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Graphic Designer

Graphic designers plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communications problems. They find the most effective way to get messages across in print, electronic, and film media using a variety of methods such as color, type, illustration, photography, animation, and various print and layout techniques. Graphic designers develop the overall layout and production design of magazines, newspapers, journals, corporate reports, and other publications.

Hours: Working conditions and places of employment vary. Graphic designers employed by large advertising, publishing, or design firms generally work regular hours in comfortable settings. Designers in smaller design consulting firms and those who freelance generally work on a contract, or job, basis. They frequently adjust their workday to suit their clients' schedules and deadlines. Consultants and self-employed designers tend to work longer hours and in smaller, more congested, environments.

Opportunities: Most graphic designers worked in specialized design services; advertising and related services; printing and related support activities; or newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers. Other designers produced computer graphics for computer systems design firms or motion picture production firms. A small number of designers also worked in engineering services or for management, scientific, and technical consulting firms.

About 25 percent of designers were self-employed. Many did freelance work—full time or part time—in addition to holding a salaried job in design or in another occupation.

Pay: Median annual earnings for wage and salary graphic designers were $39,900 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,600 and $53,310. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,120, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $69,730.

Training: A bachelor's or an associate degree in graphic design is usually required for a job as a graphic designer. Creativity, communication, and problem solving skills and familiarity with computer graphics and design software also are important.

Citation: Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Graphic Designers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos090.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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