrandYOU

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

Salary range: £16,000 to £50.00

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How to become a graphic designer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
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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 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

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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), 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

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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), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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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.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Chartered Society of Designers and the International Society of Typographical Designers for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

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.

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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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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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.

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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.