Career Satisfaction

For this career, by 84 people, from 10 (best) to 1 (worst).

Avg. rating: 7.6   

Browse Degrees and Schools

Arts
Audio Engineering Schools
Film Schools
Floral Design Classes
Graphic Design Schools
Journalism Degrees
Music Degrees
Photography Schools

Business
Accounting Degrees
Business Administration Degrees
Business Management Degrees
Customer Service Training
Finance Degrees
Insurance Schools
Interpreter Programs
Marketing Certificates
Office Administration Degrees
PMP Certification
Public Relations Degrees
Sales Training
Supply Chain Management Certificates

Education
Educational Administration Degrees
Elementary Education Degrees
History Degrees
Library Science Degrees
Special Education Degrees
Teaching Certificates

Health
CNA Classes
Medical Schools
Medical Billing Schools
Medical Technologist Programs
Medical Transcription Certificates
Nursing Schools
Nursing Administration Certification
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs
School Nursing Certification
Speech Pathology Programs
Veterinarian Schools
Veterinary Technician Schools

Legal And Social
Child Care Courses
Christian Colleges
Criminal Justice Degrees
Firefighting Training
Government Courses
Legal Secretary Courses
Personal Trainer Certification
Social Science Degrees
Social Work Degrees

Technical
Chemistry Degrees
Computer Programming Degrees
Computer Science Degrees
Electrical Engineering Degrees
Engineering Degrees
Environmental Science Degrees
Forensic Science Degrees
Geography Degrees
IT Degrees
Microsoft Office Training
Network Administration Schools
Physics Degrees
Project Management Certificates
Software Engineering Degrees
Software Testing Courses
Telecommunications Degrees
Web Design Schools

Trade
Cosmetology Schools
Mechanic Schools
Transportation Degrees

=> All Degrees <=

Inside Graphic Designer Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

 

Biggest Surprises


"How Unpersonable Most Graphic Designers Are...
how unpersonable the people are. everyone is used to working by themselves and not having any interactions with people." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Coastline Community College in California; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Graphic Designers Can Do A Wide Range Of Work...
Most people are surprised that graphic designers can do a wide range of work such as car wrap, street signs and t-shirts. It is a satisfying job knowing that we can satisfy peoples various needs." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at Art Institute Online in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Work Moves Quickly...
I was surprised by how fast-paced everything is in design. Often we get work from a client who procrastinated, which pushes our own deadline up unrealistically. Often we're trying to turn work around by the end of the day, especially on Friday afternoons." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Visual Communication Design at University Of Dayton in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Freelance Design Is Definitely Not For Everyone...
What surprised me the most about working as a freelance graphic designer, is the gross undercuts in your pricing (compared to the industry standards) and the compromises you have to make in order to make your products more appealing than those of design firms. I would not recommend going the freelance route for to any young artist unless they prize their creative freedom much more than the value that their talent is worth. However, if that is a sacrifice you are willing to make, then the reward of unrestricted creative control will be worthwhile." (Freelance Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Maine, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Eastern New Mexico University in New Mexico in 2002


"The Jobs Vary Greatly...
My clients and work are extremely varied. I've never worked on two projects that are remotely similar." (Illustrator And Designer; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Medical Illustration at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland; completed Master degree in 2005


"Need A Wide Variety Of Program Knowledge...
Being a graphic designer doesn't mean there are going to be an endless flow of jobs and you report to someone. In fact you're going to be sending a large amount of portfolios to people trying to find work so make sure YOU HAVE A PORTFOLIO and make sure you're proud of it!" (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Graphic Designer at Arizona State University in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Computer Design Is A Great Career For Anyone Interested In Computer Arts...
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with AIH. I was usually in a team working on different projects. The team work was best for me since I am not as good on computers as some of the younger students. I am good at design or coming up with a different way to present the objective. The younger students are so creative and work so well with computers. The work on the programs and computers as well as with the students gave me a better feeling about the future for me as well as those students that I worked with" (Online Curriculum Design; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Multimedia Studies at Art Institute Of Houston in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2003


"Patience With Clients Is A Must...
I have been surprised by the lack of understanding that our clients have about what we do. Oftentimes they know very little of technology and know nothing of industry standards and best practices. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of telecommuting jobs that were available for the web design field, even if some required a new program be learned." (Graphic Designer (Web); 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at University Of Memphis in Tennessee in 2011


"Need To Keep Up With New Technology And Update Skills...
I've been surprised at how quickly the tools we use to do our job change and we need to keep up with those changes. Constant retraining is necessary for success." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Studio Art at University Of Vermont in Vermont; completed Bachelor degree in 1991


"Clients Can Sure Be A Pain...
I was surprised about how nitty-picky clients are and how much detail they take into account for everything." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Studio Art at Kent State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Thought And Thinking Is Very Important...
Surprise: Learning how much thought goes into a project and what the project can become." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Art Institute in North Carolina; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Points To Ponder When Considering A Career In Graphic Design...
I was told it was easy to find work in this field. However, once I began looking for a job, the competition was crazy. It took well over 200 applications before I received employment." (Graphic Web Designer; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Washtenaw College in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2008


"Graphic Design Is Probably Different Than What You Think...
Graphic design is a lot more than throwing something into photoshop or illustrator to make it look nice. Graphic design is making ideas come to life, and some times that involves directing other people instead of doing it yourself." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Studio Art (Graphic Design) at Grand Valley State University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Can Be Self-Taught...
I never took one computer or art class in college. Was able to teach myself every program that I use. This really surprised me at first. I am also surprised how bring and monotonous a "creative" job can be and how it can sap your ability to fond the energy to be creative outside of work." (Graphic Designer/Marketing And Communication; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Arkansas, female
School: Studied Liberal Arts W/ Concentrations In Biology, English, Psychology And Theatre at University Of Arkansas At Little Rock in Arkansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2001


"Creative Restrictions In Graphic Design...
The thing that would surprise others about my career is the lack of genuine creativity I am allowed to exercise. Work comes in from the customer, who has a predetermined expectation for how their advertisement will look and I simply build an ad from supplied pieces of art and information." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Journalism at Pennsylvania State University in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Disappointment Set In Post-Graduation...
no jobs" (Freelance; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Studio Art at ETSU in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 1998


"Many Opportunities And Varieties Of Application...
People aren't often aware of how ubiquitous design is. It's everywhere and there was often some design consideration in everything we see; from product designs and packaging at a big company like Apple, to junk mail, to editorials, web and experience design, and signage and wayfinding just to name a few. It's a huge field with so many exciting opportunities." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at College Of New Jersey in New Jersey; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Dealing With People More Than I Though...
Dealing with customers is annoying" (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Graphic Designer at ITT Tech in Indiana; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Many Aspects Of Graphic Design...
What surprised me most is that there are all kinds of Graphic Designers. There are those that design or create from scratch, but here are also those who do things like grocery store and pharmacy ads." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at University Of West Georgia in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 1996


"I Was Surprised How Much I Enjoyed Graphic Arts Compared To Traditional Arts...
I really wanted to get a degree in fine arts and I had a hard time accepting that there was more potential to gain employment through graphic arts. What I found most surprising is how much I enjoy it. I find it even more enjoyable than I had previously found painting and drawing. I always felt that graphic arts didn't take as much talent, but it does. It is very challenging and rewarding." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at Ocean County College in New Jersey; completed Associate degree in 2005


"Wide Scope Of Work...
The broad spectrum of career opportunities and the abundance of choice I have when choosing an employer. I also was surprised at the flexibility it offered as far as my schedule and balancing work and home life." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at Liberty University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"The Undervaluation Of Design Work By Designers Themselves...
What surprised me the most about my career is the undervaluation of freelance design work by designers. Only charging a negligible amount for design work only damages the entire industry." (Graphic Artist; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Spencerian College in Kentucky; completed Associate degree in 2002


"More Opportunities That Most Think...
People are often surprised how many graphic design jobs there are. But almost all companies need to work with a graphic designer or hire one at some point." (Graphic Artist; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Monroe Community College in New York; completed Associate degree in 2005


"Designing Graphics Is Fun...
Most people considering a career as a graphic designer would be surprised to discover how rewarding it is to help bring people's visions to life. Every project presents you with new challenges and opportunities to refine your skills." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at Columbia College Chicago in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Part Of The Job Is Explaining What You Actually Do...
I was mostly surprised by how many people really have no clue what a graphic designer does, even ones looking to hire one. A lot of people recommended applying to jobs you did not think you were qualified for because the HR department tended to ad whatever they thought was needed. While the people actually interviewing and looking as resumes were looking for someone more entry level." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Communication And Information Design at State University Of New York Institute Of Technology At Utica-Rome in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Landing And Keeping A Job...
I was surprised at how difficult it was to land a steady job. The staff positions for Graphic Designers are few and far between, so you mostly rely on contract work and networking. It has a surprisingly large amount of politics to it." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Mississippi, male
School: Studied Communications at University Of Southern Mississippi in Mississippi; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Degree Pricey And Not Worth It...
How worthless and expensive the degree was, and how little business-related skills we were taught that working freelancers need to know. There is a lot more to being an artist than drawing skills." (Illustrator And Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, female
School: Studied Drawing at Cleveland Institute Of Art in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"High Demand For Graphic Designers...
Most people are surprised about how many jobs you can qualify for if you have a degree in graphic design. The demand for people who are graphic designers often surprises people." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at Liberty University in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"There's More Beneath The Surface...
I was surprised to learn about exactly how much goes into being a graphic designer and all of the responsibilities. It's??s not just drawing or creating images, there is an entire process that you have to go through. You also have to have professional and people skills much like if you were working at a corporate job. You have to be able to do everything and be everything on your own." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at The Art Institute Online in Pennsylvania; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Jobs Where You May Least Expect Them...
Most people are surprised how many opportunities there are for graphic designers in a person's community. Most mom and pop places are more than willing to hire someone for simple projects, which look really good on a resume." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Animation at College Of Westchester in New York; completed Associate degree in 2005


"Broad Set Of Skills Developed...
Most people may be surprised about the other experiences and expertise a graphic designer can learn. Copy writing, producing, scheduling, purchasing and printing are commonly learned skills because they all work together to create the final advertising product." (Media, Graphics, Writer; 2013)

Career: 28 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Marketing at Winthrop University in South Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 1984


"Better Than Average Income...
I was surprised (and relieved) that my income level would be above the average for a graphic designer. Before going to my college, I heard that most of the graphic designers that attend it will end up working at Whole Foods, haha. I was lucky to land a position at a reputable studio while I was in my last year of school." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at University Of Illinois At Chicago in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Get Paid First...
What surprised me was the amount of people that tried to rip me off. They would try to get me to do work saying they would pay me later but never ended up doing so." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at CSUS Sacramento State in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Graphic Designers Need Web Skills Too...
I was surprised to see how many of my colleagues do not have a website, or do not have web design skills. When I went to school, we only offered one class for web design, but I could tell that was where a lot of jobs would be. It is really limiting for a career in graphic design if the designer is not familiar with designing for web standards, or knowing enough about coding to work with a developer." (Web Designer; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at The College Of St. Rose in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"I Was Surprised At The Speed The Graphics Design Field Has Grown...
I would say the biggest surprise has been the amount of people interested in this field. When I started it was nowhere near what it is today. It can be very hard, or demanding to secure a job with a good company. There's just so many talented people out there you have to always be improving or at the top of your game to compete with the massive amount of people wanting into graphic or web design." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, male
School: Studied Web And Graphics Design at PCC Portland Community College in Oregon; completed Certificate degree in 2009


"Designing For A Shirt Requires Many Computer Programs...
Most people are surprised about how much effort goes into a design for a shirt. A shirt needs to be designed on a computer and then the design is printed onto a clear plastic film. There are many programs needed." (Screen Print Preparer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Michigan Career And Technical Institute in Michigan; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"Graphic Design: Your Unique Skills May Be Highly Rewarded...
I was surprised by how lucrative graphic design can be if you establish a reputation as a "go-to" artist for a certain look or method of product promotion. Our family friend who did graphic design for ads like Apple Computer, IBM, et cetera is a millionaire and retired to Hawaii at age 45." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Art at George Washington University in District of Columbia; completed Bachelor degree in 1999


"The Wider Your Horizon The Better...
I was surprised at the amount of graphic designers looking for jobs now. The market is saturated with many of them and you need more knowledge of, web design, 3D animation, and other fields to rise on top." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Graphic Design/ Photography at Tyler Junior College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Make A Good Portfolio...
People think it would be easy to find work as a graphic designer. You need to have a pretty steady portfolio in order to get some work with it." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Indian River State College in Florida; completed Diploma degree in 2012


"An Enjoyable Working Environment...
The ability to be as creative as you want. Working with someone to get exactly what they are looking for is very rewarding. My work environment is extremely enjoyable. I love the people I work with." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Website And Graphic Design at Mars Hill College in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2000


"Varying Fields Of Employment Opportunity...
I was surprised about all at the sheer number of firms that need graphic designers. Everybody from software developers to game studios employ us!" (Graphics Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Georgia Southern Univeristy in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Not Many Women...
I was definitely surprised to find out how little women are in my career field. Even though it is more art than technical, the ration of men to women is still an absurd number." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Media Design at Full Sail University Online in Florida; completed Master degree in 2012


"TV Magic VS. Reality...
I am most surprised at how people believe that images and photos can be enhanced just like on CSI or other Crime Drama's on the television. Most do not realize that most of their faux enhancements are television magic, and that we cannot turn their tiny 2" x 3" photo into a large 36x60 poster without pix-elation." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Nevada, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at College Of Southern Nevada in Nevada; completed Certificate degree in 2010


"Flexible Hours And Fun Work...
It was surprising that this career is so enjoyable and how flexible the hours can be." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at University Of Memphis in Tennessee; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"Positions To Be Filled...
What surprised me the most about my profession is knowing that there are not many people in my field. This field could use much more students however the work is difficult unless you find shortcuts around it." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at Florida Agricultural *& Mechanical University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Everyone Thinks They're A Designer...
Depending on the place where you work, you may not get to be as creative as you think you may be able to (and as creative as you got to be in school). Many clients, even if they have no experience in commercial art or design, have very different ideas of what they want their finished product to look like, and in order to be successful you generally have to make the clients happy, even if you think their ideas don't look as good as something you might come up with without any input from them." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at Daytona State College in Florida; completed Associate degree in 1995


"Graphic Design Involves Many Different Media...
Graphic design can be a surprising profession because it is not just about making posters and brochures. Graphic design can involve magazine design, packaging design, information design, web design, interaction design, and mobile application design - it really is a much broader field than it used to be." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Savannah College Of Art And Design in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"It Takes Many To Make A Movie Poster...
Most people are surprised at the diversity of tasks that my job involves and seem completely mystified by it. How movie posters are designed and how many people with different skills work on a single poster." (Creative Director; 2013)

Career: 21 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Commercial Design And Advertising at Art Institute in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 1983


"Advertising Is Male Dominated...
Surprised how male dominated the advertising industry is. Women do work in the field, but principals/partners/presidents tend to be men." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Anthropology at University Of Hawaii in Hawaii; completed Bachelor degree in 1998


"Communicating A Web Site Takes A Lot Of Skill...
Most people are surprised at how much thought and insight it takes to design a web site that communicates appropriately to its audience. It takes a lot of skill to get the correct meaning translated to a web sites users." (Web Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, female
School: Studied Communication Design at Southern Illinois University in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 1994


"Your Creative Talent Is Not Used For Your Own Satisfaction, But For Your Clients...
I believe that the most surprising thing about my career is, your work has no regulated standard. Basically, if the client doesn't like your work, he or she will not pay for it. This means that you must really get in tune with your clients wants and needs, for the most part they are creating the project, you are just the executioner of their creation." (Chief Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at California State University Fullerton in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"The Media Landscape Changes Quickly...
I was surprised at how quickly the opportunities for digital and UI design grew while opportunities for print design began to disappear. Graphic design is a career that keeps you constantly challenged and learning due to the evolving media landscape." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Maine, female
School: Studied Communication Arts (Computer Graphics) at College Of New Rochelle in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Never Underestimate The Importance Of Attention To Detail...
When I first started working in Graphic Design for a large advertising firm, I was surprised at the level of detail required when proofreading a project. It is very important to be accurate in every aspect of a design job, from start to finish. There is no detail too small to overlook." (Webmaster / Administrator / Designer / Editor; 2013)

Career: 17 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Website Design, Content Management Systems, HTML Coding at WordPress Academy in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"Technology Shifts Focus Of Design Industry...
I was surprised how much competition there is in the field. I was also surprised (and still am) about the rate at which technology is shifting the field and it's focus." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Journalism at Central Michigan University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Creativity Isn't Really Appreciated In Most Graphic Design Jobs...
That true creativity isn't really appreciated. Instead graphic design is about re-working successful logos and art designs, so that they can be legally be used by someone new. It's pretty incestuous." (Graphic Design; 2014)

Career: , currently based in South Carolina, male
School: Studied Associates In Arts at Midlands Technical College in South Carolina; completed Associate degree in 1994


"People Need Personality Work...
I was surprised how people in the industry love to shit on your work. There are some good people but everyone thinks their stuff is better than yours. Huge Egos." (Art Director; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Environment Modeling at Full Sail University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"I was surprised how much attitude influences your commitment to the job and how others respond to you based on your attitude, especially when things get intense." (Production Freelance Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Art HIstory And Design at Pratt Insititute in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"I would say to any aspiring graphic design artists out there is to learn your craft. There are extensive drawing classes you have to pass in order to become certified. Also, it's a good idea if you don't try to work a job and go to school at the same time. Your grades are bound to suffer." (Graphic Design Artist; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at The Art Institute Of Los Angees in California; completed Associate degree in 2006


"In my field I was surprised to find out that being an artist doesn't only require good technical skills and creativity but great communication skills as well. You have to be sort of a "psychologist", extremely keen and attentive to the feelings of your client and their wishes. My profession also requires a great amount of patience, superb negotiation skills and ability to compromise and stay in tune with my client's vision when executing a project. I spend a great deal of time negotiating project details and specs with my clients and much of my work depends on smooth interpersonal communication." (Graphic Designer-Art Director; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Nevada, female
School: Studied Illustration at Fashion Institute Of Technology in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2003


"The amount of work needed to get the job done. Sometimes the clients are asking a lot with a very short deadline." (Designer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Art Institute Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; completed Associate degree in 2012


"The environment is much less fast paced than I expected it to be. Much more of the time is spent researching than creating designs than I expected." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at California State University Long Beach in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Understanding Photography Required...
I am surprised at how well you need to understand photography to be a graphic designer. You never think about that aspect of the job. It can be beneficial to manipulate your own photographs, so you should understand the techniques in order to take decent quality photos." (Graphic Designer; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at Denver Art Institute in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Number Of Businesses Making Cheap Sites...
I am surprised by the number of clients that use websites such as 99designs. These sites provide cheap but generic looking designs. It's important to educate individuals and business owners the importance of good branding." (Graphic Designer; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Visual Communications at The Illinois Institute Of Art in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2002


"Flexibility...
I am able to freelance and work from home while raising my 4 children. I am able to use my creativity effectively." (Graphic Designer; 2012)

Career: 19 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at William Paterson University in New Jersey; completed Bachelor degree in 1994


"Wide Range Of Environments...
I was surprised at how many different opportunities are available while working in this field. I can work for non profit organizations which I do now, I can work for ad agencies, printing shops, sports marketing, music or just freelance. I am also surprised at how quickly I realized that working for other people isn't my thing and instead I'd like to start my own business and run things my way." (Web/Graphic Designer; 2012)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Advertising Design at New York Institute Of Technology in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Working In The Fast Lane...
I was surprised at how fast paced this industry is. I talk to many different people throughout the day and everything is extremely quick thanks to technology." (Graphic Design; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Media Art at Miracosta in California; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Didn't Expect Client Interface Skills...
I was surprised at the one-to-one interpersonal skills I have had to develop in the field of web design. Whereas the college course taught me all about the subject and all the physical skills I required in order to create sites themselves, nothing prepared me for the process of having to deal with customers themselves and communicate exactly how we could achieve what they required from website design. I have to be able to decipher exactly what they are telling me what they need, translate that into code and then explain it to them in plain English again." (Website Designer; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Computing And Programming at Jamestown Business College in New York; completed Associate degree in 2010


"I was surprised to learn that as a graphic designer you rarely make art, but work that pleases your client. It was disappointing to realize most projects will not be exciting but will pay the bills." (Graphic Designer; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at MICA in Maryland; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"The lack of longevity of a job and the need to constantly switch companies to stay on top." (Graphic Artist; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Brooks College in California; completed Associate degree in 2002


"What surprised me most is how clients are more important than the artist. At first it made me want to leave the career. However, I have found a way to infuse art with what the client wants." (Graphic Designer; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Digital Media at Marist College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2002


"What surprised me about my profession is the lack of "Need" in this field. Jobs can only appear in a rare basis. For students, I suggest to either take being a Graphic Artist in full sail or not at all because you need to have well-rounded skills to meet demands. I was surprised that being a Graphic Artist requires a lot of patience. Potential customers will often be cynical and doubt your skills. What's surprising about my work is that I can just about do it from anywhere if I have a laptop. It is a pretty portable job." (Graphic Designer; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Pierce College in California; completed Certificate degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career


Freelance Graphic Designer: "The best part of being a Freelance Graphic Designer is being able to be your own boss. You have creative freedom over your thought process and your work direction. However, you have to understand that sometimes your vision will not match your client's vision or needs and you have to compromise. Also, as a freelance graphic designer you will have to be proactive about finding work and understanding legal and financial contracts and obligations. You will not have a boss telling you when something is due. You have to make sure your bills are paid, your clients are happy, and you have done everything necessary, both financially and legally." (2011)


Designer/Producer: "The best part of my career is that I get to create things that look beautiful while helping the community. I also get chances to win awards (I have won 2 Emmys and 6 PROMAX awards) and become a valued employee in my company. However, one of the downsides is that I can be stuck on a project that needs to be done quickly and cheaply, and this means that I do not have the time to put in my best work." (2011)


Web Designer: "The best part of the job is the ability to tap into my creativity and generate business for my clients. I love to see how their businesses are able to grow with my help. It can be difficult, however, to work on projects where I don't agree with the decisions of the client - particularly when their design aesthetics don't reflect mine, or when their decisions are driven by personal opinion and not user opinion." (2011)


Customer Service, Graphic Designer: "The best part of my career is the relaxed working environment. No suits or ties or business attire are required at my location. This helps to reduce stress and I believe helps promote creativity within my daily performance. The worst part of my career is that the entry level salary is a little low. If you put in the time and effort and make sure to network with others, there is plenty of room to advance and gain more income and knowledge along the way." (2011)


Senior Graphic Designer: "The best parts lie in acknowledgment of successfully completing a project. I love engaging a person with something I created. The worst part is the downtime boredom and the strain on my body from sitting at a desk. My eyes are constantly tired. My back gets kinked up. Deadlines and misunderstandings are also a pretty big thing. They can really add unneeded stress to a day." (2011)


Freelance Graphic Designer: "The best thing I enjoy about my job is the flexibility in schedule. I'm able work from home, but occasionally I'll take a day off to enjoy lunch with a friend, or go to a doctors appointment, or get groceries for the home. The worst thing would be the occasional loneliness that comes from working by myself all day. To combat that, I like to meet up with former classmates occasionally. Also, because I'm my own boss, I need to make sure I stay on task to get things done." (2011)


Graphic Artist: "The best parts of my career are all influenced by the creative side of the industry. I have the ability to think outside the box and use my creativity to aid in the concept of the art and sculpture we would like to provide to our clients. I also have the ability to work with various creative minds, such as the artists we contract for such jobs, which opens me up to an alternative set of creative thinking. The downside of the career would be some of the strict and stringent deadlines involved. Often, with the creative process, timelines can almost be a hinderance to the creative process." (2011)


Graphic Designer: "The best part of my job is creativity. Every job is different in many ways. One day I may be working on a mail order catalog for coffee items, and the next I may be working on trade booth materials for a software company. Sometimes my creativity is limited by the client who already has vision while other clients give me no boundaries. The worst part of my job may be the very strict deadlines on some projects. Very often a client does not realize the time that goes into a project and needs something within a week a two, which is possible if all things go well, but more often than not the client changes their view mid-way through the job requiring many more hours on my part." (2011)


Senior Graphic Designer: "The best part of my job is using my creativity in a lot of different ways in different media and a variety of projects: anything from a web site re-design to creating custom graphics for a big trade show. The worst is that sometimes you're stuck in your own ways and you need to push yourself hard to come up with an innovative solution. It can be very frustrating. But in the end, if you pull it off, it can be very rewarding as well." (2010)


Sports Publishing Production Manager: "The best thing about my job is getting to work in sports publishing while retaining a normal 8AM to 5PM schedule. When I worked in the sports department of a daily newspaper, I worked late into the night and didn't have much of a life outside of work. This schedule is much better for someone who now has a family and small children, The worst part is I no longer get to do the writing and editing I used to do at my previous jobs. While I still get to do some of that, I don't do nearly as much and I miss it." (2010)


Illustrator: "The worst part of my job is dealing with clients who undervalue my abilities because they don't think illustration is work. They get this idea because they think it's easy due to an artist's natural abilities or the enjoyment of their career. The best part of my job is that it's incredible to make a living at doing something you love and no two assignments are ever the same." (2010)


Print And Graphic Design: "The worst part is people don't always accurately proof the document and sometimes provide wrong information. In order to maintain the business, we usually have to take responsibility for the mistake which often is discovered after the job is processed. The best part is that the jobs are usually done right, delivered and paid. We are always proud of the work and finished product or it doesn't go out the door. Owning the business gives us control over that." (2010)


Graphic Design/Production Manager: "The best part of my job is that I get to be creative. I design in Creative Suite using both Indesign and Photoshop. Both programs are fun to use and help you to be very creative. The worst part of my job is when we get very busy. Sometimes I have to design many pieces at the same time. It is difficult to come up with multiple ideas that are fresh and interesting. Sometimes it is challenging to know all the aspects of each program. You must always educate yourself." (2010)


Graphic Designer: "The best part of my job is designing something for a client that is original and personal, suited just for his or her company or goal. I love "creating something out of nothing". The worst part of my job is the billing, selling and accounting portion of owning your own business. This takes time away from designing, illustrating, photo manipulating and copy writing which is what designers really went into business for in the first place." (2009)

Career Background


Graphic Designer

  Salaries
  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips


"Don't Take It Personally...
Being a successful designer requires being patient with your client and learning how to not take it personally when a client doesn't fall in love with a design you just worked on for hours. Being patient and flexible are key." (Graphic Designer; 2014)


"Education Does Not End With College...
Building a portfolio, continuing to add to said portfolio and continuing education is the key to success in the graphic design field. Technology is always changing, so once graduating, do not think that will be the end of your education!" (Graphic Designer; 2014)


"Business Skills Are Important For Freelancers...
If you are planning to be a freelance graphic designer, take some business courses. It will become invaluable when you are trying to manage the ins and outs of running your own practice, however small." (Graphic Designer; 2014)


"Always Keep Striving To Learn More...
If you want to be successful in the design world, be open to change and the possibility of new technologies. Never stop learning about design and what you don't know, it will help you in the long run." (Graphic Designer; 2014)


"A Successful Graphic Design Career Is All About Theft...
Learn to spot what works in other peoples successful designs. Being able to dissect the "formula" and re-work popular designs will make pleasing your clients much easier." (Graphic Design; 2014)


"Network With Your Colleagues...
Keep in contact with all of your classmates and collaborate with them when you get the chance. It will only make you a better artist, and may help with landing a job." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Design Your Own Movie Posters...
If you want to get in the business of designing movie posters you should jump right in and do some of your own designs with photography you can find in Photoshop. The school you go to isn't as important as what is in your portfolio which proves that you have a natural 'sense' of how to do it. It's a specialized niche of advertising and not everyone has the ability to turn a two hour film into a single print image. Then just get into an agency at a low rung and learn the ropes." (Creative Director; 2013)


"Little Projects Add Up In Experience...
Everyone wants a person with a lot of experience on their resume. If you can't get into a company, try and get as many little graphics projects as you can." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Picking A Concentration...
Be open minded when considering your concentration. Consider earning potential and don't be afraid to give something a try." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"How To Become Better At Graphic Design, And Make Companies Seek Your Skills...
Creativity is huge. You have to be different, and cutting edge always coming up with something new and innovative. Clients want something new and fresh not old boring stuff. That would be my answer be as creative as you can. Practice a lot come up with new ways to do things that are different. You want people to go wow I've never seen that how did they do that? Once you have that the rest will come in time." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Get Out In The Real World And Don't Just Sit On The Computer...
Don't shut yourself in behind a computer and just slave away" (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Look For Local Jobs To Build Your Portfolio...
I good start to finding that first job would be to ask around people you know, and see if they need you to design something for them. Even if they do not always pay you these jobs will help your build your design portfolio, and you can sometimes add them to your resume." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Customer Satisfaction Is Top Priority...
Always keep up with software upgrades and new filters that can really make your work better. Always send a proof to the customer before making the final product." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Graphic Design: Your Unique Style Is Your Brand...
Try to work in your own distinctive style which is visually identifiable to the client. Versatility is a virtue but your "brand" as an artist is a more valuable commodity than producing many different styles" (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Keep Your Own Work...
Never give out your design template and layers. You created them and they are yours. Only give out the product that the customer paid for. Everything else created is your intellectual property. Also make sure you get paid up front. Many people will try to rip you off." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Take In Information And Ideas For Inspiration...
Get inspired. Look at other people's work. Don't copy it, but try to understand it and recognize what's good/bad about it. Knowledge is a great thing to have as a designer." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Keep Learning And Challenging Yourself...
If you want to open more doors and more career possibilities as a graphic designer, don't be afraid to take on projects that you have not done before, and learn as much as you can. Learning doesn't stop after graduation, there are tons of new technologies and design standards that change every year. Keeping up on them is a great way to show you are committed to being a great designer." (Web Designer; 2013)


"You Have To Be An Entire Design Firm, All By Yourself...
Be aware of the industry standards for pricing, when you quote a project to your customer. You will be doing far more work than any one person in a larger company, yet will have to accept less payment, but do not sell yourself too short. Make sure you have solid samples of your work to provide your customer, utilize your time wisely, and be willing to compromise. You will be responsible for your own reputation." (Freelance Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Do What You Love...
Stick to what you actually enjoy doing and you will be able to go farther." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Designers Need To Learn To Code...
Many design-related employers are increasingly requiring their employees to have some degree of technical skill involving web programming and/or creative code. It's no longer possible to pigeonhole oneself as an exclusively print-based designer." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Have A Creative Eye For Detail...
If you want to begin designing shirts, you need to be creative and artistic. A fine eye for detail will help you catch any mistakes that may arise." (Screen Print Preparer; 2013)


"Make Sure To Learn Business Skills For A Freelance Art Career...
If you want to be a successful freelancer in illustration or graphic design, you should not go to a private art school. Take classes in different areas; you will need to know business skills and how to negotiate a contract." (Illustrator And Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Practice...
Always practice" (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Relocate To Progressive Area Or Look Into Self-Employment...
Relocate to progressive area." (Freelance; 2013)


"Networking Is Essential...
Networking is the most important aspect of graphic design work. The more people you know the easier it will be to find a job." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Work Hard, Share Creativity, Look For Opportunities To Show Off...
Do not look for a job with your dream career. Go out, get the job working with computers and you will have the opportunity to show what you can do, practice what you know, and before you know it, your job will grow. Or you will meet contacts that will give you the opportunity for other openings." (Online Curriculum Design; 2013)


"Seek Like-Minded Others When Freelancing...
You should seek work for other creative people who need work done but are not skilled in graphic design. They are more likely to allow you to experiment." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Communication Is Key...
If you want to be a successful web designer, you should be able to communicate clearly all while listening to your clients needs." (Web Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Tricks Of The Graphic Design Trade...
Be ready to revise, revise, revise your work. Typically, have something glaring that they might obviously want to change without having to change much else." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Sublimate Your Own Ego...
If you want to be a successful designer you have to be willing to sublimate your own creative desire and work within the brand given to you. There are opportunities for your creativity to lead the project but for the most part you will be designing within strict confines, learn to deal with it." (Graphic Designer/Marketing And Communication; 2013)


"Learn From Successful Professionals...
If you want to excel in the career of graphic design, learn as much as you can from the artists and creative directors that you will work with. Spend as much time as you can with them. Ask many questions and take a lot of thorough notes. There is so much more to learn about this career than you can ever learn in a classroom." (Media, Graphics, Writer; 2013)


"Know What You Want...
It helps to know what kind of graphic design job you want, and to focus on improving the skills for that job during college. This way, you can graduate with a polish portfolio that showcases your best skills for the job you want." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Gaining Experience In Your Field...
Get all the experience you can from any source. Whether the experience you get is from a small business or a large one, it is still experience." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Design School Not Necessary To Be Successful In Design Field...
It is possible to succeed in the graphic design industry without studying design in school. Look for entry level production positions, which will help you develop your technical skills - the design skills will come with time." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Be Careful Doing Work For Friends...
If you work for someone in the "friend" category, either do work for free so you get total say in what you do and they can't get upset if you don't have enough time to work in it, or work for full price, hourly. If you do work for an extreme "friend" discount they'll demand full attention and control, and get mad if it takes too long. It will end up being way more trouble than it's worth." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Can't Take Critique, Stay Away From Big Business. Go Into Business For Yourself...
Learn customer service skills, or go into business for yourself. It is very difficult for someone to critique your creative skills, but it is a necessary adjustment." (Chief Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Photoshop Training...
Get familiar with Adobe Creative Suite and learn to use it. This program will be the basis for which your work comes to life and it is vital that you understand the system." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Enhance Your Portfolio...
Don't rely solely on things you've done for somebody else in your portfolio. Anything you've created for fun/for yourself goes a long way." (Graphics Designer; 2013)


"Thought And Thinking Is Very Important...
Continue to design everyday and learn as much as you can. Also apply what you learn." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Look Before You Leap...
It would be a good game pan to start out working at a graphic design firm. This is an easy way for you to get clients and add to your portfolio. Another thing you might try is networking while you are in school with your classmates, teachers, and just about anyone you come into contact with so that you have some sort of a start once you finish school." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Workload Varies...
If working for yourself, the workload comes and goes. Sometimes there is little work, and sometimes it is overwhelming. Not having a consistent income can be challenging." (Illustrator And Designer; 2013)


"Never Settle For Less Than What Your Time Is Worth...
When starting a freelance design business, never undervalue your own work. A logo may only take you an hour or so to come up with, but your client isn't paying only for the time it takes to physically create the logo - they are paying for the design education, the research into the clients field and competition, and the expense of the hardware and software used to produce the final logo image." (Graphic Artist; 2013)


"Get Your Name Out There...
Network with a lot of people. Get out and be social and get to know everyone you can. The more you know the more work you can get and the more they will want to work with you and pass it around." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Do It Yourself...
I would tell a student to work hard outside of class. I self educated student is always going to be the better student" (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"The Importance Of Building Your Portfolio...
To be successful, take the first job that is offered. At the very least, you will have a chance to build your portfolio, which is extraordinarily important." (Graphic Web Designer; 2013)


"A Pointer For A Learner...
Don't let anybody get you down. You will succeed if you try." (Art Director; 2013)


"Web Designing Required Code Knowledge...
If you want to be a successful web designer, maker sure that you learn as many languages as possible. While many jobs do not require you to know the code, it is almost impossible to design without it." (Graphic Designer (Web); 2013)


"An Error-Free, Flexible Working Style...
If you are seeking a career in Graphic Design or website design, it is important to have a wide working knowledge of computer graphics software, and a flexible working style. There will be many projects happening at the same time, so organization is key. You must be able to start or stop a design project at a moment's notice, and refocus your creativity without errors." (Webmaster / Administrator / Designer / Editor; 2013)


"Network...
Network. There are so many jobs you will probably never see unless you know people." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Try A Variety Of Work Settings...
If you are starting out try temp or freelance positions in a variety of settings to see what best suits you. Some people enjoy the deadline-driven variety of an agency, others prefer working in a corporate in-house department setting." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Work On Portfolio...
Focus on your portfolio even if you're not getting paid for it, you can even work on it in your down time." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Never Compromise Quality...
In most design situations I have been in, it seemed to help the most in being open-minded to what the employer/customer wants. But do not compromise your quality and never agree to anything you would not be comfortable having your name on." (Graphic Artist; 2013)


"Get Experience While Learning...
Try to take up on designing for small time companies or self-employees that need designs done for their business. If all goes well, you can use it to help you work for bigger companies." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Put Your Ego Aside And Be Objective...
Put tons of effort into conceptual thinking, making your portfolio solid and having a wide variety of interests. Always ask why you're doing any particular thing. Unlike fine art where you're asking questions or expressing yourself, in design you are being objective and solving someone's problem." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Popular Design Programs...
Learn all that you can. Technology changes everyday. Be up to date on the most popular programs. Every company uses something different. Learn as much Photoshop and Illustrator as you can." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Develop A Unique Design Sense...
Develop an aesthetic sense or trademark style; I feel this is more important than learning the technical aspects (although of course you must know all of that too). Explore different styles in your work, research different art styles. That way you'll have a wide range of aesthetic experience to choose from. But definitely specialize; I find it easier to get work when I'm known for a particular "look" or artistic style." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Consider Photography And Web Design Courses...
Make sure that you absorb all the graphic design courses that you can. It also might be helpful to take photography and web design classes as well. You would be amazed at how often those things overlap. A graphic designer who can also be a photographer or a web designer is invaluable and you open yourself up for a lot more job opportunities. It's also important to be good at proof reading. Lastly, make sure that if you become a freelancer, that you understand business objectives, laws, and regulations. You need to be good at handling money, understanding the law, and planning for future endeavors. Design jobs don't fall in your lap. You have to go out and find them." (Freelance Graphic Designer; 2011)


"Demo Reel Is Key...
Tip one: Have with you a very killer demo reel. If you are perusing a career in graphics or animation you need to let your potential employer see that you are capable of doing the job that they are hiring for. Put your best work in the reel and only the work that is relevant to the job description. Do not put a clip of a 3D character you animated if the job calls for an illustrator. Tip two: Demonstrate that you are interested in growing and improving the company that you may be working for. Reassure them that you are not just using them as a stepping stone to another company or career and that you genuinely care about the future of the company." (Designer/Producer; 2011)


"Dissect Well-Designed Sites...
Build up as much experience in design as you possibly can - through design courses, studying other successfully designed sites, etc. View the source code for sites that you like and see if you can figure out how they coded the site to see how it works. Be sure to learn to code your html and css from scratch. Tools such as Expressions Web and Dreamweaver can be wonderful, but there is no substitute for solid coding skills. Beside your designs, it is what separates the good designers from the great ones." (Web Designer; 2011)


"Know About Machinery...
I would suggest taking several courses in graphic design. concentrate on software programs such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator. These programs are used quite frequently in graphic design and in the world of printing. I would also try to get to know the machinery necessary for working in a print shop or copy center such as large printers, PC and Mac platforms, and bindery equipment. Developing skills and knowledge for this equipment will make you stand out when applying for a position early in your career." (Customer Service, Graphic Designer; 2011)


"Natural Ability Required...
If you don't have any natural artistic ability, you may want to reconsider this career field. Being a Graphic Designer of any kind is not just about learning the programs. ANYONE can do that. Those are just the tools. Everyone can use a pencil, but not everyone is an artist with that pencil. That being said, it is more important to stay on top of your craft's trends rather than your software's latest update." (Senior Graphic Designer; 2011)


"Purchase Adobe Creative Suite...
Make sure you have the proper software: save up to buy the Adobe Creative Suite, it will have everything you need. Carry a sketchbook wherever you go. An idea can come at you at any moment, and it would be nice to be able to jot it down. Read books on graphic design and designers. Learn the "rules" of graphic design. Never let anyone tell you no! Take classes. VCU has one of the best graphic design programs out there, and I feel like I learned so much more than I would have if I just started right out after high school." (Freelance Graphic Designer; 2011)


"Stay On Top Of New Software...
Time management is essential, as this job has many hard deadlines followed by down time. It is also vital to continue to educate yourself on the latest graphic software even after you get your degree. Most degrees are not all-encompassing, and can only teach you tips and techniques on what is already out there, and not what may be to come. Also, gain a wide variety of experience, as your goal might one day be to run your own creative firm." (Graphic Artist; 2011)


"Well Rounded Portfolio...
Begin early with all types of art classes. Computer skills and working knowledge of design programs are a must as all designing is done on a computer today. Having a well rounded portfolio showing all aspects of your artistic ability in both 2D and 3D. Photography is a big part of graphic design and having that background and knowledge is a huge help. As a graphic designer it is your responsibility to have a full understanding of your client's needs, so a not-so-obvious skill is communication and listening." (Graphic Designer; 2011)


"Develop Your Own Style...
Allow your creative self to thrive but also work hard on consistency and developing your own unique style. Be an advocate of your own ideas but don't push them too hard if they don't work for your client. Work with the client to find the right solution. Never think you've done your best work. The best is yet to come." (Senior Graphic Designer; 2010)


"Know All Aspects Of Business...
1. Make yourself familiar with all aspects of the business: finances, editing, writing, design and the relevant software. 2. The job requires you to work closely with people who have different agendas. Writers, for example, don't want their stories cut down so you can run a larger photo or make a page more visually appealing. You need to know how to pick your battles and be persuasive and easy to work with. 3. Publishing is a pressure-packed, deadline-driven business. You need to focus on handling the pressure at work and learn how to let it go as you walk out the door each day." (Sports Publishing Production Manager; 2010)


"Practice Drawing Constantly...
Never stop drawing. As with most things you can get out of practice. Learn from artists who came before you. The masters have worked out all the same problems you'll ever come across. Don't get discouraged or take personal criticism of your artwork personally. Definitely pursue a career in art if you love it, even if some say you'll never make any money. You may not make as much as in some other jobs, but you'll be happy. After all no one ever says, "I wish I couldn't draw."" (Illustrator; 2010)


"Printing Business Under Siege...
Technology and the internet are taking much of our business away. Many people will lower their standards of quality for a lower price and go with copies instead of offset printing, especially in a poor economy. Also, many large companies are selling over the internet for very low prices. Owning your own business means that you always have to be there and do what the customer wants, if you want to stay in business." (Print And Graphic Design; 2010)


"Trust Your Skills...
I would say the best advice is to have a lot of confidence in your design work. Make sure you listen to the client and give them what they want. Also, staying under budget is very important." (Graphic Design/Production Manager; 2010)


"Take Accounting If You Plan To Go Solo...
Take a work-study job or an internship even if it is non-paying. This will give you experience you cannot get in the classroom environment. I would also recommend taking some accounting courses if you plan on running your own firm. Lastly, if you are even slightly interested in Web work vs. print work, I would recommend taking more courses in HTML, Java script, Dreamweaver and other web-based scripts because a person with three years experience can command the same salary I can as a "print" designer with 20 years experience. I cannot explain this other than to say, corporate America just seems to value web-based skills more than print-based skills." (Graphic Designer; 2009)