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Careers in Graphic Design: An Artistic Profession With a Business Twist

The field of graphic design is all about communicating a corporate brand or idea through visual communication. Careers range from associations, corporations, and advertising firms. In this sense, seasoned design professionals are highly valued in virtually every company.

What Graphic Designers Do

Many people view the occupation as a fun, cushy office job where the person gets to draw pretty pictures on the computer and play around with fonts all day long. However the reality is quite different, with a strong emphasis on creating an effective business image.

Graphic design is very much tied into sales and marketing, because the principal idea behind this career field is to sell visually and market the brand in such a way as to be eye-catching and memorable. In this sense, the job can often become stressful as managers tend to disagree on what makes effective artwork for any given project.

Designers work on a variety of interesting projects including posters, packaging, logos, book covers, labels, stickers, banners, window clings, stationery, and web images. Because they work almost exclusively with cutting-edge software such as Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, and Illustrator (Adobe Creative Suite), they must be tech-savvy and be able to learn new tasks quickly. Software updates are frequent as companies devise new tools for cutting-edge design; thus the artist must always be on the up-and-up.

Where Designers Work

Graphic art jobs vary in responsibility, stress level, and creativity. Generally work can be found in three main areas: advertising agencies; corporations; and churches, government, and associations.

Ad agencies pay the most, but are notorious for being stressful. Design professionals who work in advertising typically have long hours with much more critiquing of their projects. Some of that critiquing can be brutal, because the agency is trying to impress their top-tier clientele.

While they can make a lot more money at an ad agency, corporate graphic designers have a medium level of stress but still work with clients and have tight deadlines. On the lower end of the stress level are jobs in churches, government, and associations.

Pros and Cons of Graphic Art Careers

Graphic design is an art that is mixed with business to produce visual materials intended to convey the company’s branding. Studies show that catchy artwork on product packaging sells more items. In this way, graphic art is a good career choice for those who are artistically inclined and would like to have a corporate career.

On the other hand, design jobs can be inherently stressful, with tight deadlines and demanding bosses. The employee needs to have thick skin in order to cope with constant critiquing of their work. But overall, graphic design is a fulfilling field for those who are artistic and creative-minded. The person who is considering this occupation should receive a degree in art and design at a public university or art school.

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