What can I do with this degree? - GRAPHIC DESIGN
Photo Editing/Photoshop Art
Business form companies
In-house creative departments
Large retail stores
Graphic designers have a hand in creating countless items, large and
small, from posters to identity systems and much more. Research all the
niche areas and then gain the tools and technological skills to succeed
in that area. Assemble an impressive portfolio of work
samples. Complete a related internship to gain relevant experience and
to contribute to your portfolio. Work on campus publications in design
or layout or find a part-time position with a local
publication. Develop excellent communication skills and learn to work
well on a team of professionals. Volunteer to create brochures,
newsletters or other publications for campus organizations. Develop
problem-solving skills, attention to detail and the ability to meet
deadlines. Join professional associations as a student member. Become
knowledgeable in production and printing processes. Develop broad
software application skills in MAC and PC based programs but not at the
cost of developing a solid background in design. Participate in local
or campus design contests.
THREE DIMENSIONAL DESIGN
Promotional Display Design
Product design divisions of large corporations
In-house creative departments
Museums and attractions
Find an internship in a design studio that specializes in 3D design
especially for signage, exhibition, promotional display and
environmental design which are very specialized. Gain skills in model
building and three-dimensional design. Develop a willingness to
experiment. Join a related professional association such as the Package
Designers Council. Develop excellent computer skills and strong written
and oral communication skills. Participate in design contests.
ELECTRONIC MEDIA DESIGN/4D DESIGN
Motion picture production firms
Computer systems design firms
Video game designers
Video production houses
Internet media companies
This is a highly specialized area of design that is not widely
taught in all design programs. Research programs carefully to find ones
that emphasize this area. Consider attending specialized programs in
order to learn about television and motion graphics, animation and
video game design. Develop excellent computer skills in a variety of
platforms and design software. Gain relevant experience through
part-time jobs and internships. Volunteer to design the website for a
student or local community organization. Work for the campus television
station. To work in television and film, consider relocating to areas
of the country where the entertainment industry is more prevalent. Stay
current with media and cultural trends. Participate in design contests.
Corporate Identity Design
In-house creative departments
Supplement curriculum with course work in advertising or
business. Complete an internship in an advertising agency. Work on the
campus newspaper in the advertising division. Learn to work well in
team environments and to communicate your ideas effectively. Develop
the ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure. Be prepared to
move to larger cities for the most job opportunities. Learn to work
with a variety of media. Create a strong portfolio of a work samples.
Carefully research design programs to find one that fits your career
goals. Programs vary in terms of the areas taught so not all programs
will prepare students for all areas of design.
Approximately 3 in 10 graphic designers are self-employed. Freelance designers must develop strong abilities in networking, sales and persuasion.
Graphic designers work in countless industries on a wide array of projects. Research the field thoroughly to learn about career options and the experiences and skills necessary to work in those areas. Some graphic designers choose to specialize their work while others complete a variety of projects.
Be prepared to start entry-level and work you way up the career ladder. Take a first job based on the industry and type of design you desire to work with because work from your first job will comprise your professional portfolio.
Some graphic design areas cross in multiple media such as educational design, identity design, information design and systems design.
Graphic designers must be able to tolerate criticism and direction in their work, since much of their work involves creating a product for a customer.
Graphic designers are typically artistically skilled, imaginative, and effective problem-solvers.
Develop a solid background in communications theory.
Learn to listen effectively to client needs and communicate ideas effectively.
Subscribe to and read graphic design materials such as Print, Eye, Communication Arts, Step into Graphics, Griphis, Computer Graphics and Applications, and others relevant to your interests.
Student design magazines such as, CMYK and Creative Convocation, solicit student work and have regular competitions. Try to get your work published.
Join major design organizations and societies, e.g. The American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Society of Publication Designers, University and College Design Association, New York Directors Club, Society of Illustrators, or the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation.
Become familiar with as many computer graphics and design software packages such as Quark, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Plan to stay up-to-date on new developments in the industry.
Successful graphic designers are well read and in-touch with changing consumer preferences and can react to new trends. Learn about your product and who will use it. A liberal arts education helps designers learn a little about a lot of things. Additionally, graphic designers should develop good research skills, work well on a team, and learn a foreign language if working in international design.
Graphic design is moving towards a more user/viewer way of thinking that allows the user/viewer to contribute to the design.
Many design schools are shifting towards a more activist attitude teaching ethical behavior, green-uses of design, and using the power of design to rally people behind causes that affect us all.
Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2007) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA /ADEA Employer