9 Degrees for a Career in Graphic Design (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Graphic design degrees certify that you have completed advanced education in graphic design. Earning one equips you with the knowledge and expertise necessary to get employment and achieve success in this area. If you're interested in a graphic design career, it's helpful to learn more about the many related degrees you can pursue.

In this article, we discuss the benefits of a graphic design degree and list nine degrees to consider if you're interested in this field.

What are the benefits of graphic design degrees?

Graduates with graphic design degrees have several career prospects. Some reasons to consider pursuing a degree in graphic design include:

Practical education

Graphic design enables you to get valuable experience while completing your education. Along with conventional paths such as an internship or fellowship, a design degree provides direct possibilities for gaining knowledge and receiving feedback, typically identical to what happens in the workplace. When applying for a career in graphic design, a portfolio exhibits your abilities and eligibility.

While it's usual to populate your portfolio with professional work after you begin your career, the work and projects you perform throughout your degree program help you build a well-suited portfolio for an entry-level job immediately after graduation.

Related: How to Become a Graphic Designer

Naturally developed skills

Working on graphic design projects during your study enables you to continue evolving and growing in this sector. Whether you're seeking a degree or are employed, you're likely to encounter new challenges as you work on different tasks. Clients often have unique criteria, and your instructors may provide you with their own. As a result, you may want to explore fresh design approaches to inspire your output. This helps maintain your abilities and makes professional development a natural consequence.

Expression of creativity

Earning a graphic design degree enables you to pursue a job where your creative outlet serves as a cash source. If you are a creative individual, a graphic design degree enables you to combine your career and passion and allows you to express yourself creatively.

New connections

In the field of graphic design, experts often draw inspiration from others. Usually, graphic designers build their style by blending components from more renowned designers with their own preferences to create a unique approach. While pursuing a graphic design degree, you may develop relationships and learn from mentors. Throughout your studies, an internship at a design business exposes you to experienced experts through whom you may build your design style in a professional context while continuing to pursue your degree.

Lucrative career opportunities

Although graphic design jobs are available in various areas, they may provide significant compensation depending on your achievement. As a result, having a degree in this profession may enable you to make a comfortable living in the future. Because most businesses use graphic design in some capacity, such as branding or marketing, they may provide large salary packages to graphic design specialists who regularly deliver great work.

Related: How to Write a Graphic Designer Resume (Tips and Example)

Career freedom

Due to the high demand for graphic design professionals, earning a degree in this industry offers you job flexibility after graduation, indicating a high probability of finding a job that matches your preferences. Not only do you have employment opportunities in a wide range of businesses, but you also have options regarding the type of work.

Working as an individual designer is unlike working for a more prominent design company. Similarly, the effort necessary for a marketing professional is distinct from that required for web design or art employment. The broad selection of possibilities enables you to customize your graphic design profession to your preferences.

9 degrees for a graphic design career

If you're considering a degree in graphic design, there are various options. Some of the most popular degrees for graphic design professionals are:

1. Animation and special effects

A degree in animation and special effects equips you with the expertise necessary to frame and design a scene for various media, including cinema, television, and video. Additionally, you may learn how to make renderings look more realistic and attractive when seen on a computer screen. The ability to develop computer-generated or hand-drawn visuals and animations is also advantageous while working in graphic design, as it may help you differentiate yourself from the competition.

2. Commercial and advertising arts

Several overlaps exist between advertising and graphic design. A degree in commercial and advertising arts teaches you how to layout a visual advertisement for various media, including periodicals, billboards, and web design. You may also use these talents outside of advertising, most notably while pursuing a career in graphic design after college.

3. Digital arts

Students enrolled in a digital arts program study how to construct digital compositions in several media, including photography, 3D rendering, and animation. These abilities are helpful in graphic design disciplines since most designers work digitally. Earning a degree in digital arts provides you with the classroom education and practical experience necessary to succeed in graphic design.

4. Graphic design

Consider a broad degree if you wish to pursue a range of professional paths after graduation. While other graphic design degrees emphasize specific design components, a general graphic design degree provides the most well-rounded education. It qualifies students for a variety of graphic design employment. A graphic designer gets assigned a message or concept to express graphically by a company, client, or art director.

5. Industrial and product design

In addition to studying the design and construction of everyday products, students in an industrial and product design program also learn several valuable skills for a graphic design career, like package design. During the product design process, designers often create sketches and designs and seek to present them in aesthetically pleasing ways.

6. Marketing

While you mostly learn how to promote products and services when pursuing a marketing degree, you also learn how to create visually appealing layouts. This is a valuable skill for the success of all aspiring graphic designers. Since marketing creations need interesting outlines, many marketing companies hire graphic designers and may even prefer candidates with a marketing background.

7. Photography

Photography has some of the same core concepts as graphic design, making it a suitable degree choice. For example, you learn how to effectively layout an image to create a compelling scene, which you can apply across a broad range of graphic design tasks. You may complete courses in studio lighting and digital photography and graphic design.

8. Studio arts

Majoring in studio arts provides a broad education in many traditional art forms, including photography, painting, sculpting, and drawing. This provides you with a diverse range of abilities to demonstrate your value in a graphic arts position and teaches you composition skills, such as using artistic fundamentals to create beautiful scenes.

9. Web development

A web development degree teaches you to program in different programming languages and website creation principles. While web development is an information technology area that requires a significant amount of coding, it may provide critical skills for a future graphic design career. While developing or maintaining a website requires understanding its structure and operation, aesthetics also play a significant role.

Businesses looking to create a new or upgraded website with a web developer may engage a visual designer with web development knowledge.

Related: Web Designer vs. Web Developer: Definitions and Differences

Skills of a graphic designer

To thrive as a graphic designer, it's crucial to possess several professional in addition to creative abilities, including the following:

  • Creativity: It's vital for graphic designers to come up with innovative and engaging methods to express ideas graphically.

  • Artistry: Together with the ability to produce ideas, graphic designers possess the ability to sketch, illustrate, or create computer-generated graphics. Additionally, they may be familiar with working with a variety of media.

  • Communication: Graphic designers communicate with the art director, customer, and other artists to create a successful design.

  • Analytical skills: Graphic designers can deduce the most effective visual representation for a complicated concept or data collection.


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