Remember when Kim Kardashian broke the internet? That didn’t just happen out her sheer will. Of course, there was her will, and a photographer, but in the end, a graphic designer was responsible for the beautiful breakage. Breaking the internet isn’t the only thing graphic designers do. Typically, they make the internet by producing things like banner ads, website designs, and even viral memes.
Aside from the online world, graphic designers can work in print as well, deigning things like billboards, print ads, flyers and brochures. Graphic designers are also responsible for those beautiful holiday cards you’re sending out.
So, how exactly does that work? Firstly, graphic designers need to be trained. Different schools offer different kinds of graphic design education but there are some core basic skills you need to have mastered before hitting the job market. These skills include composition, layout, digital paint and illustration, typography, prepress production, and photo manipulation. After training, a graphic designer can work with a specific company like an online or print magazine, or even small companies like insurance companies. A degree in graphic design from Platt College preps its graphic designer trainees for multimedia careers, such as production art, advertising and graphic design, illustration, layout art, and web page design.
First, the designer will receive direction from the client, or their superiors. Certain specifics may apply to their design, like a color palette or use of a logo. They will most likely be creating several different types of designs. These can be part of an ad campaign or simply a packet of designs for flyers, brochures and letterhead. It is important that they listen to the client and consider the feeling they are aiming to spark in their clients.
After the client meeting, they will produce a proof to submit to the client. Using skills like photo manipulation, typography, and digital design they can create designs combining elements like photos, text and digital drawings into one piece. They also use basic art skills like color theory and layout, which are especially important when designing things like a magazine layout that includes type as well.
Most likely, the client will provide feedback and the designer will modify the piece accordingly. After final approval, the designer will prepare the design for printing, or digital posting. In printing, it is extremely important that the designer has expertise in color-matching, or making sure your print color matches your design on the computer. Colors are always different in print. If the design is not printing, but going somewhere online, or an application for a digital device like a phone or tablet, it is important for the designer to make sure the design is the appropriate size, that it is the correct resolution, and that it is a format that will be accessible across all platforms and browsers. Graphic designers may even be responsible for maintaining websites that they have designed.
It is extremely important that graphic designers keep up with current design trends and skills. They can do this easily by following other designers on social media, and even learning new techniques in Youtube videos! They can also keep taking classes to keep their skills sharp and current.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2014, the median pay for graphic designers was $44,150 or $21.22 per hour. There are incredible benefits to consider when thinking about becoming a graphic designer, like the option to be your own boss, or getting paid to create pieces of art, or make or break the internet.