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What can I do with a degree in Graphic Design?

Article Sources
  • “How do design programs differ?” American Institute of Graphics Arts (AIGA), 2017, http://www.aiga.org/guide-designprogramsdiffer/
  • Graphic Designers, Occupational Employment and Wages 2016, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271024.htm
  • Graphic Designers, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Arts-and-Design/Graphic-designers.htm
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Graphic designers communicate with us through an array of media, including comics, candy wrappers, ads on city buses, online videos, TV commercials, billboards, posters and company logos. Their designs contain carefully tailored messages using images, color, shape, typeface, size and other elements designed to elicit a particular response in viewers. Designers use their full arsenal of artistic tricks and technical tools to create visual effects for a wide range of industries, organizations and clients.

The many options for learning about graphic design include associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in graphic design. Some PhD programs exist, although they are less common. Related majors include digital arts, commercial design and advertising art. Studies could include web design, photography, typography, illustration or studio art. Design professionals rely on computer software applications, so training typically blends art and technology.

Graphic design impacts many aspects of our visual world from print publications to websites to signage—and career opportunities can be equally diverse. With the right skills, graphic design majors can seek career opportunities in web publishing, marketing and promotions, corporate communications and other specializations. Are you creative and tech-savvy? Do you like collaborating with teams? If so, you may want to explore the field of graphic design.

How much do graphic designers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2016, graphic designers made an annual median salary of $47,640. If you have a degree and become a professional in the field, the top 10 percent of graphic designers can make more than $82,000 yearly. 

According to the BLS, the following states have the highest annual mean wage:

  • Washington D.C.: $69,490
  • New York: $62,750
  • California: $59,210
  • Maryland: $58,590
  • Massachusetts: $58,210

Overall, the BLS reports that between 2016 and 2026, the need for graphic designers is going to grow approximately 5 percent so there may be stiff competition for graphic design careers. Obtaining a degree and finding valuable experience may prepare to begin your graphic design career.

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What Can I Do With a Degree in Graphic Design?
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