Learn more about Graphic Design & our classes
What Is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is the art of communicating ideas through visual concepts to educate, inform, or engage a consumer. Graphic designers create graphics using computer software or by hand. Examples of graphic design include print products, such as business cards, brochures, and product packaging. Examples of graphic design in digital format include websites, logos, and user interface mockups.
Is the Graphic Design Industry Growing?
The graphic design industry will grow by about four percent between 2016 and 2026 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, there were over 250,000 graphic design jobs in the nation. Graphic designers should have both training and a design portfolio to be a competitive candidate for a graphic design position.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Graphic Designer?
Graphic designers use a variety of skills and tools to complete their work. Some graphic designers do sketches and hand drawings, but most rely on software programs to create their art. The most popular tools used by graphic designers include:
Additional requisite skills include creativity, an eye for good design, and the ability to translate ideas and concepts into visual representations that convey a brand’s message.
What Do Graphic Designers Do?
Graphic designers work in just about every industry, designing business cards, websites, and any other visual products manufactured by a company. While graphic design jobs used to require a steady hand and skill in drawing, today’s designers rely on computer programs, creativity, and digital savvy. Everyday graphic design tasks include the following:
- Product packaging
- Business cards
- Websites and blogs
- Presentations and reports
- Flyers, posters, and advertisements
- Digital ads, web banners, pop-ups
- Social media posts
- Mobile applications
What Jobs Can You Get as a Graphic Designer?
It’s important to note that at least 20% of graphic designers are self-employed according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Upon earning a degree in graphic design, earning a certificate, or developing a portfolio, many graphic designers choose to work freelance or start an agency to do small graphic design jobs for companies that don’t need a full-time graphic designer.
Experienced designers may work as a Creative Director or Lead Designer. Some graphic designers pursue additional training and work as User Experience (UX) or User Interface (UI) Designers specializing in user-centric design. Other designers learn to code and also work as front-end developers that design websites.
Fremont College has outlined a few of the most common roles that graphic designers pursue:
- Web Designer - Web designers use text, photos, and graphics to create a visually appealing website that entices prospective customers. A graphic designer may use web design tools or learn to code a site with HTML, CSS, and other languages.
- Package Designer - A package designer may design labels, boxes, and containers for products that represent the brand, but also display relevant information about the product, such as nutrition information, or instructions.
- Digital Designer - A digital designer designs materials for the web including social media posts, websites, blog posts, website ads and banners, reports and online newsletters.
- Logo Designer - Logo designers create logos to represent a concept, product, or service. The logo design may also include a business card or stationery design with the logo.
- Brand Identity Designer - The brand identity designer ensures all visual elements of a brand align with the brand’s target consumer and mission statement. The brand concept includes any visual representation of the brand, both digital and in print.
- Layout Designer - A layout designer formats books, magazines, newsletters, reports, and other text documents with photos and graphics. The layout designer is responsible for presenting the information in a coherent and aesthetically-pleasing way.
- Animation Designer - Some graphic designers use visual design, text, and audio to create videos, commercials, and other interactive designs. Designers may use a video creation tool or code if they have the ability.
What is the Future Outlook for a Graphic Designer?
An emerging trend in the graphic design industry is the focus on data and analytics. With tools like Google Analytics and Instagram Insights, it’s easy to see which designs are most popular among consumers. Graphic designers with a penchant for analyzing data and using this knowledge to create data-driven design will surely find an abundance of work in the industry.
Created to edit photos, Adobe Photoshop has become the go-to program for many graphic design tasks. As the world has shifted from print to digital, many people have begun to use Photoshop for tasks beyond editing photos. Photoshop is the most popular of Adobe’s programs and a must-have that every graphic designer should learn how to use.
What Does Photoshop Do?
Before learning Photoshop, it’s helpful to know a few essential details about what the program can do. First, Photoshop was designed to edit photos. If you want to remove a blemish, change colors, or alter a photo in any way, Photoshop is your best choice. Photoshop is a raster program, meaning that the images are represented by millions of dots of color called pixels. Television and computers also use raster graphics, which is why Photoshop works well for images with special effects.
Adobe first released Illustrator in 1987, three years before the release of its most popular program, Photoshop. Illustrator’s main strength is the creation of vector graphics, an easy-to-resize format for digital artwork. Illustrator can be used to create ads, draw or digitize graphics, develop logos, and design business cards. In recent iterations, Adobe has improved Illustrator’s ability to typeset text, resulting in some designers’ preference for Illustrator to Adobe’s text-layout program, InDesign.
What Is the Main Purpose of Adobe Illustrator?
The primary purpose of Adobe Illustrator is to draw, design, and edit vector graphics. A vector graphic could be an illustration of a concept, a logo, or a graphic representation of text for a business card. The critical thing to note about vector graphics is that resizing is easy to do without stretching or comprising the quality of an image. For example, if you create an abstract design for your business card, the design can be enlarged to use on a t-shirt, and also reduced to use on a pen or stationery without sacrificing image quality.
Released much later than its counterparts Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign was created to manage document layout. Publishers, newspapers, and magazines needed a way to design text-heavy documents and preserve the layout for multiple issues of the same style at a later date. InDesign was created and released at a time when print books, newsletters, and magazines dominated the world of knowledge. Fortunately, InDesign is a valuable tool that still has retained much value in the modern world of digital publishing, as it can be used to design the layout of eBooks, digital magazines, PDF presentations or brochures and other multi-page documents.
What Adobe InDesign Is Used For
InDesign is used to create and manage text layout. The program is often used in conjunction with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to develop visually-appealing texts. For example, if you are designing a PDF presentation in InDesign, you might use Illustrator to create the logo that appears on the first page of the presentation and Photoshop to create and crop company headshots in the biography section of the presentation. For documents that are mostly text and exceed one page, Adobe InDesign is likely your best choice.