A digital graphics designer combines computer skills and design and artistic talent. She might work in a marketing or communications-related field. Computers are sure to be one of a digital designer’s most important tools, so computer skills are required. As with most artistic professions, a graphics designer should develop a portfolio to sprospective employers.
Educational requirements for a digital graphics designer are, at minimum, an associate’s degree in graphic art, digital graphic art or a related visual arts field. An associate’s degree program in graphic art or design involves typically two years of full-time coursework, taking general education requirements such as English and math as well as art and design classes, both involving traditional media such as drawing and painting and courses in digital imaging and design work. Those who pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field of digital graphic design have even more time to prepare an impressive portfolio. A bachelor’s degree is a four-year program that involves coursework similar in many ways to the associate’s degree, with the addition of a concentration in a specific liberal arts subject such as management, marketing or writing, and more in-depth coursework in graphics and design and specific computer design skills. An artist’s portfolio should contain examples of her best work, and individual pieces should show skills in as many different techniques and formats as possible. Include printed and online media, and pieces showing special effects and digital illustration as well as typography.
Digital graphics designers need skills in two- and three-dimensional visualization and design. They need basic computer skills and training in industry-standard software such as Adobe Photoshop, desktop publishing and web design programs. The ability to work to a deadline is another important skill, as well as the ability to work both in groups and independently.
When pursuing a degree in graphic design, whether it be an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, courses in design and visual arts are important, as well as many classes that specifically use computers for graphics generation, including raster graphics, vector graphics, digital imaging and typography. Designers should take courses that teach the use of computers to create printed design pieces, as well as graphics for software and for the Web. Some familiarity with programming languages, such as HTML and CSS, can also be helpful both for the college design student and for anyone in a design career who wants to keep up with current technology.
Career Outlook and Fields
Candidates holding a degree in digital graphics design find positions in the movie and TV industries as well as advertising and publishing. They might work for a company that provides web design services, or they might be self-employed or do freelance work. Three-fourths of those identifying themselves as digital graphic arts designers work for companies or corporations, and the remaining one-fourth are freelancers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Education-Portal.com says that most industries involving computers are expanding, so the career outlook for this field is good.