3 Important Questions to Ask About Graphic Design Careers
The field of graphic design contributes to just about every industry. Its challenging, and ever-changing technology gives graphic designers opportunities to work with some of Canada's most intriguing companies.
You've already got an interest in the field. Now all you need is some direction on how to get started. Read on to find out the answers to three of the most important questions you can ask about a graphic design career.
What Can I Expect from Graphic Design Training?
A graphic design program can open so many doors for its creative graduates. To get the best opportunities, you want to focus on a school that gives you the exact skills employers are actively looking for. Design-focused vocational schools offer programs with targeted training that often only focuses on your area of study. These types of schools can be a great option for building a skill set that employers will covet.
Graphic design school should enable you to gain a firm understanding of design and art fundamentals. The program curriculum will generally focus on a combination of learning how to use software and graphic design tools, which frequently change as technology improves. Through your schooling, you can progress in your understanding of concepts such as color theory, typography, and even art history.
A graphic design program should also prepare you to complete a robust and professional portfolio. Many schools have close partnerships with industry employers, who often seek out new grads to join their design teams. And an appealing and well-rounded portfolio can help you to stand out to employers. This can be extremely helpful if you are just starting out in the field, as the competition can sometimes be high.
How Long Will It Take To Complete a Graphic Design Program?
Depending on the school you choose, it can be possible to complete a graphic design program in less than a year. There are diploma, certificates, and degree options available—some of which can take up to four years. It's important to keep in mind that program length will vary depending on the school you choose, the credential you are working toward, and whether you are engaged in full-time or part-time study.
Another factor that can affect how quickly you complete your training is if you choose to get an online graphic design degree. This can be a great option for people who want to be able to tailor their education around their current circumstances, since most of your learning can be done on your computer. Graphic design colleges will often offer online options—if this sounds like a good fit for you, you can search for online programs here.
If you are unsure of how much time you want to commit to your training, you can consider starting with a diploma program, finding freelance work or an entry-level position, and continuing your education while you work.
Is Graphic Design a Smart Career Option?
Canada is home to some of the top employers in the graphic design industry. Companies across a huge variety of industries are frequently looking for graphic design artists. According to Canadian census data, the most common industries for graphic designers to be employed in are the following:*
- Professional, technical, and scientific services
- Computer systems design
- Software publishing
And here's an interesting statistic: the percentage of graphic designers who primarily do freelance work is approximately 29%.* This means that, if you choose to join this field, you've got options when it comes to choosing the jobs and hours that work best for you. Additionally, 54% of graphic designers take the opportunity to do freelance work outside of their full-time jobs.*** This can be a good way to not only expand the portfolio, but also increase earnings.
And, when it comes to earnings, the potential is definitely good. In Canada, the average annual salary for a graphic designer or graphic artist is $41,017, with the top earners making $55,289 or more. ** With the ability to do freelance work on the side, earning potential can increase even further. More senior roles in the field also tend to command higher salaries. Creative directors, for example, earn a median salary of $80,000.***
Popular career titles in graphic arts include:
- Advertising designer
- Commercial artist
- Graphic artist
- Layout designer
- Medical illustrator
- Multimedia illustrator
- Scientific illustrator
Start Designing Your Future Right Now
To get your head start in this creative and far-reaching field, find a school by using the postal-code based search tool below, and ask for more information!
*Service Canada, website last accessed July 14, 2014.
**PayScale, website last accessed July 14, 2014.
***CreativeEarners, 2014 CreativeEarners Report, website last accessed May 19, 2016.