What is Graphic Design? : Types of Graphics Design

Graphic design stands out as a highly lucrative tech skill in 2024, making it a promising career choice. In the United States alone, the average graphics designer earns approximately $31.01 per hour – a figure worth calculating for anyone considering this field.

If your primary question is “What does a graphic designer do?” we’ll address that shortly. In the meantime, let’s delve into the essential aspects of graphic design, providing you with comprehensive insights that we hope you find valuable!

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the art of creating visual content and communicating messages through the use of images, colors, and various visual elements. Using graphic design software and tools becomes a powerful means to convey ideas visually, combining creativity in the arts with technological expertise. 

This field is instrumental in effective visual communication, often used for eCommerce marketing, branding, and information dissemination.

Let’s explore the basic elements of graphic design:

Basic Elements of Graphic Design

In graphic design, several key elements contribute to creating visually appealing designs:

  1. Lines: Used to shape structures, guide the viewer’s eye, and add visual interest, lines can be straight, curved, thick, thin, broken, vertical, horizontal, or diagonal.
  2. Shapes: Play a crucial role in creating visual structures, ranging from simple to complex, geometric to organic, conveying order, balance, and emotions.
  3. Color: Holds the power to evoke emotions, convey messages, and enhance the overall visual experience. Proper color palette selection is vital, with considerations for color harmony and contrast.
  4. Typography: Involves the style, arrangement, and appearance of text, impacting legibility and overall visual appeal. Font selection depends on the intended message and target audience.
  5. Texture: Represents the visual quality of a surface, created using real or digitally generated textures, contributing to the overall design aesthetic.
  6. Space: Positive and negative spaces help create balance, organization, hierarchy, and visual impact within a design.

Types of Graphic Design

Graphic design encompasses various types, each with a unique focus and purpose, contributing to the dynamic design field. The key types include:

  1. Branding Design: Develops visual elements like logos and color schemes to establish a consistent brand identity, which is crucial for business recognition and differentiation.
  2. Web Design: Involves creating visually appealing and functional website layouts, balancing aesthetics with optimal usability.
  3. Print Design: Focuses on creating designs for physical print materials, such as flyers and business cards, considering factors like color, layout, and typography.
  4. Motion Design: Combines animation and visual storytelling to engage audiences through moving images and audio.
  5. Packaging Design: Involves creating visually appealing and functional packaging for products, considering materials, colors, and typography.
  6. UI/UX Design: Encompasses the visual and experiential design of digital products, creating a seamless and engaging user experience.
  7. eCommerce Marketing and Advertising Design: Integrates graphic design, copywriting, and strategic thinking to create effective marketing communications across various mediums.

Who is a Graphic Designer?

A graphic designer is a professional utilizing computer software to create diverse designs, layouts, and concepts, contributing to areas such as advertising, media, and marketing. 

Successful graphic designers possess qualities such as creativity, technical skills, communication skills, attention to detail, flexibility, time management, problem-solving skills, business knowledge, collaboration, and professionalism.

What does a Graphic Designer Do?

Graphic designers:

  • Create visual content for websites, packaging, advertisements, logos, and more.
  • Use artistic and technical skills to effectively communicate ideas through visual elements.
  • Develop visually appealing and impactful designs.
  • Work on website design, branding, and motion graphics.

Graphic Design Salary

As of 2024, the average graphics designer salary in the US is approximately $31.01 per hour. Experienced graphic designers in roles such as creative directors or design managers can command higher salaries, often accompanied by additional perks and benefits.

The salary for graphic designers can vary quite a bit depending on several factors, including:

  1. Experience: Entry-level graphic designers will naturally earn less than those with more experience. In the US, for example, the median annual salary for graphic designers with less than 5 years of experience is around $44,350, while those with 10-15 years of experience make closer to $57,990, and those with 20+ years can reach $76,970 (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  2. Skills and Specialization: Having specialized skills in areas like web design, motion graphics, or UX/UI design can command higher salaries.
  3. Location: Salaries for graphic designers tend to be higher in larger cities and tech hubs. For instance, the average salary for a graphic designer in San Francisco is significantly higher than in smaller towns.
  4. Employment Type: Freelance graphic designers can potentially earn more than salaried employees, but their income can also be less stable.
  5. Industry: Graphic designers working in certain industries, such as advertising or technology, typically earn more than those in education or non-profit organizations.

With all that in mind, here are some general salary ranges for graphic designers:

  • Entry-level: $35,000 – $45,000
  • Mid-level: $45,000 – $65,000
  • Senior-level: $65,000 – $90,000+

To get a more accurate idea of what you could earn as a graphic designer, you can use online salary calculators that take into account your specific experience, skills, and location. Here are a few resources you can check out:

Graphic Design Jobs

Graphic designers find employment in diverse fields such as advertising, media, marketing, and beyond. Their role is to create designs for websites, logos, brochures, publications, and product packaging. 

Additionally, graphic designers contribute to visually communicating ideas and messages effectively, making their expertise crucial in various industries.

How to Become a Successful Graphic Designer

So, how to become a graphics designer? To embark on a successful career as a graphic designer, consider the following steps:

  • Education: Enroll in graphic design or related educational programs to build a strong foundation and essential skills.
  • Develop Tech Skills: Improve skills in typography, color theory, layout design, and design software. Build a strong portfolio showcasing your abilities.
  • Gain Practical Experience: Seek internship opportunities or freelance projects to gain real-world experience.
  • Build a Portfolio: Compile a diverse portfolio showcasing your best work in a well-organized and professional manner.
  • Grow Your Network: Attend industry events, join design communities, and engage with professionals to build connections and gain insights.
  • Apply for Entry-Level Positions: Start applying for entry-level positions to further build experience and advance your career.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay updated with the latest design trends and technologies through workshops, webinars, and online courses.

Becoming a successful graphic designer requires dedication, creativity, and perseverance. Building your portfolio and skills over time will set you apart in this competitive field.

Get Started Now

Now that you’ve gained comprehensive insights into graphic design, you can confidently embark on your journey as a graphic designer. Familiarizing yourself with all the components of graphic design will prove valuable in your career exploration.


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