Graphic Design is the process of creating visual communication and presentation. The creative process is done by the Graphic Designer who uses visual elements of photography, computer generated images, type, color, spatial arrangement, and increasingly, motion to communicate ideas, and sell products. Graphic Design is utilized in advertising, product packaging, magazines, newspapers, printed materials, web sites, web pages, and even motion pictures. Graphic Designers design billboards, airplane and vehicle paint schemes, clothing, educational materials, and the actual product appearance. The creative process of graphic design combines art and technology to communicate ideas. The aesthetics of a particular project are important with the most importance being in the area of does the design actually communicate the idea. Does it sell is the bottom line. The most creative design does not always appeal to the consumer.
Some of the possible job titles are: Layout Artist, Brand Identity Designer, Logo Designer, Flash Designer, Illustrator, Technical Illustrator, Photo Editing & Manipulation, Multimedia Designer, Photographer, Prepress Technician, Web Designer, Set Designer, and Graphic Designer. There are other job titles.
Jobs in the field will pay in the area of $35,000 per year with the range being $20,000 to $60,000 and more. While there are many salaried positions many people in the field of Graphic Design work from home freelance on a contract basis. Some employers require a bachelors degree for entry level positions however many Graphic Designers have certificates from technical schools and community colleges. Formal education seems to be less important than practical experience.
When choosing an educational path it is important to know where you want to go with your career. The reputation and educational style of the school will determine the value for your long term goals. Education for graphic design is less about knowledge and more about project application. There are several choices in the Austin, TX area including both university level and technical level schools. Here is a list: Austin Community College offering Graphic Design Specialization, Photographic Technology- Photographic Artist Certificate and other programs, University of Texas (with degrees in Science of Advertising and Communication Studies through the College of Communication, and Fine Art – Design in the College of Fine Arts, International Academy of Design and Technology offering the most comprehensive selection of Associate degrees of Applied Science, Science, and Fine Arts: Digital Photography, Graphic Design, Interior Design, (A Bachelor of Applied Science is offered for Graphic Design) and the Art Institute of Austin (offering: Digital Film & Video Production, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Media Arts & Animation, Photography, and Web Design & Interactive Media).
It is important to have a good understanding of the behavioral sciences as well as the purely technical expertise. Knowing how and why people of different ethnic, social, and economic groups make decisions will help you understand how your design will be successful.
A career in Graphic Design can be rewarding financially and challenging intellectually. It is a very competitive career field with few artificial barriers to keep others from entering the field. For a person with drive and determination there is good hope of success.