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Career Advice

What Do Graphic Designers Do?

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated December 20, 2016

Think Graphic Designers are just professional doodlers? Think again. Graphic Designers use images, typography and animated graphics to communicate a wide array of visual information for print and online media.

Graphic Designers’ main task is conveying information with design. They partner with marketing, copy and strategy to understand a problem or need, and solve it visually. Designers use photography, fonts and other design elements to offer an explanation, provide instructions or guide behavior. Good design is not just beautiful—it’s considered successful when its impact can be clearly measured or quantified.

Sound like it might be up your alley? Read on to learn more about this creative role.

What Skills Are Helpful?


Graphic Designers have an artistic eye, and value aesthetics. Like fine artists, they use art as a medium to communicate visually. Specifically, they use design to solve problems and help viewers clearly interpret a specific or targeted message. And they do more than draw, choose fonts and navigate Photoshop and other Adobe Creative Apps. While it is helpful to be proficient in these programs—and often necessary to know how to use them for more lucrative or competitive roles—they may not be needed for all design jobs.

Even more important is a foundational understanding of aesthetics and analytics. They know the value of visual communication for traditional and print media. They know how to integrate typography, fonts and visual treatments to tell a story and send a message.

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Some graphic designers may choose to specialize in emerging media fields: this means they’re a designer specifically for platforms like apps, mobile web, desktop web, video and other interactive media. Regardless of the medium, design is the common language spoken.

For designers, a keen sense of attention to detail and strong organizational skills are essential. The ability to recognize visual patterns and healthy eyesight are also helpful. An efficient graphic designer thinks visually, and can clearly articulate a thought process. Seasoned graphic designers have honed an aesthetic point of view, so it may help to know what yours is—or will be—if you are considering this field.

What is a Graphic Designer’s Career Trajectory?

Graphic designers can work in-house at a specific company, work at a creative agency for a variety of clients or even freelance for individuals who want more flexibility. Many Art Directors and Creative Directors begin their careers with experience in Graphic Design.

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Other individuals may choose to work for an advertising or strategic agency where an account team is responsible for driving new business. Others could choose to pursue freelance work and build their own client base.

Design is an important role, so there are many ways to pursue Graphic Design professionally. With a wide range of possibilities and growth opportunities, a career in Graphic Design provides those with a creative side to pursue a rewarding and satisfying career.