A graphic designer, also often referred to as a graphic artist, wears many different hats while using an equally diverse number of media to create numerous types of designs. Graphic designers work to visually convey a particular message or idea that has noticeable appeal and the respected profession is highly sought out for promoting and displaying a wide variety of products, activities, ideas, and communications.
Graphic design is used every single day in the world of advertising, including everything from books and magazines, health and personal care, food products, automobiles, clothing, computers, and just about everything else you could think of in between. Product packaging is a huge part of any type of business and requires the expertise of a graphic designer who understands not only the general marketing aspect of business, but also the client's main objective.
Working closely alongside the client, a graphic designer begins expanding upon an initial concept, asks pertinent questions as to the end goal, discusses budgets and deadlines, then agrees on the finalised design, fee and due date. Many designers successfully juggle more than one project at a time, allocating a certain portion of their time to each. Some duties of a graphic designer may include:
- Meeting or communicating regularly with clients to discuss the aspects and goals of a project.
- Staying abreast of the latest technologies in terms of computerised media and common design programmes such as Dreamweaver, Flash, Adobe Photoshop, and Quark Xpress.
- Designing a product from rough drafts, sketches and vague ideas while still knowing how to reach just the right audience.
- Demonstrating excellent proofreading skills while also showing high attention to quality and detail.
- Working with other professionals in the industry such as copywriters, photographers, marketing specialists, web developers and printers.
- Effectively managing time in order to meet deadlines while staying within budget constraints.
An experienced and knowledgeable graphic designer has the uncanny ability to take a general idea and turn it into a visually compelling product that garners not only attention but favourable results as well. Somehow they instinctively know when to use clean lines and muted tones and when to instead use vibrant designs with bold hues that grab your attention.
Graphic designers may work for themselves on a freelance basis or may be employed full time by someone else, whether it be a small organisation or a large corporation. If self-employed, a graphic designer must work diligently to market themselves and their skills in order to build their portfolio and client base as well as making continued learning a large part of their career.
The CSD, the Chartered Society of Designers located in London, offers a number of programmes providing graphic designers with the opportunity to pursue continuous professional development, or CPD for short. Designers can learn the latest in illustration, typography, corporate identity and interactive media design for websites and computers.
When working for a design firm or similar entity, the opportunity for advancement is definitely there in this exciting and ever changing field. Within just a few short years, one may progress to senior designer, obtain a management position such as creative director, or even venture out on their own or create a partnership with another like-minded designer.