Careers in Graphic Design


Looking for an entry level job or internship in graphic design? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

If at any point today you’ve read a book, made an online purchase, put on a t-shirt, or watched a TV commercial, you’ve been exposed to the work of a graphic designer. As great American designer, Paul Rand, once said:

Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.

It’s true–graphic designers basically make the world beautiful, and the rest of us just get to live in it. Lots of companies and organizations are able to benefit from making things beautiful, which is why there are opportunities in the field across a wide variety of industries.

Graphic Design Careers

Photo Credit: Flickr user Gamma-Ray Productions

Graphic Designer Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Graphic Designer Does
  2. A Typical Day for a Graphic Designer
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Graphic Designer
  4. Best Locations for Graphic Design
  5. Pro/Con: Being a Graphic Artist
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career in Graphic Design
  7. Graphic Design Resources
  8. Careers Related to Graphic Design
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Graphic Design

What a Graphic Designer Does

At the most simple level, a graphic designer is a professional who is responsible for presenting information in a way that is both accessible and memorable. This typically involves assembling images, typography, and/or motion graphics together to create a piece of design. Basically, graphic designers focus on solving visual communication problems within the context of a specific audience and media channel. As such, they have the opportunity to work within multiple industries, ranging from publishing to advertising to web development. While it may sound overwhelming, that’s actually a good thing because it means there are plenty of opportunities to put your craft to work!

A Typical Day for a Graphic Designer

On most days, a designer receives a brief (an explanation of what someone wants/what problem needs to be solved) from a client or boss. Then the designer brainstorms solutions to the brief, and works out some of their ideas with sketches or rough prototypes. After examining all potential angles, the designer creates the best idea. Executing the idea might entail anything from using computer programs, to photo shoots, to scouting out locations. If you’re a more visual learner, check out this entertaining infographic about a day in the life of a graphic designer.

Salary and Career Progression for a Graphic Designer

Now that you’re aware of the ins-and-outs of the job, I know what you’re thinking… show me the money! Well, the salary of graphic artists and designers usually falls in the range of $23,000-$58,000. The entry level will probably be at the lower half of the range, and the upper half is usually for people with a few years of experience. As you gain experience, you may move into positions like Senior Graphic Designer ($34,000-$78,000), Art Director ($33,000-$86,000), and Web Graphic Designer ($25,000-$63,000).

Other Names for Graphic Designers

  • Graphic Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Web Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • Creative
  • Typographer
  • Visual Communicator
  • Communications Designer

Best Locations for Graphic Design

Here are some of the best cities for jobs and internships in Graphic Design:

  • Palo Alto, California
  • Stamford, Connecticut
  • Alexandria, Virginia
  • Mclean, Virginia
  • San Francisco, California

Pro/Con: Being a Graphic Artist

  • Make money doing what you love: art.
  • The barriers to entry are low. Getting started as a graphic designer is much easier than getting started in other creative fields.
  • New technology is constantly being introduced, so a graphic designer’s tool set is ever-expanding.
  • There’s an endless demand for design work.
  • Your work speaks for itself.
  • You’ll need to be constantly learning to keep up with new technology developments.
  • There’s a growing trend towards crowdsourcing, which can mean you may not get paid for all the work you do, unless your specific work gets selected.
  • There can be fierce competition, because the barriers to entry are low.

What You Need to Know for a Career in Graphic Design

In order to play you’ve got to get schooled first! (Though there are some very successful self-taught graphic designers.) To be a graphic designer you’ll need a strong portfolio and/or a degree (AAS, BA, BFA) in art or graphic design. Current graphic designer jobs demand proficiency in a few graphic design software programs; the most common of which is Adobe Creative Suite including Photoshop (which helps you manipulate photos, typography and create images with a variety of effects), Illustrator (which helps you create logos and typography) and InDesign (which helps you create typography, and output print layouts). Also if you’re focused on becoming a web graphic designer you’ll need to understand how to work with HTML, CSS, and other web development languages live Javascript, jQuery, and PHP.

Graphic Design Resources

If graphic design still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

Required Reading

Top books for budding graphic designers.

Key Folks to Follow on Twitter

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Careers Related to Graphic Design

Displaying 1-10 of 1,864 results.
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4 Patriots Nashville, TN
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Lifestyle Publications Overland Park, KS
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RentPath San Francisco, CA
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Laser Shot Stafford, TX
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D & A Communications San Francisco, CA
Graphic Designer Print DIRECTV Sports Networks
Direct TV Denver, CO
Graphic Designer, Global Design Center
TransPak Santa Clara, CA
Web (Graphic) Designer with 4+ Years of Experience
PMP Marketing Group West Palm Beach, FL
Junior Graphic Designer - Full Time - CA Team Newark, CA
Sr. Graphic Designer (Direct Response)
Prize Candle Santa Monica, CA

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Graphic Design

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The Institute for Humane Studies - The IHS is an Arlington, VA based organization that “advances a freer society by discovering and facilitating the development of people who share an interest in liberty.”

See the complete The Institute for Humane Studies profile

Chalkfly Logo

Chalkfly - Chalkfly is a Detroit, MI based office supply startup that provides “the supplies you need to do your best work.”

See the complete Chalkfly profile

SumAll Logo

SumAll - SumAll is a New York, NY based company that allows “you to see all your information in one place and provide you visibility into the past, present, and future.”

See the complete SumAll profile

WPromote Logo

WPromote - WPromote is an El Segundo, CA based company that calls itself “the country’s leading Online Marketing firm." They help clients with SEO, PPC, and Social Media.

See the complete WPromote profile

eponym Logo

eponym - eponym is a company based in Brooklyn, NY that helps "the world’s most exciting brands create and distribute their own eyewear.”

See the complete eponym profile

Northstar Travel Media Logo

Northstar Travel Media - Northstar Travel Media is a Secaucus, NJ based “business information and marketing solutions provider to the $300 billion U.S. travel, tourism and meetings industries.”

See the complete Northstar Travel Media profile

Innerspin Logo

Innerspin - Innerspin is a Los Angeles, CA based agency that “is focused on growing global brands through effective brand building and digital capabilities.”

See the complete Innerspin profile

StyleCaster Media Group Logo

StyleCaster Media Group - StyleCaster Media Group is based in NYC and aims “to bring style to the people, empowering millions of readers to discover and share their style.”

See the complete StyleCaster Media Group profile

Luminate Logo

Luminate - A lot of companies have put ads alongside images, but Luminate is a Mountain View, CA based company that is putting them in the actual images.

See the complete Luminate profile

Houzz Logo

Houzz - Houzz is a Palo Alto, CA based company that offers “a collaborative platform for home remodeling and design."

See the complete Houzz profile

TVI Logo

TVI - TVI is a New York, NY based “award winning digital agency that designs leading brand experiences."

See the complete TVI profile

Shoutz Logo

Shoutz - Shoutz is an Austin, TX based “technology company dedicated to making lotteries more convenient, engaging and rewarding.”

See the complete Shoutz profile

Visual Data Systems Logo

Visual Data Systems - Visual Data Systems is based in Columbia, MD and serves "the Vacation Rental Community with Web Design, Online Marketing Solutions, and Reservation System Integration.”

See the complete Visual Data Systems profile

Pure Branding Logo

Pure Branding - Pure Branding is a Northampton, MA based consultancy that “builds leading brands for values-based companies in the natural products industry.”

See the complete Pure Branding profile

The San Francisco Foundation Logo

The San Francisco Foundation - The San Francisco Foundation is a non-profit founded in 1948 “to pull the community together to create pride and unity and improve quality of life” in the Bay Area.

See the complete The San Francisco Foundation profile

Minted Logo

Minted - Minted is a San Francisco, CA based company that aims “to find exceptional artists and designers all over the world and bring their work to consumers."

See the complete Minted profile

Landor Logo

Landor - Landor is a global agency that helps "the world’s best brands stand up, stand out, and stand for something.”

See the complete Landor profile

ArtSkills Logo

ArtSkills - ArtSkills is an Easton, PA based company “with a commitment to bringing quality and innovative poster making and art materials to customers.”

See the complete ArtSkills profile

Salon Success Strategies Logo

Salon Success Strategies - Salon Success Strategies is a Roseville, CA based “full service marketing agency specializing in salons, day spas, and medical spas.”

See the complete Salon Success Strategies profile

Column Five Logo

Column Five - Column Five is a Newport Beach, CA based infographic design, social PR, and content strategy agency that landed at #291 on the Inc. 5000

See the complete Column Five profile

Lovely Logo

Lovely - Lovely is a San Francisco, CA based startup that is knows “how painful it can be to rent an apartment and thinks it should be faster, easier, and more transparent.”

See the complete Lovely profile

Volcom Logo

Volcom - Volcom is a San Clemente, CA based “designer, marketer and distributor of premium quality young men’s and young women’s clothing, accessories and related products.”

See the complete Volcom profile

BLITZ Agency Logo

BLITZ Agency - BLITZ is a Santa Monica, CA based agency that makes “brands Favorites by building digital ecosystems that result in durable connections between brands and consumers.”

See the complete BLITZ Agency profile

Trulia Logo

Trulia - Trulia is a San Francisco, Denver, and NYC based company that “displays more than 4.5 million real estate and rental listings" online.

See the complete Trulia profile

Beyond Spots & Dots Logo

Beyond Spots & Dots - Beyond Spots & Dots is a Pittsburgh, PA based “full service advertising agency dedicated to creating, planning and handling advertising for its clients.”

See the complete Beyond Spots & Dots profile

Ultimate Fighting Championship Logo

Ultimate Fighting Championship - Ultimate Fighting Championship is a Las Vegas based company that “revolutionized the fight business, and today stands as the world’s leading MMA promoter.”

See the complete Ultimate Fighting Championship profile

Blue Orange Games Logo

Blue Orange Games - Blue Orange Games is a San Francisco, CA based board game company that has produced more than 40 games and won more than 200 awards.

See the complete Blue Orange Games profile

DNA Footwear Logo

DNA Footwear - DNA Footwear is a Brooklyn, NY shoe retailer that is now working to be “the top online destination for today’s latest trends in the world of footwear.”

See the complete DNA Footwear profile

Paperless Post Logo

Paperless Post - Paperless Post is an NYC based company that “modernizes the tradition of correspondence and helps you create cards and invitations that reflect an individual aesthetic.”

See the complete Paperless Post profile

PureWow Logo

PureWow - PureWow is based in NYC and offers a "free daily email for stylish women of substance, featuring the very best in culture, fashion, travel, tech & so much more!"

See the complete PureWow profile

LockerDome Logo

LockerDome - LockerDome is a St. Louis, MO based startup that offers a social media platform to help professional athletes, brands, and other sports properties” reach fans.

See the complete LockerDome profile

Rainbow USA Logo

Rainbow USA - Rainbow USA is a Brooklyn, NY based retailer that offers an “assortment of clothing for juniors, plus sizes, and children."

See the complete Rainbow USA profile

Trailer Park Logo

Trailer Park - Trailer Park is a Hollywood, CA based full-service entertainment marketing agency that serves “a broad spectrum of clients."

See the complete Trailer Park profile

Practice Fusion Logo

Practice Fusion - Practice Fusion is a San Francisco, CA based company that provides “a free, web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) application to physicians.”

See the complete Practice Fusion profile

Upper Deck Logo

Upper Deck - Upper Deck is a Carlsbad, CA based sports and entertainment collectibles company that manufactured the first premium baseball cards.

See the complete Upper Deck profile

Vedere Logo

Vedere - Vedere is a New York, NY based company that offers “an online design community and global marketplace unlike any other.”

See the complete Vedere profile

Gupta Media Logo

Gupta Media - Gupta Media is a Cambridge, MA based online marketing agency that focuses on the entertainment and music industries.

See the complete Gupta Media profile

Advantage Business Media Logo

Advantage Business Media - Advantage Business Media is a Rockaway, NJ based “digital business-to-business information company” that “has successfully transitioned" from print to digital.

See the complete Advantage Business Media profile

Sports Endeavors Logo

Sports Endeavors - Sports Endeavor is a Hillsborough, NC based company that sells sporting goods through and

See the complete Sports Endeavors profile

Rubin Museum of Art Logo

Rubin Museum of Art - The Rubin Museum of Art in New York, NY "promotes understanding, and inspires personal connections to the ideas, cultures, and art of Himalayan Asia.”

See the complete Rubin Museum of Art profile

Vivid Seats Logo

Vivid Seats - Vivid Seats is a Chicago, IL based company that aims to “to reinvent the ticket purchasing experience.”

See the complete Vivid Seats profile

M-Edge Logo

M-Edge - M-Edge is an Odenton, MD based company that “sells fashionable, protective cases for e-readers, tablets, and cell phones.”

See the complete M-Edge profile

Resonate Logo

Resonate - Resonate is a Reston, VA based advertising company that uses "big data to develop a sophisticated understanding of consumer values, attitudes and beliefs.”

See the complete Resonate profile

Pardot Logo

Pardot - Pardot is an Atlanta, GA based company that provides online marketing automation software to businesses and is seeing insane growth.

See the complete Pardot profile

AdRoll Logo

AdRoll - AdRoll is a San Francisco, CA based advertising startup that specializes in retargeting (showing advertising to people who have already indicated interest).

See the complete AdRoll profile

1stdibs Logo

1stdibs - 1stdibs is a New York, NY based company that runs an online marketplace for “the most beautiful things on earth" (antiques, jewelry, fine art, etc.).

See the complete 1stdibs profile

GTM Sportswear Logo

GTM Sportswear - GTM Sportswear is a Manhattan, KS based company that helps athletes perform better by looking better.

See the complete GTM Sportswear profile

Jellyvision Logo

Jellyvision - Jellyvision is a Chicago, IL based company that excels at communicating about complex subjects through interactive software.

See the complete Jellyvision profile

BuildASign Logo

BuildASign - Austin, TX based BuildASign “has reinvented the way people buy signs” by offering simple online sign creation and delivery in days.

See the complete BuildASign profile

AdSafe Media Logo

AdSafe Media - AdSafe Media is a company that protects brands from unfortunate placements while also improving performance.

See the complete AdSafe Media profile

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