A program that prepares individuals to apply artistic and computer techniques to the interpretation of technical and commercial concepts. Includes instruction in computer-assisted art and design, printmaking, concepts sketching, technical drawing, color theory, imaging, studio technique, still and life modeling, multimedia applications, communication skills and commercial art business operations.

Graphic designers create iconic visuals for businesses and brands.

From ubiquitous brand logos to eye-catching social media, the work of graphic designers is always around us. Every product in the consumer market, from cars to chips to clothing, features design elements - usually in its marketing or packaging - intended to attract attention and convert ordinary people into loyal customers. Every sleek, appealing website and intriguing billboard has been designed to be attractive and captivating by professionals who know what looks good and the effect it can have. Visuals are powerful, and certain designs can have lasting effects on a culture; a well-known luxury brand's logo carries a certain weight when it appears, and entire subcultures may pop up with recognizable graphic imagery to represent them.

Graphic design is all about conveying ideas in a precise, direct way. You see it, you know it...and if it's good, you buy it. Some graphic design is less product-focused and more about ideas - social and political campaigns will often bring on graphic designers to create an image that supporters can adopt. Even films employ graphic designers to create imagery that looks as though it belongs in another world. Different graphic designers may focus on different industries; some may work exclusively with nonprofits to establish their visual presence, while others may focus on creating enticing product packaging for consumer goods.

Work in graphic design may include...

  • Choosing fonts, colors, and proportions
  • Creating concepts, presentations, mockups, and print samples
  • Designing logos, layouts, or images
  • Incorporating input from clients and art directors
  • Tailoring images for different formats (print, web, retail, etc.)

These days, graphic design is ubiquitous; every company has at least one designer dedicated to keeping their image fresh and captivating. Some employ full-time design teams of their own to create a consistent branded image across all platforms, while others hire freelance professionals to work on individual projects or for specific amounts of time. Advertising agencies and specialized graphic design firms often have a roster of talented designers that take on projects from corporate clients; these roles can be high-pressure, and are often as demanding as they are rewarding. Finding work in graphic design relies on the capacity to create the right kind of content for each client on budget and on schedule, which can be stressful. However, graphic design is one of the most stable ways to make a living doing creative work, and many designers find their work to be fulfilling.

When graphic design first emerged as a field, designers worked by hand, drawing words and images with pencils and stencils. Now, almost all graphic designers work digitally, using specialized software to achieve precise results, though many will also sketch ideas on paper. Graphic design is built on a number of essential design principles and requires specific skills that take time to master, which is why many aspiring designers can benefit from studying the subject formally at the Associate's or Bachelor's degree level. These programs tend to provide guided exploration, introducing students to the essentials of visual communication and helping them to learn time-honored techniques. Of course, a degree in graphic design is only as strong as the designer it produces, and many people learn design on their own, through online tutorials and independent experimentation. The true test of a graphic designer's skills is their portfolio, which needs to be eye-catching, unique, and demonstrative of their skills.

If you're a creative with a strong design sensibility and the technical skills to back it up, a career in graphic design could be just around the corner.

AIGA is the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, dedicated to advancing design as a professional craft and vital cultural force.

The Society for Experiential Graphic Design is a nonprofit professional association of professionals who plan, design, and build experiences that connect people to place.

The Graphic Artist Guild enables graphic artists and other design professionals to build and maintain successful careers by providing skills and support.

The Society for News Design is an international association for news media professionals and visual communicators, specifically those who create print, web, or mobile publications and products.