A graphic designer is a professional within the graphic design and graphic arts industry who assembles together images, typography, or motion graphics to create a piece of design. A graphic designer creates the graphics primarily for published, printed or electronic media, such as brochures (sometimes) and advertising. They are also sometimes responsible for typesetting, illustration, user interfaces, and web design. A core responsibility of the designer's job is to present information in a way that is both accessible and memorable.
A Bachelor's degree or certificate from an accredited trade school is usually considered essential for a graphic design position.
One can obtain an AAS, BA, BFA, BCA, MFA or an MPhil / PhD in graphic design. Degree programs available vary depending upon the institution, although typical U.S. graphic design jobs may require at least some form of degree.
Current graphic designer jobs demand proficiency in one or more graphic design software programs.
Outside the graphic design industry, many people use Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher to create a layout or design. However, depending on the job at hand, most designers create the layout in either InDesign, CorelDRAW or QuarkXPress. Specifically, the designer will type or import the text in the layout program, also importing the graphics and images they created in Photoshop or Illustrator. There are a couple of reasons a designer builds a layout in this fashion:
- Files going to press are generally printed at 300 dots per inch.
- InDesign, CorelDRAW, or QuarkXPress make it possible to work with large multiple page layouts, such as catalogs and booklets.
- Since InDesign, CorelDRAW, and QuarkXPress the original file, linking to the graphics and images, the designer can change the "original file" and it will update all instances throughout the document to save time.
A web designer should understand how to work with XML, HTML, and basic web programming scripts. A print designer should understand the processes involved in printing (including, notably, offset printing) to be able to produce press-ready artwork.
Designers should be able to solve visual communication problems or challenges.
Graphic designers should also have a thorough understanding of production and rendering methods.
Fifty years ago, the graphic designer's portfolio was usually a black book or large binder in which samples of the artist's best printed pieces were carried to show prospective clients or employers. Printed pieces are often protected inside by being mounted on boards or slipped into Acetate sleeves.
Graphic design relates heavily to corporate identity, the branding, and "persona" of a corporation. Branding originated in the late 1890s and not only did it emerge as corporate identity, but it also signified corporate quality. Many might recognize the process of "branding" a hot iron symbol or logo onto an animal's body to differentiate other cattle. Branding your business or any other type of asset that requires an identity does help one to be recognized in a commercialized industry. Exceptional graphic designers can easily create a brand that fits the company as well as define it through one simple logo.