Careers in Graphic Design

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Looking for an entry level job or internship in graphic design? Here's an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have entry level and internship opportunities that will interest you.

See companies with graphic design careers or search the latest graphic design jobs and internships.

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

Best Locations for Graphic Design

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

Pro/Con: Being a Graphic Artist

Pros
Cons

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


Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Graphic Design

The Institute for Humane Studies Logo

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


No current job openings.

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


Job TitleLocation
Inside Sales AssociateNew York, NY
Data EngineerNew York, NY
Integrations EngineerNew York, NY
Front End EngineerNew York, NY
E-Commerce ManagerSpokane, WA
See all 7 job postings

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





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




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





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


No current job openings.



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





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




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





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




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


No current job openings.





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


No current job openings.




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



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