What Job Can You Get When Majoring in Graphic Design?

by Mitch Reid

Graphic design is all around you, from magazine covers to television show graphics to company logos, and offers a creative career path for those who have an eye for style and knowledge of digital design software. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the annual median pay for graphic designers was roughly $43,500. If you’re hoping to reap these financial benefits as a graphic designer, however, you’ll first need to land a suitable job. Fortunately, plenty of opportunities are available in this field.

Publishing Sector

Books and magazines often contain more than just words; a graphic designer designs the images you see on the covers and throughout the pages. From developing page layouts to enhancing photographs and typesetting, graphic designers have plenty of work to take on in the publishing sector. Note that some of these publications may appear in print and electronic forms.


From game shows to news broadcasts, nearly everything on television features some degree of graphic enhancement. With this in mind, production studios are always searching for talented designers to join their team. The industry also needs graphic designers to create menu screens and navigation graphics for media such as DVDs.


Graphic designers who work in advertising must know how to create attention-grabbing graphics that don’t completely overshadow the message conveyed. These ads could take the form of anything from billboards to website banners, so a knowledge of various media is necessary. While some graphic designers find work in advertising agencies that support clients, others work in house for a specific company’s marketing team.

Web Design

With the number of Internet users expanding, more businesses are looking to take advantage of the World Wide Web. This requires smartly designed business websites with eye-catching graphics. In some cases, the duties of a Web designer and a graphic designer may overlap. For example, website owners need someone who can plan the site’s layout, design the graphics and help with coding. If you find yourself working in house for a business or on a large advertising team, expect each teammate to have his own special role.


According to an article in "The Guardian" by Teresa Wiltz, in 2012, about 42 million freelancers worked in the US, and this number will rise. Because graphic designers can work from a home office or studio, graphic design is one of the more prominent fields for freelancers. If the thought of working full time for a single company or business doesn't appeal to you, consider becoming your own boss and starting a career as an independent contractor specializing in graphic design. You decide your services and rates, but be prepared to self-promote and manage your finances.

About the Author

Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as Synonym.com and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.

Photo Credits

  • Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images