How to Find High-Paying Graphic Design Jobs

Graphic designers are among the highest earning art employees in the country. According to recent reports, graphic design school graduates can earn a median income of $40,000 or more with relatively little work experience. These types of graphic design jobs require a bachelor’s degree, but many schools offer advanced degrees in design as well.

Because graphic designers are in high-demand throughout the country, the best way to earn a high-wage position is to put in a lot of time with a successful design company or to launch a private company. Even so, some experts in the industry state that finding the highest paying graphic design jobs may rely more on location than skill.

According to one report (The Best American Cities for Artists and Designers), there are 25 cities that are prime real estate for those hunting for a graphic design job that pays well. Here are the top 5:

“5. Salt Lake City

Offering better employment conditions than most other large cities, Utah’s biggest city boasts the lowest unemployment rate boosting it right near the top. Many designers are employed here per capita for its growing tech industry. The cost of living in Utah is reasonable and….

4. San Antonio

The second largest city in Texas, San Antonio has one of the most solid salary to cost of living ratios in the country and has seen the lowest change in unemployment rate since the onset of the recession. Its projected job growth is extremely promising and consistently high ……

3. Bridgeport

Bridgeport is a thriving multicultural city located right on the water of Long Island Sound in the southern part of Connecticut. Its great location and proximity to other cities such as New York and Boston make Bridgeport a wonderful city to live ….

2. Newark

Newark, New Jersey is a skip away from New York City, the creative hub of the country. But it is a bargain to live in compared to Manhattan’s cost of living. Newark boasts top pay in the professions of fashion design, graphic design, and art. It has a rich cultural heritage of its own. So if you want to be close to the center of things but can’t quite afford to do it in style, Newark is a great ….

1. Austin

Austin tops our list with robust projected job growth and one of the lowest changes in unemployment rate since the onset of the recession. The city has enjoyed a recent explosion of high-tech entrepreneurism. Animators in Austin are some of the highest paid in the nation. A “best cities” list ….

To read more about these and all 25 cities: The Best American Cities for Artists and Designers

Graphic Design News

Graphic Design Students Need Help with Mural

Graphic design students in colleges across the world are often called on to help develop advertising and marketing campaigns for local organizations. In some cases, city officials engage schools to obtain services free of charge. This relationship is mutually beneficial, allowing the students to practice their design and project management skills while providing necessary services to the organization. However, one group of students from YSU is asking their neighbors for help to fulfill their design for a business revitalization project in the downtown district.

According to WYTV reports, the students are unable to fund their project – a mural requested by city organizers:

(WYTV) Six graphic design students at YSU have created a mural they want to put up on the windows of the Youngstown Business Incubator in downtown Youngstown as part of the city’s revitalization.

The project is costly and the students are asking for the public’s help to raise the necessary funds.

John Slanina of the Youngstown Business Incubator said the students came up with the idea to improve the streetscape of downtown. He said when the students approached YBI with the pictures, they were “stunned” at what the students were proposing.

The mural is 70 vinyl panels measuring more than 300 feet long and will cover three storefronts. Slanina said 40 companies use the space in the three YBI buildings, and 13 have physical offices there, so the project will impact 350 employees.

The project’s theme is the “metamorphosis of downtown Youngstown” and the mural features bright, vivid colors depicting butterflies, flowers and the jungle.

The students are trying to raise $7,350 for the project by June 29 and as of Wednesday evening, they had $2,887 in pledges. Money has been collected from all over the world, Slanina said.

Slanina said if all the money is not raised, no…

Read more: Students Seek Public’s Help for YBI Mural Project

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The Art Institutes and Adobe Announce Winners of the 2012 Print Design Competition

Graphic Design News

Graphic Designer wins Adobe 2012 Student Design Competition

Few names are as common to graphic design students as ‘Adobe’. A recent contest for art and design schools allowed graphic design students at The Arts Institutes the chance to enter their own unique talents into a widely recognized competition. Adobe announced that a graphic design student in New York is this year’s big winner.

(PRNewswire via Market Watch) Inspiring artistic ingenuity and creativity, The Art Institutes & Adobe 2012 Student Design Competition challenged students currently enrolled at one of The Art Institutes schools to submit a print design, primarily created with Adobe software for the opportunity to win a prize package.

Patrick Egglinger, a student at The Art Institute of New York City pursuing an Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design, was selected as the grand prize winner. His first-place entry is a poster design promoting a festival of student films.

“Egglinger submitted an entry that was outstanding on many levels,” said John Judy, a judge in the competition who is also the academic director of the Graphic Design program at The Art Institute of California, a college of Argosy University, Hollywood. “He demonstrated great use of multiple typefaces, hierarchy of type, composition and color – all around a stand out piece.”

Egglinger and his faculty sponsor for the competition, Simona Prives, will each receive an all-expense paid trip to the HOW Design Conference held on June 21-25, 2012 in Boston, MA. Egglinger will also receive a copy of Adobe® Creative Suite® Premium software and a Kindle Fire.

“I’m thrilled to be recognized, that my work speaks for itself,” says Egglinger, 21, of Jersey City, NJ. “The win also shows that I spend time on my work, learn…

Full press release: The Art Institutes and Adobe Announce Winners of the 2012 Print Design Competition

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Types of Companies that Hire Graphic Design Graduates

In graphic design schools, students learn how to take an idea and turn it into a visual illustration. So any type of company needing this type of service will hire graphic designers to fulfill the order. Some types of companies (marketing agencies, for example) retain full-time designers who graduated from a college program. Other companies hire graphic designers on a contract-only basis to fulfill a specific work order.

Graphic designers are responsible to nearly all types of media and imagery seen in the world today. From the layout and design of this website to the billboards outside your home or office, a graphic designer was at work to create an image for you to perceive. The job of graphic design graduates is important – they convey the meaning of things with or without words.

Who is Hiring Graphic Designers?

There is no conclusive list of companies that hire graphic designers. Rather, any company or entity that needs graphic work or an artist to convey a specific message or idea is likely to hire a graphic designer. For a more permanent role in the industry, graphic design colleges refer to marketing agencies and design firms as the most stable employers in the industry because they always need graphic designers. But many companies will hire their own, in-house graphic designer. These companies exist in all types of industries.

What Type of Jobs do Graphic Designers Fill?

According to Taylor Loran of Suite101, graphic designers are hired for a wide variety of roles:

“Art Director – Usually manages a team of designers. Is responsible for the creative vision behind the project. Has previously worked as a graphic designer and had a broad range of design software skills, as well as an understanding of production and materials.

Animator – Anything animated, such as flash Web site intros, TV and video openers and closers, DVD menus, etc.

Layout Artist or Desktop Publisher – Usually given text and images to work with. Focuses heavily on the relationship between the text, images and message of the overall piece. Works in a print media focused environment as an in-house designer for a business or in editorial.

Logo Designer – Hand drawn or with a computer, a logo designer creates logos for companies and helps them create a specific and distinguishable brand for their company.

Flash Designer – Flash was previously mentioned under animator, but being a specific flash designer requires more than just creating an intro for a Web site. Flash Web site design requires knowledge of how Web sites should be structured, an understanding of complex Flash design software and knowledge of web design.

Illustrator – Conceptualize and create hand drawn graphics as well as digitally created graphics. Usually contained within the fields of technical illustration for medical textbooks or book publishing, packaging, etc.

Multimedia Designer – Works in the film and TV industries, as well as advertising agencies. Uses audio, video, photographs to create compelling cross platform pieces for viewers and/or readers. Also can create designs for sets, props and costumes.

Web Designer – Focuses on the visual side of the creation of Web sites, although most successful web designers also know how to code Web sites and have a basic understanding of Web site infrastructure.”

Read more: Disciplines Within Graphic Design and What Jobs Are Available

Graphic Design News

Old Beer Gets New Face from Graphic Design Student

Studying graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburg lent to one student’s success in redesigning an old beer company’s label recently. Paige Sabedra is the student designer who won approval from Old Frothingslosh – an iconic brew in Pittsburg.

(TribLive) Paige Sabedra’s face graces the cans of a relaunched Pittsburgh beer icon, Olde Frothingslosh.

It’s not her own likeness that is associated with the local brew, but a face that she designed.

The design created by Sabedra, 19, of New Alexandria, was chosen by the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. to be the new face of the company’s Olde Frothingslosh beer, a novelty label associated with quirky humor and colorful characters. Sabedra’s stylized take on Sir Reginald Frothingslosh, a character used to market the brand in its early incarnation, was the winning entry in a logo contest sponsored by the company and The Orion Management Group, a Pittsburgh-based public relations firm.

Sabedra, who graduated from Derry Area High School in 2010, is studying graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Last summer, her technical design instructor offered students extra credit if they entered the contest, and Sabedra accepted the challenge.

Sabedra, who usually takes advantage of such contests to help build up her portfolio, worked on her logo ideas throughout September and entered her submission by fall’s end.

Through a series of e-mails at the beginning of December, Sabedra learned that she was not only a contest finalist, but also the first-place winner. Her design will now greet consumers of Olde Frothingslosh beer.

“I was excited,”?Sabedra said. “I?had never won a major contest like that before, and I?had entered quite a few in the past,” creating logos and posters for other local businesses.

Contest information provided by Pittsburgh Brewing included a history of the original beer and its previous label designs…

Read more: Local graphic designer helps give an old brew a new face

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Graphic Design Graduate Discusses School, Internship

Proving that sometimes a student’s education really begins after college, a Malibu high school graduate (now a graduate from a graphic design college) finds that much of her time is spent building a professional portfolio for grad school. Many students find that it takes many years of investment to reach higher career goals, but in the end they are usually worth it. Jessica Davis at Malibu Patch recently interviewed Lindsay Johnson about her decision to move to New York for graphic design school and what was coming next:

(Malibu Patch) Malibu’s Lindsay Johnson graduated from Skidmore College earlier this month and is hoping to pursue a career in design.

Malibu Patch caught up with Johnson, who is a Malibu High School alumni, and here’s what she had to say about her future plans:

Malibu Patch: What are your plans now that you have graduated? Do you plan on coming back to Mailbu?

Lindsay Johnson: I have a summer internship in New York City working with the external communications department at Robert A.M. Stern Architects, which I am excited about because it will let me blend my love of architecture with graphic and communication design. When that is over, my current plan is to stay in the NYC area for a bit and find opportunities, whether at a graphic design firm, magazine, or architecture firm, that will help me grow as a designer and build a strong portfolio for grad school.

I also have a passion for children’s books. I self published a series of children’s books centered around a young Claude Monet for my senior capstone and would love to find a way to have those actually published. It would be great to continue to write and illustrate children’s books. I will definitely be back to visit Malibu though. It is too beautiful to stay away from for long.

Malibu Patch: I understand you are a graphic designer. How has your time in Malibu influence your art?

Read all of Lindsey’s responses: Malibu High Grad Eyes Career in Design in NYC

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Types of Graphic Designers

Graphic designers are responsible for nearly every image we see in print publications, online media, advertisements, and commercials. Most professionally produced videos and images are born of art created by an expert in graphic design. Graphic designers create logos, posters, product labels, movie and game art, special effects and more. Because the job of graphic designers is so broad and because there are so many types of graphic designs to be created, the jobs for graphic designers are plentiful.

Graphic design can be broken into many categories, but to keep it simple there are four major types of graphic designers. Within these four categories are many more specific types of graphic designers who specialize in certain aspects of design. There are also four basic levels of graphic design that are significant when discussing the types of graphic designers.

Note: Many types of graphic design jobs are filled by a single graphic designer. For companies that use print and digital media to advertise, graphic design employees are often tasked with both roles.

Graphic Design Levels

To truly understand the types of graphic design, it is important to know that there are professional levels within the ‘graphic design’ world. The four levels of graphic design are used to describe the experience, or level of expertise, of a given graphic designer.

#1: Entry-Level Designers are new to the graphic design business. They may be building their portfolio or recent graduates from a graphic design college. Interns with a degree and professionals with little experience are considered ‘entry-level’ graphic designers.

#2: Mid-Level Designers have a bit more experience and have a good portfolio to show for it. Employers trust them with marketing and advertising, logos, and other print or digital media. Mid-level designers are often given creative freedom to help build a company’s brand or public image.

#3: Senior-Level Designers have vast experience in graphic design. As such, they manage other designers beneath their experience level. However, senior-level designers spend much of their time doing the same things that a mid-level designer will do. (They usually get paid a little more for their expertise.)

#4: Art Directors are considered to sit at the top of their profession. These graphic designers are responsible for coordinating the work of all other designers at a company or firm. Art director are usually employed by bigger companies to manage the design and marketing department. Because their role involves much more management, they spend less time actually working on designs.

Types of Graphic Designers

Printed media is anything that will be printed and includes product labels, newspaper and magazine spreads, billboard advertisements, street signs, and other types of print media. In recent years, the jobs for these types of graphic designers have converged or must coordinate with digital media tasks. Print designers must be versatile enough to do both print and digital graphic designs.

Logos, Marketing, and Branding

Marketing and branding is a type of graphic design that is very important to most companies. For this reason, most marketing and branding designers are mid- to senior-level graphic designers. The job of this type of graphic designer is to create advertising and marketing that sets the ‘theme’ of a given company. The consumer will form his or her opinion of a company based on the work done by these designers. Logo design is essential for any business. This is the one thing that will serve as a signature for the company, so a lot of time and effort goes into creating a logo.


Publication designers are responsible for the organization, flow, and aesthetics of printed magazines, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, and other types of print media. (Brochures may also be designed by marketing designers.)


It’s a good bet that nearly all packages in the room with you right now were designed by a graphic designer. From soda bottles to DVD movie covers, a packaging designer is responsible for the graphics printed on the package.

Web Designers and End-User Experience (Digital Design)

While ‘web design’ is an industry in and of itself, many firms and companies will hire a web/graphic designer to handle front-end web designs. These are the types of graphic designers that determine and digitally design the appearance of a web page. All websites have some sort of graphic design involved and most of that work is completed, from scratch, by a graphic designer.

Back-end web design may also be completed by a graphic designer who is good with coding and programming. While design and coding seem to be opposite on the creative spectrum, many successful graphic designers can accomplish both tasks.

Within the realm of ‘web design’ is another type of graphic designer that creates the interactive components of a website. This includes contact forms, surveys, videos, and other media with which the user can interact on a website.

Graphic Design News

Graphic Design School Helps Raise Conservation Awareness

Graphic design students in Dubai recently showed off some of their newest designs. This time, they focused on water conservation and sustainability. Along with interior design and art students, the graphic design students worked on their part of the “We are Water Foundation” and began to put the designs up for display as early as March.

(PR Newswire) A prolific ceremony was held today to award the winners of the We Are Water Foundation GCC Student Design Contest. The regional competition was launched on the 22nd of March 2012, and requested Students of Art, Interior Design & Architecture faculties to design a poster on the relationship between Food and Water. ‘We Are Water Foundation’ is an initiative of Roca, which aims to raise awareness of water as a unique, limited resource, and aims to take action to minimize the negative effects of the lack of adequate water resources through education, health and research, and the construction of new infrastructures.

The ceremony was held at the newly launched facility of The Change Initiative, a 55,000 square feet facility dedicated to sustainable solutions for the home and at work. The awards ceremony raised awareness about the relationship between water and food and the need to reduce our water consumption through a display of a selection of the best Graphic Designs made by students of the faculty of Art, Interior Design and Architecture of the leading universities in the GCC.

Students from universities such as American University of Sharjah, Zayed University (Dubai/Abu Dhabi), Al Ghurair University, American University in Dubai, Ajman University of Science & Technology, Al Hosn University, British University in Dubai, and King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have been invited to participate in the contest. The Heads of Faculties of Interior Design & Architecture of these universities have given their support to the… Read more at PR Newswire

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Graphic Design College a Must for Hiring Companies

A new report is showing the true value of a college degree, especially for technology jobs in graphic arts and those entrepreneurs eyeing an IPO in the near future. While some success stories begin with the lead character dropping out of school, most companies say they are hiring college graduates. For those who want to be paid top-dollar for graphic design work, college is a necessary part of the equation:

(Huffington Post) May 23, 2012 – …Beyond earning potential, a college degree can be a leg up in landing a job in California in the aftermath of a painful economic downturn. Companies emerging from a hiring slow-down are seeking the most qualified, prepared workers they can find. Employers can be selective, which is all the more reason to get a high quality education enriched with relevant real-world experience.

Today, CALinnovates, an advocacy group for California’s high-tech consumers, released a survey of technology employers that is good news for the 2012 class of college graduates. According to the survey, the technology community in the Bay Area believes that the economy is slowly turning around and 86 percent of survey respondents plan to hire 2012 college graduates. Fifty-five percent plan to hire more graduates than they did last year and only six percent of companies believe that economic conditions in the Bay Area will be worse in six months.

The survey reinforces the fact that high quality higher education programs are a critical to help the Bay Area to continue to anchor the innovation economy. For businesses to stay here, we need to provide them with a well-trained workforce. Companies responding to the survey drilled down further to say they are looking for job candidates with exceptional creative skills, be it graphic design capabilities, mobile app development experience, or a demonstrated innovative spirit. According to the CALinnovates’ survey, 91 percent of businesses consider creative ability valuable when evaluating who to hire.

Read more: The Value of a College Degree.. at the Huffington Post

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After Graphic Design School: Acing Interviews for Jobs

If you are thinking about a career in graphic design, chances are you are looking at prospective colleges, trying to figure out scholarships and funding, and dreaming big about your future in the world of graphic design. While it is definitely important to ‘know your stuff’ when you head out into the job market, it is equally important to hone your interview skills.

Graphic design jobs don’t come easy, especially for very recent graphic design school graduates. And while you may choose to gain experience as an intern while in school, nothing will prepare you for that first job interview as well as actually going through the interview. Graphic design professionals often have to ‘sell’ themselves many, many times throughout their career. If you plan to be a freelance graphic designer or work for an established firm, you will still have to interview well and sell your ideas for the next contract over and over again.

Here we look at tips from one professional graphic designer who has had much success in landing new clients. Ashley Rundall says that the key to acing that interview is knowing how you are different than the other guys vying for the same job.

“I can still remember my senior year of college… building a portfolio, researching places I dreamed of working and sending countless pleas for an interview. I not only remember how nervous I was, but how clueless and unprepared I was for “a real job.” Now looking back, I wish I had someone to give me more direction on how to get interviews, prepare for them, what to do after interviews and the most important part, how to be good at the interview process. By no means do I have all of the answers, but I do have some useful tips that I would have greatly benefited from… and I hope that you can too.

Interview Basics for Designers

Companies don’t hire portfolios, they hire people. When you interview, you are selling yourself and your ability to produce great work. Your portfolio is the product of you.

Look up the location in advance and be early. If anything is unclear, ask the receptionist for specific driving or parking details prior to the meeting. Never show up late to an interview or cancel without appropriate notice.

Check to see how much time the interviewer has available and pace yourself accordingly.

Hand out your résumé first, during the introductions.

Connect with the interviewer. Ask them about their role, how long they’ve been there, their approach to design, etc.

Remember, excitement is contagious.

You have to “sell yourself” and your ability to do more than just produce great work. Interviewers have to believe in you and be willing to invest in your career.”

Read more at AIGA.

Art Director Ashley Rundall posted the guest blog on AIGA Houston’s site. Her blog is reproduced at and you can read the whole article here.