Graphic Design

What Is a Graphic Design Degree?

Graphic design encompasses numerous mediums, including Web and print design, corporate identity design, advertising and product packaging. Depending on the application, graphic design might crossover several of its facets, such as designing a corporate logo to appear on all publication materials and product packaging. Graphic design is one of fastest-growing fields available to designers; this is in large part due to the advancement of technology over the recent years.

Graphic designers play an important role in placing their clients on the map and keeping them there. Many organisations turn to graphic designers to create their “brand,” making them recognisable to consumers by a simple logo or colour-scheme. For example, McDonald’s golden arches immediately identify the fast-food giant throughout the globe, without the need for the actual name “McDonald’s.” These arches are used on everything, including company letterhead and business cards, the company’s website, product packaging, advertising and the restaurants themselves. This is a form of branding used by graphic designers.

Graphic design also works heavily in print – where the art form originated – designing page layouts and design for newspapers, magazines, books, advertising materials and product packaging. Product packaging might include the containers in which the products are sold, as well as the instruction materials or user’s guides placed inside the packaging. In some cases, such as for medical devices, electronics devices and computers, these technical specifications are critical to the consumer, who must know how to use their new purchase safely.

Graphic design has jumped onto the information superhighway in the 21st Century with Web site design as another form of the art, which oftentimes includes animation and user interactive tools. Many organisations are bypassing the traditional print design mediums these days, and focusing primarily on advertising their product or service online through Web sites and social media.

Students who love working with design using computer-related tools are well-suited to pursue their degree in graphic design. This ever-changing and growing field offers students the opportunity to apply their art to several different mediums.

Graphic Design Job Opportunities

A graphic designer is the catch-all career that a graduating student might enter into. Graphic designers work with any number of the graphic arts, whether that is designing Web sites and computer games or laying out magazines and books. The graphic designer must work directly with their client, listening to what the client is envisioning, and then taking that vision and turning it into something that has a high visual impact on the audience. Graphic designers usually begin their careers as junior designers and work their way up to becoming creative directors. Junior designers earn £14,000 to £25,000; creative directors earn upwards of £65,000.

Graduating students looking to specialise their graphic design career might become animators or illustrators. Animators work with various tools, including 2D animation, 3D model-making animation, computer-generated animation and stop frame techniques. Animators work in many industries, including the film and computer gaming industries. Animators earn salaries that range from £12,000 to £26,000, with the latter usually coming about after 10 years of experience.

Illustrators are predominantly freelance artists, so the salary range is quite subjective. Illustrators are used in many mediums, including editorial, which comprises of comics, magazines and newspapers; books; advertising, such as press releases and posters; fashion; merchandise, such as greetings cards, ceramics, t-shirts and calendars; corporate branding; multimedia, such as animation, websites, video games. Specialised illustrators are also used for text and reference books. Illustrators might earn anywhere from £14,000 to £40,000 or more a year.

Graphic Design Curriculum

Graphic design curriculum is heavy in art, design, structure and learning how to work with the various computer-related programmes used in the field. Students will learn industry-accepted techniques, yet also have the ability to express their own creativity, individually and as a team, when tasked with completing various graphic design projects. Students will also learn advertising, marketing and communication skills to aid in determining the perfect design for their “client’s” needs.

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