Computer graphic design uses computer software and programs to create visual images and animation for clients.
Computer graphic design uses computers to create visual communication images. Graphic designers work in both print and electronic media, creating Web pages and multimedia projects. Because computer graphics and design often reduce costs and allow designers to work more efficiently, many clients are choosing computer design over more traditional methods of graphic design.
Computer graphic design involves establishing the message or idea that the client wants to convey. Graphic designers meet with clients and art directors, as well as research the project on their own. The designer will use computer programs to begin preliminary sketches of the design, deciding on the color scheme, animation, artwork, photography and other design elements. The graphic designer will create various layouts and sizes, and check with a copywriter to determine that the accompanying text is acceptable before presenting the design to clients. The design will go through a revision process, as necessary per the client’s requests, until it meets with final approval.
Most computer graphic designers have at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with a concentration in computerized design. Students may also enter the field through coursework in studio art, commercial graphics, design principles, Web site design and other related subjects. Computer graphic design students usually have a strong liberal arts background as well, including classes in writing, art history, marketing and business. Because design software is constantly changing, computer graphic designers must participate in continuing education courses to stay up to date with the latest design programs and tools.
Many computer graphic designers work at advertising or design firms while others are self-employed and work from home on a freelance basis. Freelance designers sometimes find it stressful to constantly find new clients and projects. Others become discouraged when their work does not meet their employer or client’s vision, or when the project does not require that much creativity. Schedules for computer graphic designers vary based on employer, but many have to work irregular hours, such as nights and weekends, to meet deadlines.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for graphic designers was $42,400 as of May 2008. The highest 10 percent were paid more than $74,660 while the lowest 10 percent were paid less than $26,110. The middle 50 percent were paid between $32,600 and $56,620. Designers who worked on a freelance or contract basis had a median annual wage of $57,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for graphic designers will increase by 13 percent, which is about as fast a rate as the average for all occupations, through 2018. There will be strong competition for openings, but those who have experience working in website design and animation will enjoy the best prospects.