Thanks to the digital revolution (and perhaps the pandemic), brands now have more online exposure. We all know that content is king, but videos, images, and aesthetic designs are increasingly capturing the attention of internet users. As a result, brands aren’t simply spending on art and graphic designers but also getting a high return on investment.
So, do you want to be a part of this high-demanding job field? If your answer is yes, this ultimate guide on entry-level graphic design jobs is exactly what you need!
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Why Should You Consider Entry-Level Graphic Designer Jobs?
As mentioned, graphic designers are in strong demand right now. They work in every facet of businesses, from corporate branding and promotional items to web design and print production.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) shows that jobs with the highest growth rate are graphic designers working in computer system designs and similar services. During the 2018 – 2028 decade, these professionals expect to see a 24% increase in opportunities.
Meanwhile, graphic designers working for book, periodical, newspaper, and directory publishers are expected to see a 22% decrease in jobs. This is primarily because more and more media is becoming available online. According to the BLS, by 2028, approximately 8,800 new graphic design jobs will be created. Graphic designers who keep up with the latest technology and software typically get the best opportunities.
Either way, there is a significant growth potential for graphic designers shortly. The Design Management Institute (DMI) shows that design-driven businesses outperformed the S&P by a whopping 219 percent between 2004 and 2014. Moreover, 67% of small businesses think that the importance of graphic design to brand success will grow exponentially in the next five years. Even during or after the COVID-19 pandemic, brands need digital graphic designers to attract online customers more than ever.
What Does An Entry Level Graphic Designer Do?
As a graphic designer, your job is to create visual concepts to deliver ideas that inspire, inform, and captive customers. This process can be done with the help of computer software or by hand. In the modern days, though, technology makes it less time-consuming for graphic artists, so they have more room for creativity.
Graphic designers typically do the following:
- Consult with clients or art directors to determine the scope of a project.
- Use digital illustration and software such as photo editing or layout to create designs.
- Create visual elements (logos, original images, or illustrations, for example) to assists in the delivery of a message.
- Layout design, including color, image, and typeface selection.
- Present the drafts to clients or art directors.
- After clients or art directors suggest improvements, incorporate them into the final design.
- Review the final layouts before they are printed or published.
As you can see, aside from professional skills like creativity, aesthetics, and technology, being a graphic designer also requires communication. Firstly, the job is all about communicating through images. Secondly, while working, you need to articulate your ideas to companies, clients, employers, etc. Therefore, it requires both public verbal skills for presentation and writing skills for proposals.
Another thing you need to utilize is time management. This skill is crucial, especially when you want to find telecommute graphic design jobs. You should be able to multitask, juggle several assignments over time, and meet all the established deadlines.
Top 6 Entry-Level Graphic Design Jobs
Perhaps you already know, but graphic design is not a single discipline. There are a variety of specializations within the field. Some graphic designers are generalists and might work on several areas simultaneously, but most of them, especially freshers, only specialize in a particular type.
Below are the top 6 entry-level graphic design jobs. Let’s get straight into each.
Web & User Interface Design
Web & UI – UX designers are, of course, those in charge of creating designs for web and apps. If you want to become a web & UI – UX designer, you should expect to work on projects like landing pages, marketing websites, app designs, game interfaces, or WordPress sites. Yes, as you are reading this post, you are looking at the work of a web & UI designer!
Aside from having a solid grasp of design principles, these fantastic people should also understand user experience design and basic coding principles.
The online market is growing day by day, so is web & UI designers’ income. Statistics on Glassdoor.com show that the national average salary of web & UI – UX designers is $93,653 per year in the United States. There is no surprise that UI designers recently ranked 5th on a Glassdoor list of jobs with the best work-life balance with this rate.
To learn more about web design jobs, check this post!
Brand Identity Design
When you mention graphic design, most people will think of creating logos. However, it is only a part of a broader specialization known as brand identity.
In addition to logo design, identity designers determine the overall style of a brand’s visual presence. They create color palettes, establish the visual concept a business will apply, decide on typography, and make other accompanying visual elements as part of this.
According to ZipRecruiter and Payscale, by August 17th, 2021, the average annual salary of brand identity designers in the U.S is $73,023 per year.
Entry-Level Graphic Design Jobs – Packaging Design
Physical products require packaging. Someone must be in charge of designing from cereal boxes to clothing tags. That’s when we need packaging designers.
A graphic designer needs a strong understanding of the brand and customers’ behavior to work in this position. They are knowledgeable about color theory, typography, and any laws or regulations governing the information that must appear on packaging (such as nutrition facts).
The average annual pay for a packaging designer is $71,135 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.
Entry-Level Graphic Design Jobs – Graphic Illustration
Perhaps when you enter the graphic design field, you might not think about illustration immediately. However, illustrators are in high demand in recent years as brands continuously seek custom illustration works for their online presence.
As a graphic illustrator, your job is to create all kinds of illustrations for commercial and editorial purposes. Furthermore, you are in charge of artworks that live on websites and social media. Most of the time, graphic illustrators will do their job digitally, but some also use analog tools to create sketches before digitalizing their works.
Glassdoor statistics show that the national average salary for graphic illustrators is $50,938 per year in the United States.
Marketing & Advertising Design
Regardless of appearing online or in print, marketing and advertising design are crucial components of any brand’s promotional strategy. Graphic designers working in marketing and advertising mainly create print/digital advertisements, social media graphics, banners, marketing emails, brochures/posters, etc.
Because marketing and advertising’s primary goal is to persuade consumers to buy or sign up for a product, graphic designers in this field must equip themselves with knowledge of behavioral psychology aside from their professional skills.
As shown on Salary.com, as of July 28th, 2021, the average Marketing Graphic Designer salary in the United States is $45,653 per year. However, the salary range can fall between $38,963 and $52,358.
Print & Publication Design
If you choose the path of a print & publication designer, you will have your hands on all sorts of print-related products. Some notable examples are book covers, magazine & newspaper layouts, menu design, album covers.
Graphic designers in the print & publication industry need to familiarize themselves with the principle of good designs and the technical specifications of creating print-ready files.
Looking at ZipCruiter and other sites, we can see that the annual pay for a print graphic designer in the United States is $42,592 per year. This is the statistics as of August 17th, 2021.
Essential Toolset For Entry-Level Graphic Design Jobs
No matter which field you choose to kickstart your career as a graphic designer, it is crucial to equip yourself with a great hardware setup. It helps you save your time and effort, so you have more room to unleash your creativity. Here are our recommendations for hardware options.
GPU And VRAM
A GPU (graphic processing units) can be included within the processor or used as a stand-alone unit. For all but the most basic graphic design, a dedicated GPU is solid.
If the GPU you choose between a desktop and a workstation unit, choose the latter. Workstation GPUs tend to be more sturdy.
When you select a dedicated graphic card, it will have memory (referred to as VRAM). As a short-term bank for the files you presently have open, any type of memory can be used. A minimum of 1 GB of VRAM is recommended for complex tasks.
The central processing unit (CPU), also known as a processor, directs all the computer’s components. As a graphic designer, what matters to you is the number of cores and the processor’s speed. For the most part, a quad-core CPU with a speed of 1GHz is the minimum need.
The storage drive can either be a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). The main difference between these two is the technology used to store and retrieve data. While an HDD uses mechanical platters as a moving read/write head to access data, an SSD keeps data on instantly accessible memories chips.
HDD is more economical and provides more storage space. On the other hand, SSD is faster, lighter, more flexible, and consumes less energy. It’s up to you to decide which one works best for you.
You shall need at least a 512 GB SSD or a 720 GB HHD. If you have to deal with multiple large files, though, larger hard disks are recommended. If you are getting a new hard disk, make sure to check out its speed. You can find out the speed of the storage drive by looking at the RPM (Revolutions Per Minute). The faster it is, the more efficient you will be. The minimum speed should be 7200 RMP.
Check out this SSD option with a recorded read speed of 563MBps and write speed of 522MBps, which is considered one of the fastest SATA drives according to Amazon users with an affordable price:
Unlike VRAM, which is entirely used by the graphics card, memory or RAM (random access memory) works separately. The processor uses RAM to keep information for the files you are working on. This allows you to switch between different files and programs. The minimum amount of RAM is 16GB.
In case you find that new apps demand more RAM than you originally purchased, you can upgrade, add or replace memory for most computers.
The peripherals you attach to the computer are the final components to consider. If you’re looking for a computer, be sure it has both wire and wireless connectors. A variety of connections makes your equipment more flexible. This is especially important if you meet with clients and don’t exactly know what’s available.
For home usage, it is more convenient to get monitors for your laptop. Get at least a 20-inch external monitor with the most excellent pixel density and resolution possible for external monitors. Keep a close eye on color accuracy.
Desktop Or Laptop?
Choosing between a desktop or laptop can be difficult. Although a desktop computer is often quicker and more powerful than a laptop, it is certainly not portable. Meanwhile, screen size and interchangeability of components are often reduced to make a laptop come in handy.
It is best to own both, but it requires extra effort to ensure that files are stored on the correct device and software is kept compatible across both. In addition, two computers might not be within your financial plan.
If you like to start with an efficient and light-weight laptop, you can go with this Dell model:
According to Creativebloq and Quora users, it features one of the best screens you can find on a laptop, which allows your projects to look their very best. Along with an intel core i7 and 16GB RAM in such a thin body, it is undoubtedly an ideal choice for those who want both work efficiency and flexibility at the same time.
Preparation To Find A Graphic Design Jobs
While some graphic designers do use a college degree to get into the creative field, it is not compulsory. Many companies choose entry-level designers solely based on their portfolio and experience rather than whether or not they have a degree.
A Bachelor’s degree in graphic design or related majors like arts and sciences certainly is excellent. However, if the circumstance doesn’t allow you to obtain one, an associate’s degree also works well. What matters is your skill, creativity, and portfolio.
It doesn’t matter which degree you are working on. You will need solid work experience to improve your skills and add to your portfolio. You can begin with an internship, freelance, or part-time job that’s related.
Offering your creative skills to a local charity is a smart way to establish a network, get noticed, and add quality work to your portfolio. When you do this, you’re not just promoting yourself, but also doing good for the community.
Don’t know where to start? We have tested and reviewed the best job-searching sites out there for you.
To show off your best works, you can create a portfolio or a website. Having one of them is fine, but it is best to have both.
You can use software such as WordPress and Wix to construct a website. You can upgrade for better services. For some, a quick way is to use a paid service like Squarespace and Format. This website will demonstrate your graphic design skill and knowledge of website design tools.
Some go for a creative way regarding portfolios, such as a Pinterest board to feature their works. Others use Adobe InDesign or Canva to create a PDF of their portfolio. It’s also possible to promote your designs through LinkedIn.
General advice that works for everyone is to feature your best and most significant works. Showing is better than telling, but make sure to show the process as well.
Are You Ready To Explore The World Of Graphic Design Now?
That’s everything you need to know if you want to begin your graphic design career! Hope you have the answer you need about the most common career paths, entry-level graphic design salary, and what you need to get started!
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