Is a Graphic Design Degree Worth It?

graphic design degree worth it

Visual communication is one of the most important aspects of building a brand. Because of this fact, excellent graphic design has become a key strategy for many marketers, entrepreneurs, campaigners, organizers, and people looking to raise awareness for a particular thing. Graphic design is an expanding field looking to hire talented designers who are able to convey a message in interesting, meaningful ways.

If you have a love for artistry, creativity, marketing, and collaboration, then graphic design might be right up your alley. Designer work can range anywhere from illustration to photography. Graphic design is a creative process that involves the pitching of project ideas, draft creation, team effort, project organization, and completion of the final product. Entering this type of career means the production of advertisements, infographics, typography, publication graphics, print, email, web design, logos, packaging design, and more.

Do I Need a Degree to Become a Graphic Designer?

College tuition can be expensive, especially in today’s world where college loan debt has reached crisis levels for many people. It is entirely possible to break into the graphic design industry without a degree, although it will be much more difficult. Theoretically, you could learn the design software, read designer books and guides, practice developing your style, build up a portfolio of work, and then find a design firm or clients willing to hire you. There are plenty of online tutorials that teach the ins and outs of graphic design. The more experience you have in practicing design, especially specialized areas within this area, the better your chances will be in the job market.

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Not only does a degree increase your chances of getting hired, but a degree program also offers a structured way of learning the fundamentals of design. Learning design by yourself can be a difficult task that takes a great deal of self-discipline, which is why a degree program is often the preferred method of education. A degree also assures employers that you have received the proper training needed to fulfill client orders in a professional and satisfactory manner. A degree program may teach courses in digital graphics, animation, drawing, storytelling, photoshop, logo creation, packaging, typography, web design, human interaction, and more.

If you aren’t interested in spending money on a lengthy four-year program, however, then a certificate program may be the most ideal option out there. Certificate programs can range anywhere between a few weeks to several months. The graphic design certification program teaches you the basics in a brief amount of time, providing you with enough information and practice to enter the job market in graphic design.

Graphic Designer Job Salary Expectations

Like any other career, a graphic designer’s salary will likely depend on education level, experience, and area of expertise. Specializations within this field include multimedia designer, creative directors, logo designer, web designer, brand builder, photoshop artist, interface designer, motions graphic artist, illustrator, and packaging designer. Salaries will be dependent on the level of difficulty each role contains. states that the average graphic designer with a bachelor’s degree makes $52,000 per year. Creative directors, art directors, and product designers tend to make the most amount of money, at up to $86,957 on an annual basis. Designers who have the knowledge, skillset, and experience to balance graphic design with leadership skills tend to be promoted to managerial positions.

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